RSS Feed Creation – Development Perspective Questions

This is a question for anyone that’s worked on developing their own RSS feeds, as I am preparing to do for a few items on our new Web site.

When developing or starting an RSS feed, how did you decide how much information to include in the feed?

By that, I’m actually asking two questions:

  1. How did you decide how many updates to include in the feed? Did you decide to include all updates in the feed, from the beginning all the way up to the present, or are you only including the most recent XX number of updates; or maybe even the last XX months, days or hours worth of updates?
  2. How did you decide how to summarize the updates? Are you prompting content contributors to write a separate summary of the information; only including the first paragraph; including only the first XX characters of the article, etc.

I’m curious what other people are doing with their RSS feeds. The one RSS feed I’ve developed for private testing currently only includes the last six months of updates, and truncates the article to 500 characters or less (cutting it off at the last complete word before it reaches 500 characters – stripping out any incomplete HTML tags in the process).

Does this seem like a logical way to make an RSS feed, or should I be feeding complete content? What are your thoughts?

3 Responses

  • admin

    For CN I provide a full feed with I believe 10-15 items in the feed.

    The biggest question isn’t the number of updates, it’s whether to do full or partial feeds.

  • Thanks for the insight. I think we might scale it back to the last three months rather than the last six months. New content will only be fed a few times each month, so I’m not really worried overfeeding our publics.

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say “full or partial” feeds. Are you referring to the amount of content in each feed, or are you referring to splitting the feeds according to category?

  • admin

    “full or partial” feeds is one of the big questions for sites that try to make money on their content. you can either include ALL of the content from a story in the feed or PART of the content with a link back to the story. but if it’s for your school, i would assume you want a full feed…