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Strategic insights
Newsfeed has been fixed

Written by on November 18, 2005

I have finally been able to solve the problems with the newsfeeds on this site - and thanks to those kind people told me that it was broken! I really appreciate the feedback.

There were two problems

Slow load times

It wasn't really a problem with the server, or the script. But, that the query returned every single article ever published on this site. So, the feeds where huge... a little over 700kb.

This had a profound effect on not only the bandwidth needed to fetch the feeds, but also on the newsreaders.

This has now been fixed (it turned out that the query did not recognize the number of articles to return - as a number). The fixed feeds will return the 5 latest articles.

Invalid code

This problem cause me quite a bit of frustration, because it not possible for the code to be invalid. The reason is that the Baekdal.CMS that runs this site is built upon the use of XML. This means that if the code was indeed invalid, it could not be parsed.

...or in plain language. If the code was invalid, the XML parser would fail, and return nothing - a blank page. But, it didn't. It returned a full page with invalid code. Not only that, but it also reported errors in a part of the text that does not exist.

After weeks of frustration, I found that the problem was not caused by the code itself, it was fine. But, somewhere between the backend database, and the front-end feeds it misinterpreted the "UTF-8" character encoding.

I have tried and tested just about everything I could think of to solve this, but I have been unable to find the cause. To solve the problem I have "cheated" and changed the outputted character encoding to ISO-8859-1.

Now it works.

I hope this will solve the problems for good, but if any of you are still having any problems, please contact me.

Thanks again for the feedback!

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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