More RSS errors - The Sun and The Express

 by Martin Belam, 16 December 2007

In theory Chipwrapper should be so easy to product manage.

I spent a little while registering the domain name, making some HTML pages and finding a logo image. I set up a Google Custom Search Engine. I mashed up some Yahoo! Pipes and pumped them through some of my own Perl and then Feedburner, and it should all just run just tickety-boo.

Unless, of course, newspaper publishers kept doing really dumb things with their RSS feeds.

The Sun's feeds remain resolutely broken. Dave first noted it at the beginning of November, and has emailed them several times about it, but the URLs within the feed remain without their domain name prefix. It means that for more than a month, every clickthrough on The Sun's RSS feeds, which have thousands of subscribers in Google Reader alone, has gone to a broken page.

Now The Daily Express have joined in the broken RSS fray. If you subscribe to the Chipwrapper Sports headline feed, you'll have found that whilst most of the press this weekend are debating the merits of Fabio Capello's appointment and yesterday's results, the Express is concerned with the Liverpool-Besiktas betting-scandal-that-wasn't.

In fact, deeper down their RSS feed, the only Express mention of Capello is about Liverpool denying reports linking him to the job that Rafa Benetiz is clinging to. Their Sports feed has not been updated since just before 11pm on December 5th.

Daily Express XML

Again, I've no doubt that like with The Sun situation, I could hack together a workaround pretty quickly. I've opted not to. I've had to decide the extent to which I am prepared to start programming around the inabilities of newspapers to publish their RSS feeds properly - and I've decided not to do any, whether it is for fixing the time-stamps on The Daily Mail's feed, or for fixing broken links for The Sun or broken feeds for The Express. Of course, that decision compromises the usefulness of Chipwrapper.

So far I've retained The Sun's feed in the Chipwrapper RSS. You can still read the headlines, even if you can't follow the links through to stories themselves. With The Express however, I have dropped their content from the Sports feed. There's no point having 11 day old news in the midst of it. I'll monitor the situation and restore it when they start publishing properly again.

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