Blog Tech, Part 4 - RSS Feeds and Error Logging

October 31, 2013

Jekyll RSS Feed and Logentries

Technology Eight: RSS Feed

At this point, all of the basic technologies are in place. I still want to make a lot of changes and conduct experiments, but a lot of building blocks are in place - jQuery, Bootstrap, an Asset Pipeline, and so on.

What's left? Well, I know that the only way that I ever read blogs are from Twitter links, or their RSS feeds. I know how to do the Twitter thing already, and I'll get around to adding the Twitter links, etc. someday. But I didn't have an RSS feed, my preferred method of keeping up. I've never set one up - how do I even do that?

Turns out it's amazingly easy to host your own feed. I know that this doesn't scale well once you get over a few hundred posts or thousands of readers, but I'll worry about that when there time comes. For now, a stupid-quick search turned up snaptortise's Jekyll RSS Feed Templates. It's a collection of really easy-to-understand Liquid templates for rendering an RSS feed.

And, I mean, really easy-to-understand. As in, if you've done any Liquid work, like setting up a custom Archive page (which I already had), then when you look at these templates, you'll kick yourself for not whipping them up in a few minutes. No offense to snaptortise - I definitely needed someone to point out just how obvious these things are! I used a slightly modified feed.xml to get the feed up.

Technology Nine: A Heroku Log Manager

Now that things are running well on Heroku, I need some diagnostics. I can read the logs manually, but why not learn how to have one of the free (or inexpensive) Heroku Add-Ons track things for me and email me when there are problems? Just to get started, I looked into Heroku's Logger Add-On offerings. Frankly, my needs are very basic, so any of the free plans would meet my needs.

Ultimately, I decided to use Logentries, because it's what a friend is using for his Heroku-hosted site. Once I start using the logging facility in anger, I'll reevaluate, and consider moving to another provider. But for now, Logentries looks fine.

And with that, I'm finally caught up to my actual blog implementation! As I add new technologies or make other major changes, I'll add new entries to this series. Well, bye for now!

Tags: blogging, heroku
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