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Frequently Asked Questions

Summary: Whether you use the Basic or Advanced FeedSweep Designerto create your FeedSweep widgets, there are some basic facts you should be aware of.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is FeedSweep?

 FeedSweep is a service that "republishes" feeds. It pulls news and content from any Internet feed source and displays the contents on your web page or blog - all without any programming! Just set it and forget it...

How does FeedSweep work?

FeedSweep widgets use industry-standard JavaScript to place feed information on your web page. Your customized FeedSweep code is called a "widget" and is compatible with all the popular web browsers. A FeedSweep widget can be incorporated into any web page, regardless of platform or programming language.

The process of putting a FeedSweep widget on your web page is exactly the same as placing Google Adwords on your web page.

How do I incorporate a FeedSweep into my web page or blog?

You must have a basic grasp of HTML, but it is very easy. After you have created a FeedSweep widget, your widget's customized code will be displayed. Cut and paste this into your web page HTML or blog template and your fresh, new content will appear in that location. You are done!

You can create a FeedSweep widget with as little as 4 mouse clicks.

What is the difference between "Basic" and "Advanced" FeedSweep Designers?

You can create a FeedSweep widget with a Basic or Advanced Designer.

The Basic editor is simpler to use because it offers a list of pre-discovered news feeds and a selection of basic "look'n feels" to choose from. You can create a FeedSweep widget in just a few steps.

The Advanced editor provides the full range of customization that expert web designers want including control over CSS values and the more sophisticated features of FeedSweep's Cloud Computing engine. The procedure for incorporating FeedSweep widgets in your web site HTML or blog template, whether basic or advanced, remains the same.

Why does FeedSweep change the order of items in news feeds?

FeedSweep defaults to sorting items in news feeds by descending date if date and time information is made available by the news feed. This ensures that FeedSweep displays only the most current items. You can reverse this order by choosing Oldest-to-Newest in the "Date Sort" option. This sorting process takes place after any aggregation that may be necessary. Alternatively, you can choose None in the "Date Sort" option and have the feed displayed in the sequence it is published.

What does "aggregation" mean?

Aggregation refers to the process whereby the contents of multiple feeds are merged together into a single feed before further processing. FeedSweep does this when you select more than one feed while creating a Basic FeedSweep, or when you type in more than one feed URL while creating an Advanced FeedSweep.

How long does it take FeedSweep to update?

This can depend on several factors. Some news feeds specify that they should only be updated or "refreshed" at a certain time interval. This time interval could be every five minutes, every five hours or every five days. If information is present in the news feed that informs FeedSweep of this interval, FeedSweep will obey the publisher's request to update at that interval. Otherwise, FeedSweep will check for updates to news feeds every ten minutes. This ensures that FeedSweep does not overly tax the feed publisher's web site.

However, irregardless of when feeds are read, the FeedSweep engine then processes each FeedSweep fully and caches the generated FeedSweep for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Important! FeedSweep's caching policies means that even if you are certain a feed has been updated OR you have changed your FeedSweep parameters, your FeedSweep may not reflect these changes for up to 30 minutes.

Does FeedSweep put a load on my servers?

A FeedSweep widget on a page on your website or blog will create virtually zero server load.

Here is why:

Imagine someone wishes to read your webpage or blog. The user makes a request by entering your URL in the browser address line. This causes a sequence of events to happen:

  1. On the user's computer, a DNS request is made to translate the URL into an IP address (no load on your server).
  2. The user's computer forms an HTTP request (no load on your server) .
  3. Your server responds by sending an HTTP response, which is nothing more than a series of TCP/IP packets containing the HTML you have created as your page. Within this HTML is the widget embedding code you created and installed into the HTML of your page. This might be 100 to 2000 characters depending on how elaborate of a widget you created. Whatever extra effort it takes to include this data within the page being downloaded to the user's computer is the extra load on your server.
  4. The user's (ie. receiving) computer hands over the received data back to the browser and tells the browser to interpret it (no load on your server).
  5. Within the data is the FeedSweep JavaScript which tells the browser to make a request to the FeedSweep servers (no load on your server).
  6. The same DNS/request/response/TCP/IP mechanism brings down the HTML representing the widget contents from the FeedSweep servers and this HTML is inserted into the webpage at the point where the widget was placed (no load on your server).
  7. The user sees your complete webpage including widget contents (no load on your server).

How can I offer my news and content to others through FeedSweep?

To do this, you need to create a news feed. See the Make Feeds Yourself menu item.


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Posted by: admin, on 04/30/2008, in category "Questions and Answers"
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