Update 2008-12-14: FeedWordPress 2008.1105 is now out of date.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
email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
<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.
guidINDEX CREATION BUTTON: FeedWordPress frequently issues queries on
guidcolumn 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
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
guidcolumn, 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.