How to keep your feed URL but use Feedburner for a better feed
A couple of months ago I started using Feedburner to manage my RSS feed but I didn’t want to have to change the current feed URL and lock myself to them.
Feeburner is a great service. That being said I didn’t want to lock myself in forever nor inconvenience my users I needed a way to leverage it without changing the URL people use to subscribe to my feed. I went through that once and I never want to go through that again. It would be nice if all feed readers could understand a permanent redirect and update their internal URL for the feed, some do some don’t. But even if they did Feedburner might not do that or I may need to switch it in a hurry. When you sign up for Feedburner they give you a new URL for your feed. Mine is javarants. Instead of pointing it directly at my old feed I use a symbolic link to point at the underlying file in the filesystem that my blogging software updates. This may not be possible with your blogging software. So my real feed that Feedburner sees is javarants. Then in my Apache config you have to put a 302 redirect in place (not a 301 which is permanent because some clients actually respect those):
Redirect /rss.xml http://feeds.feedburner.com/javarants
This will redirect clients that are using the original URL to the Feedburner URL and thus get the modified feed. At some future date when some other service comes along that does what Feedburner does better, I can always switch to it just by updating that redirect.
Why would you want to use Feedburner at all? Why not just use a regular one? Well there are a bunch of really cool things that it can do for you. It gives you analytics, automatic client compatibility, a nice html view of your feed, email delivery of your feed, and add in other related feeds. The last one is what I did recently. Since I started using My Web 2.0 I wanted to share the links that I bookmark but I don’t want to force everyone to use that service, Feedburner gives me a simple way to re-syndicate that content to people that are probably interested in it. There are a ton of other features as well and they are adding new ones all the time.