Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
August 18th, 2005
Planet Xavier


Two problems

For the past few weeks, Planet Xavier has been syndicating several MySpace blogs using Scott Reynen’s MySpace script, since MySpace wasn’t providing their own feeds. While I wasn’t looking, however, MySpace added RSS feeds for all their blogs. So I spent a few minutes last night setting up pX to use MySpace’s native feeds instead, since that would enable me to start syndicating all of the couple hundred blogs I found there, without bringing down Scott’s server every half-hour.

What I didn’t realize – and should have checked for – was that MySpace does a pretty pitiful job of coding their feeds: understandibly, they trim each entry to keep the size of each feed down to a reasonable size. Unfortunately, they never remove any HTML code beforehand, so you get font tags and hyperlinks that are opened but never closed (since the closing tag is lopped off), resulting in a mangled pX.

Unlike Xanga, MySpace provides their feeds in the RSS 2.0 format, and provides a date and time for each blog post. But just to make matters worse, it reports that each and every blog post ever authored at MySpace was published at exactly Mon, 01 Jan 1900 08:00:00 GMT. That’s your typical RFC 822–formatted date. But Planet realizes that the feeds are erroneously reporting publication dates in the year 1900, and accordingly tosses out those dates.

So what I’m left with are two problems: the ability for any MySpace blogger to utterly screw up pX’s main page, and the “furball” of old entries that popped up onto pX early this morning, pushing my wonderful Marian Days blog post right off the bottom.

And all this right after I finally figured out how to get Xanga posts dated correctly. So it’s back to programming for me…

(Incidentally, I found it interesting that, whereas the rest of MySpace is powered by Microsoft’s ASP platform, the RSS-producing script alone is written in Macromedia’s ColdFusion. Is this an indication of ASP’s lack of flexibility with non-HTML files?)


  1. It looks as if MySpace has partially corrected the second issue I complained of on Thursday, perhaps in response to the e-mail I sent them.

  2. Xanga finally fixed their RSS feeds to include the dates of each post properly. I would say that with no trivial amount of jubilation, except that their fix broke my fix.