Remember, remember the Fifth of November: FeedWordPress 2008.1105 fixes a few reported issues

Update 2008-12-14: FeedWordPress 2008.1105 is now out of date. You can download the latest release — 2008.1214 at the time of this writing — from the project homepage.

As a slightly belated gift for Guy Fawkes Day, here’s the latest release of FeedWordPress, version 2008.1105, now available for download.

(Why 2008.1105 when I’m announcing the release on 6 November 2008? Because the release itself was completed yesterday; all I did this morning was to document the changes and prepare the announcement.)

Besides the beginnings of some re-organization of the interface, the main purpose of this release is to make fixes available for several existing issues that were reported by users. (In particular, thanks to Alan Cordle, RaynerApe, Glenn Marcus, Waldo Jaquith, and several other users for bringing some of these issues to my attention, and for suggesting some of these fixes.

Here are the major changes since FeedWordPress 2008.1101:

  • INTERFACE RESTRUCTURING AND SYNDICATION –> AUTHORS PAGE: As a first
    step towards modularizing and better organizing the user interface, a
    new “Authors” subpage has been created under the Syndication menu, which
    controls settings for syndicated authors, both at the global default
    level and at level of individual syndicated feeds.

  • BUG RELATED TO THE ATTRIBUTION OF POSTS TO THE WRONG AUTHOR FIXED: Some
    users encountered an issue in which posts by different authors on
    different blogs — especially blogs generated by Blogger — were
    mistakenly attributed to a single author. The problem was caused by the
    way in which FeedWordPress matches syndicated authors to user accounts
    in the WordPress database: normally, if two feeds each list an author
    with the same e-mail address, they are counted as being the same person.
    Normally this works well, but it creates an issue in cases where
    blogging software assigns a single anonymous e-mail address to users who
    do not want their real e-mail address published. This is, for example,
    what Blogger does (by giving all users a default e-mail address of
    noreply@blogger.com if they don’t want their own e-mail address
    listed). FeedWordPress now allows the user to correct for this problem
    with a couple of new settings under Syndication –> Authors, which
    allow users to turn off e-mail based author matching for particular
    addresses, or, if desired, to turn it off entirely. By default, e-mail
    based author matching is still turned on, but disabled for a list of
    known generic e-mail addresses. Right now, the “list” consists entirely
    of noreply@blogger.com; if you know other addresses that should be
    added, please contact me to let me know.

    Please note that if you have already encountered this issue on your
    blog, upgrading FeedWordPress will prevent it from re-occurring in the
    future, but you still need to do two other things to fix the existing
    problem on your blog.

    First, for each feed where posts have been mis-attributed, you need to
    change the existing author mapping rules to re-map a a syndicated
    author’s name to the proper target account. Go to Syndication –>
    Authors
    , select the feed you want to change from the drop-down list,
    and then change the settings under the “Syndicated Authors” section.
    (You will probably need to select “will be assigned to a new user…” to
    create a new user account with the appropriate name.)

    Second, for each feed where posts have been mis-attributed, you need to
    re-assign already-syndicated posts that were mis-attributed to the
    correct author. You can do that from Syndication –> Authors by
    using the author re-assignment feature, described below.

  • AUTHOR RE-ASSIGNMENT FOR A PARTICULAR FEED: The author settings page
    for each syndicated feed, under Syndication –> Authors, now
    includes an section titled “Fixing mis-matched authors,” which provides
    an interface for re-assigning or deleting all posts attributed to a
    particular author on a particular feed.

  • SUPPORT FOR <atom:source> ELEMENT IN SYNDICATED FEEDS: Some feeds
    (for example, those produced by FeedWordPress) aggregate content from
    several different sources, and include information about the original
    source of the post in an <atom:source> element. A new setting under
    Syndication –> Options allows you to control what FeedWordPress
    will report as the source of posts syndicated from aggregator feeds in
    your templates and feeds: you can have FeedWordPress report that the
    source of a post is the aggregator feed itself, or you can have it
    report that the source of a post is the original source that the
    aggregator originally syndicated the post from.

    By default, FeedWordPress will report the aggregator, not the original
    source, as the source of a syndicated item.

  • LOAD BALANCING AND TIME LIMITING FEATURES FOR UPDATES: Some users have
    encountered issues due to running up against PHP execution time limits
    during the process of updating large syndicated feeds, or a very large
    set of syndicated feeds. FeedWordPress now has a feature that allows you
    to limit the total amount of time spent updating a feed, through the
    “Time limit on updates” setting under Syndication –> Options. By
    turning on this setting and adjusting the time limit to a low enough
    figure to avoid your PHP installation’s time-out setting. (PHP execution
    time limits are usually in the vicinity of 30 seconds, so an update
    time limit of 25 seconds or so should provide plenty of time for updates
    while allowing a cushion of time for other, non-update-related functions
    to do their work.)

    If feed updates are interrupted by the time limit, FeedWordPress uses
    some simple load balancing features to make sure that updates to other
    feeds will not be blocked by the time-hogging feed, and will also make
    sure that when the interrupted update is resumed, FeedWordPress will
    skip ahead to resume processing items at the point at which it was
    interrupted last time, so that posts further down in the feed will
    eventually get processed, and not get blocked by the amount of time it
    takes to process the items higher up in the feed.

  • guid INDEX CREATION BUTTON: FeedWordPress frequently issues queries on
    the guid column of the WordPress posts database (since it uses post
    guid URIs to keep track of which posts it has syndicated). In very large
    FeedWordPress installations, you can often significantly improve
    performance by creating a database index on the guid column, but
    normally you would need to poke around with MySQL or a tool like
    phpMyAdmin to do this. FeedWordPress can now save you the trouble: to
    create an index on the guid column, just go to
    Syndication –> Options, and mash the button at the bottom of the
    “Back End” section.

Enjoy! If you have any issues with the release, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it.

Please remember that your generous gifts to the project tip jar make ongoing development and support like this possible.

FeedWordPress 2008.1101: Fixes interface bug that prevented new users from adding syndicated feeds.

Update 2008-11-06: FeedWordPress 2008.1101 is now out of date. You can download the latest release — 2008.1105 at the time of this writing — from the project homepage.

FeedWordPress 2008.1101 is now available for download. This fixes a user interface bug that some users noticed with FeedWordPress 2008.1030, which prevented users from adding new feeds on a clean install (or in any other situation where there are currently no syndicated feeds).

Thanks to David Lindsey, and to the commenter from JB Design and Photo, for pointing out this bug to me.

Enjoy! If you have any issues with the release, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it.