An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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February 21, 2007

The New Blogger and the Way Feeds Are Sorted

The new Blogger has updated the feed format from Atom 0.3 to Atom 1.0. One of the most important change is that Blogger sorts the feed item by updated date, so if you edit a post written last year, that post will go to the top of the feed.

Not all feed readers care about the element, but most of the time you'll see the updated post appearing as new. The situation is even stranger in Firefox: if you subscribe to a Blogger feed using Firefox Live Bookmarks, you'll see all the updated items, as if they were new.

I know what you'll say: "This a very good idea. If you update a post, then we should find out. Maybe it's important." That's true, but many people that used the old Blogger, updated their posts to fix typos, to reformat their paragraphs, to update links, to link to a newer post with more information. And now every time you make a minor change to an old post, the feed updates and includes the updated post.

Here's what the Atom 1.0 specs say:
The "atom:updated" element is a Date construct indicating the most recent instant in time when an entry or feed was modified in a way the publisher considers significant. Therefore, not all modifications necessarily result in a changed atom:updated value.

Maybe Blogger's developers should read the specs again and give publishers more control when they update a post, like an option in the editor: "Is this update important?". Until they do that, it's a good idea to not make minor changes to old posts.


Note: This is the reason you saw old posts from Google Operating System (or other Blogger blogs) in your feed reader or in the newsletter.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.