Archive for May, 2011

FeedWordPress 2011.0531: WordPress 3.1.3 compatibility issue producing duplicate posts now resolved

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

FeedWordPress 2011.0531 is now available for release. This is a compatibility release intended to bring FeedWordPress up to compatibility with the most recent release of WordPress, version 3.1.3. In particular, it fixes an issue introduced by WordPress 3.1.3 which caused numerous duplicate posts on some feeds.

Here’s what’s changed since Version 2011.0512:

  • WORDPRESS 3.1.3 COMPATIBILITY: DUPLICATE POSTS ISSUE FIXED. Due to internal changes in the way that WordPress handles post guids in the most recent release (3.1.3), many users experienced problems with many duplicate posts appearing in rapid succession. (Specifically, this would happen with any posts using tag: URL guids — such as all the posts coming from Blogger feeds or feeds from other Google services.) This compatibility release of FeedWordPress eliminates the issue by working around the new restrictions on tag: URLs.
  • NEW AND IMPROVED DIAGNOSTICS: Syndication –> Diagnostics now contains some new diagnostics settings useful for debugging problems with duplicate posts (allowing you to easily view the guid of posts in the WordPress posts database and allowing you to track the SQL used to check for existing versions of a syndicated post).

As always, if you have any issues with the release, or any questions I can help answer, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it. If you have an issue to report, please be sure to tell me what version of FeedWordPress you’re using, what version of WordPress you’re using it with, which web browser you are using to view the FeedWordPress user interface, and try to tell me, as clearly as possible, (1) what you were trying to do, (2) what the circumstances were, (3) what you expected to see, and (4) what you ended up seeing instead.

Please remember that your generous gifts to the project tip jar make ongoing development, compatibility releases and support for FeedWordPress possible.

Download and enjoy! Continue reading

FeedWordPress 2011.0512: better performance, better troubleshooting, and no more “There may be a bug” white-screens-of-death

Friday, May 13th, 2011

FeedWordPress 2011.0512 is now available for download. Hooray!

This announcement will actually cover details for a couple of maintenance releases that I’ve pushed out since 2010.0905. This is mainly a maintenance release, with a number of small tweaks around the edges, most of them for better internal performance or organization, but — if you’re upgrading from 2010.0905 — it includes one important, major performance improvement. And it includes a number of changes which should make it much quicker and much less painful to troubleshoot if you encounter any problems with your feeds. Besides having brought the ChangeLog up to date with the most recent version of the code, here are some of the main things that have changed:

Changes since Version 2010.0905

  • BUGFIX: AVOID DUPLICATE POSTS WHEN GUIDS ARE TOO LONG: When feeds included exceptionally long GUIDs, FeedWordPress could occasionally get into a situation where posts with the long GUIDs would be duplicated over and over again with each update (because FWP failed to store the full GUID, due to length constraints in the relevant database tables). Without the full GUID, FWP would not know that the post had already been syndicated once. This bug has been fixed, and should no longer produce duplicate posts.
  • HTTP TIMEOUT SETTING: If you are frequently running into timeout problems with one or more of the feeds you syndicate, FWP now allows you to adjust the timeout for HTTP requests using a global or feed-by-feed setting.
  • HTTP GET PARAMETERS: You can now temporarily or permanently add HTTP GET parameters to a subscription using an interface in Syndication –> Feeds & Updates. This is especially helpful for making quick, short-term changes to a subscription (for example, to pull in all the previous items from a web service, before settling down to pulling in only newly updated items). You can also use it to include private parameters with values that you do not wish to make publicly visible when a syndicated post displays the URL of its source feed — such as API keys or passwords.
  • DIAGNOSTICS SYSTEM: Added several new diagnostics which are useful in troubleshooting, and established a framework for add-on modules to hook in with their own diagnostic messages.
  • UI: Adjusted some internal coding, which should allow for settings pages and add-ons to properly display multiple category pickers on a single settings page.
  • PHP4 COMPATIBILITY TWEAKS: This version makes some tweaks to the handling of object references which should improve compatibility with older versions of PHP. (Although, I should note, web hosts that still force you to run under PHP 4 — in 2011! — are bad web hosts.)
  • IMPROVED PERFORMANCE: This version eliminates a major performance drag that shows up on sites with large numbers of users (due to some poor decisions about where to place a user query, which caused the user table to be scanned frequently when it did not need to be). If you experienced serious problems with CPU load or slow database performance under 2010.0905, which kicked in immediately when FWP was loaded and tended to disappear immediately if FWP was de-activated, it is likely that upgrading away from 2010.0905 to the most recent version will resolve your problem.

Changes since Version 2011.0211.2

  • DIAGNOSTICS IMPROVEMENTS; “THERE MAY BE A BUG IN FEEDWORDPRESS” CRITICAL ERROR NOTICES ELIMINATED: This version includes some major improvements to the Syndication –> Diagnostics section, which should aid in troubleshooting difficulties with items failing to be imported, posts failing to be properly inserted into the database, or updates failing to be recorded. If you have been encountering critical error / bug notices with a white screen and the message “THERE MAY BE A BUG IN FEEDWORDPRESS,” followed by an extraordinarily long dump of mostly incomprehensible diagnostic information, you’ll be happy to know that the condition causing these notices has been eliminated. In the few cases where errors may still crop up with database insertions, FeedWordPress will now produce a significantly more manageable and more useful diagnostic message.
  • BUGFIX: NEW POSTS FAILING TO APPEAR IN A CLEANLY-INSTALLED FEEDWORDPRESS SYSTEM. If you encountered a recurring problem with FeedWordPress failing to import new posts, after a clean install of FeedWordPress (i.e., not an upgrade from a previous version), this problem may have been the result of a bug with author-handling which has now been fixed in the 2011.0512 release. (If the problem does not go away with the upgrade, this version also includes significant improvements to the Diagnostics system, which will help track down what is causing it in your particular case.)
  • PERFORMANCE: New handling of update hashes allows FeedWordPress to avoid a certain kind of infinite loop, caused when two more more different syndicated feeds each carried a version of the same item (for example, because it appeared on two different aggregator feeds that you’re syndicating). In previous versions, when this kind of loop cropped up, syndicated posts could pile up an indefinitely large number of revisions – each revision alternating between the version from each of the two feeds where it appeared — which would, over time, dramatically inflate the size of the database, and kill the performance of queries on the post table. This issue has been resolved: revisions of the post that have been syndicated once will not be re-syndicated over and over again.
  • AUTHOR LISTS: Lists of authors presented on the Author settings pages should now be easier to scan through, with author names arranged in alphabetical order.
  • FEED ITEM DATE PARSING: More tweaks to make date-time handling more resilient when feeds provide broken or weird values for the timestamps on syndicated items. FWP will now attempt to work around unparseable timezone values.
  • AUTHOR MATCHING: Now attempts to match author names against the WP login name in addition to display_name; when creating user record, also fills in some best-guess values for nickname, firstname and lastname. Also properly picks up Atom 1.0 author/uri data from feed.
  • COMPATIBILITY: FeedWordPress has been successfully tested for compatibility with recent releases of WordPress, up to version 3.1.2.

As always…

As always, if you have any issues with the release, or any questions I can help answer, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it. If you have an issue to report, please be sure to tell me what version of FeedWordPress you’re using, what version of WordPress you’re using it with, which web browser you are using to view the FeedWordPress user interface, and try to tell me, as clearly as possible, (1) what you were trying to do, (2) what the circumstances were, (3) what you expected to see, and (4) what you ended up seeing instead.

Please remember that your generous gifts to the project tip jar make ongoing development and support for FeedWordPress possible.

Now get on out there, download and enjoy! Continue reading