Syndicating myself

More tech talk - was trying to figure out how to put a list of my most recent posts in the sidebar, given that the sidebar is uploaded in a PHP file separately from Blogger, so Blogger's template tags won't work. Then I realised: hey, I could just syndicate my own Atom feed. Then I realised: wait, I don't know how to do that. So I stumbled around, thinking I might have to program my own syndicator (not hard, some XML knowledge and some Java and there you go, but still, I didn't want to waste a whole evening programming).

Fortunately, a bit more stumbling brought up Feed to Javascript, which lets you syndicate any feed and put it on your site via Javascript. Better still, there's a variation that lets you do it via PHP if you have your own server. So voila - there you have it - my most recent posts showing up in the sidebar. (To avoid overloading the server, I've set the refresh rate not to be too fast, so it might miss out the absolute latest posts. But then you'd be reading those posts anyway, since they're at the top of the page.)

The best part is that doing it this way makes it more customisable than Blogger's <BloggerPreviousItems> template tag, so in future I can choose for instance to put more or less than 10 recent posts, and I can choose to put in some extracts of my entries. I can also syndicate other sites, which might be an interesting application worth looking into.


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