Feed Me, Seymour!

August 23, 2005

This post is the fourth in a series of interviews with TypePad engineers describing the new features in TypePad, how to use them, and what motivated us to develop these features. Many of these features were developed as part of our recent Scratchathon.

Ben Trott on the new Feeds TypeList.

Q: What do you do at Six Apart?

Ben Trott's photoA: I'm the co-founder and CTO, which means that I'm involved with technical stuff on all of our products and engineering teams; but in practice I do engineering mostly on TypePad.

Q: What feature did you develop for the “scratch-a-thon?

A: I developed an XML Feed TypeList, which adds the ability to add RSS & Atom feeds to the sidebar of a weblog. (If you're not sure what XML Feeds are, we recently posted a page on the subject.)

To add a new feed to your sidebar, visit the "Content Selections" screen that allows you to choose which TypeLists are included in your weblog sidebar. (See the screenshot to the right.) Click "Add a new feed" to configure and add a feed to your sidebar.

Some examples of feeds that you may want to include:

  • the photos from your TypePad moblog
  • the latest posts from your LiveJournal or Movable Type weblog
  • your Flickr photos
  • your del.icio.us bookmarks
  • the results of a Pubsub query

Q: What motivated you to build this feature?

A: A lot of our TypePad customers have wanted this feature for a long time (including a lot of people at Six Apart!).

Personally, I know that pretty much any information that I want to add to my weblog is now available in RSS and Atom feeds: weblog posts, del.icio.us links, photos, etc. In some sense, web services have been normalized to being produced as RSS and Atom feeds--which is fine, in some sense, as it makes consumption much easier. So we've added the ability to easily add XML feeds to a weblog sidebar, drag them around and reorder them, and configure them to display the desired information, because we want to enable a weblog on TypePad to encompass all of the richness of that weblog owner's online existence.

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