Friday, February 17, 2006

 

Blogrolls and feeds

First things first: If your blog is not listed in the roll on the right, you need to log in at blogger and make sure there is at least one post in your blog, then leave a comment here for me to add your blog to the list. You can get e-mail updates of the whole class' blogs by signing up here, and e-mail updates of this site by signing up here. On to the tutorial...



There are 2 key ideas around blogs that seperate them from being normal websites: One of these is community- blogs interact with each other through comments and blogrolls. The other is the FEED, which is the mechanism driving a lot of that interaction.

Community: On the right hand side of the page, you will see a list of links that says "Blogroll". These are the the Wits blogs that I read. You can set up your own blogroll by going to Bloglines and creating an account, then typing in the addresses of the blogs you are interested in to see on one page whenever new posts are made to those blogs.

You can then add that blogroll to your blog like I have by going to the control panel (logging in at www.blogger.com) then hitting on edit settings -> then Template. Scroll down the page of code ( in the white box) until you see an area with the heading 'begin sidebar'. If you want to place your own blogroll here, then a link at bloglines called 'share' will create the code you need to paste in here. If you want to put the list of wits blogs from my page in, insert this code:
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="http://rpc.bloglines.com/blogroll?id=peterleroux&folder=2ndyear 2006"></script>

You can click on preview to see what changes your editing has made, and when you are happy you can save your template, now when you load your blog you should see the list of links down your sidebar that will update as new sites are added to my list.


The Feed
: As you read blogs on the net you will notice a little icon that looks like this:- you might also see an orange rectangle that says "XML" or "RSS"- this means that the site publishes a Feed. A feed is a file that rolls up all of the content from your site and lets it be put somewhere else- for example, when I look at your blogs I don't individually click through to all of them, I use Bloglines to collect the feeds together and read them all in one place- I can easily see whether updates have been posted, read the blogs and view the images from your site, all on one page, that looks like this. In this window, clicking on one of the folder names on the left will load all of the new posts for that folder in the right window. Clicking the plus or minus buttons will expand or collapse the folders- so you can see all of the blogs that make up each folder.

Feeds (also called RSS) can be used to do other pretty handy things too- power an e-mail service (like Cadlab's e-mail updates), provide new material in your sidebar, share information with a friend's site,check if there is e-mail in your inbox, get local weather reports etc. To read up more on the poissiblities of Feeds, check out this page.



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