Can't Find a Feed? Try Guessing.

I don’t visit blogs very often, just because I’m very busy and don’t have the time to check them all daily. Instead, I use a feed aggregator (SharpReader) that takes both RSS and ATOM feeds and updates me when the blogs I am interested in add entries.

But what if the blog doesn’t publish an RSS or ATOM feed? Well, if you like to use aggregators like myself then you are completely out of luck...or are you? As it turns out, sometimes you are not. Take, for example, a blog I just heard of, Atriades. This is a classics blog. If you look at their blog there isn’t a link to a feed, but you are in luck. They are using Blogger, which seems to automatically make the ATOM feeds even when you choose the option not to publish one (I’ve tried this on a number of Blogger sites and it has worked every time). I didn’t see a link to their feed, so I just added "atom.xml" to their url "" to make "" and voila! I have a feed for my newsreader. I’ve tried adding rss.xml to the end of urls for other blogs and that has worked as well.

Of course, then you’ll have to decide: did they leave the feed out on purpose, or do they purposely want people to visit their site and not use an aggregator? Does it matter to you what their intent was? In the case of Atriades, I have no idea. Maybe it was because they didn’t know what the "publish ATOM feed" checkbox meant. I imagine that is the case for many blogs.

So, there’s a tip for you.


Tim 2004-10-19 11:57:00

Eric, this is a useful tip, though if one uses some online aggregators (like Bloglines) they find such "hidden" feeds automatically. I just pointed my browser at the Blog you mentioned and clicked my "Subscribe with Bloglines" link in my bookmarks. All done and ready to classify.

Stephen G 2004-10-19 01:24:00

Another thing to try is adding "index.rdf" onto the URL. Movable Type and some other blogging systems use that for producing RSS content.