Saturday, November 02, 2013

Wanted: A blog feed that consists of a random sample of all past posts

I've been idly looking for a solution to the blog backlog problem. Lately I've seen others looking for the same thing, so I'm expecting a fix within the next few months.

What's the backlog problem?

The backlog problem is discovering a great blog, but reading only the most recent posts. That is, after all, how blogs were designed to work. Problem is, there's a lot of great stuff in the backlog. I'd like to read that too - the same way I read my other blogs.

What I want is a special feed for every blog I read that's the 'random post feed'. It could be generated by a WordPress extension for example -- it just has to be integrated with the blog's database and publish 1-2 posts a day. [1]

Any day now ....

[1] Google Reader could have done this because Google kept old posts around, but nobody else is going to keep billions of blog posts in an archive. The RSS feed for backlog posts has to come from a random selection of all past posts -- say 1 random selection a day. I've seen mention of using Yahoo Pipes to do something like this, but Pipes can only randomize the urls exposed by a feed -- not all past posts.


Julien said...

So, I can think of a couple things.

There are specs for how pagination should work for RSS/ATom. Check RFC5005. But I don't think it's been implemente anywhere.

In the case of wordpress, you can simply add /?paged=xxx to any feed url and it will paginate. You can then increase your xxx to get all the entries. It's slow and not standardized, but that does the trick for WP.

Finally, the last thing I can think of is the site:xxx operator in Google search. Hopefully, Google is smart enough to have everything you need :)

John Gordon said...

Thanks Julien - interesting options, and neat to learn of the pagination spec.