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Preview: Feeder Tips and Tricks

Feeder Tips and Tricks

Tips and tricks for Feeder by Reinvented Software.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 21:38:56 +0100

Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 21:38:56 +0100


Feeder Podcasting Tutorial

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 17:16:14 +0100

Allison Sheridan has created a ScreenSteps (which looks very cool) tutorial on how to create a podcast feed for Feeder as part of her Podcasting on Podcasting series.

You can hear Allison give the tutorial on PoP Episode #9 (enhanced podcast) and read it on her site: Feeder Tutorial.

The Podcasting on Podcasting (PoP) series should prove very useful to budding podcasters as the entire process can be very daunting, as it covers everything from the technical side of recording equipment, software and web hosting on the one hand, and the creative aspect on the other, not to mention considerations such as time and family commitments.

Allison’s been podcasting for a long time now, and occasionally brings in other experienced contributors such as Don McAllister of the excellent ScreenCastsOnline.

The Podcasting on Podcasting series can be found as part of Allison’s main podcast, NosillaCast, at Allison also contributes to the Mac Roundtable Podcast and the Mac ReviewCast.

Scripting Sparkle Appcasts with Feeder and RubyCocoa

Mon, 04 Aug 2008 18:26:27 +0100

Nick Brawn has written a post on scripting Feeder to publish Sparkle appcasts using Leopard’s Scripting Bridge and RubyCocoa, which as well as being potentially useful for developers, serves as an interesting example for this combination of technologies:

Link: Scripting Sparkle Appcasts with Feeder and RubyCocoa

Adding Sparkle Updates to AppleScript Studio Projects

Fri, 30 May 2008 21:16:20 +0100

Konrad Lawson at The AppleScript Studio Workshop has written a comprehensive tutorial about including Sparkle for automatic software updates in an AppleScript Studio project. The tutorial also mentions Feeder as a way to create the appcast feed:

Link: The AppleScript Studio Workshop - Adding a Check Updates Feature

Feeder 1.5 - New Features

Fri, 08 Feb 2008 22:26:57 +0000

Feeder 1.5 includes a number of useful new features and improvements, particularly for video podcasters. Just about every part of the app has been tweaked in some way though, so here are the highlights.

User Interface

Firstly, the user interface has been updated for 10.5 Leopard, and because Feeder’s minimum system requirements are now for 10.4 and later, gets some new controls such as date pickers and token fields for things like iTunes keywords.


Feeder has worked fine on Leopard since the big cat’s release, but Leopard’s darker theme almost eradicated the subtle borders on some toolbar icons and the increased contrast made some of the colours appear too saturated. Also, the sidebar gets Leopard gradient and colours, and turns grey when the main window is inactive. These are minor changes but make a big difference.


Feeder’s podcasting support has been improved in particular for video podcasters. Video podcasts can now have thumbnails via Yahoo’s Media RSS extension. These thumbnails are used for video search results and application such as Miro (formerly Democracy Player).

(image) Using the Media RSS extensions is as straightforward as checking “Use Media Extensions” in the Extensions section of the Info drawer (below the iTunes extensions, if you’re using them). That will show the Media Thumbnail field in the editor, where you can drag an image file to upload or specify the URL of an image that is already online.

Finally for video podcasters, this version improves performance when reading and tagging MP4 files, including those used for iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, etc.


(image) Another change useful for any podcaster is that Feeder now has the ability to redirect uploaded enclosure URLs through a site. This is useful for podcast sites concerned with statistics such as Blubrry. You can find the settings for this in the Enclosures section under Settings in the Info drawer.

Feeder’s publishing is now improved to (finally!) support password-less SFTP. This can be enabled by clicking the Options button in the Servers window for an SFTP server. It also allows the creation of additional servers for enclosures and images during publishing setup.


Last but not least, Sparkle appcasting support has been improved. It is now possible for Feeder to automatically generate MD5 sums and DSA signatures for enclosure files. The settings for these can be found in the Sparkle section under Extensions in the Info drawer. Finally, Feeder’s AppleScript has been improved and now includes the ability to edit Sparkle attributes.

Feeder 1.4 - New Features

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 21:51:58 +0000

I released Feeder 1.4 today and thought I could give a quick guide to the new features here. Scheduled Publishing [...]

Feeder Templates Tips

Fri, 09 Jun 2006 19:34:23 +0100

Templates in Feeder serve two purposes. Firstly, they control which fields you see when editing items and secondly, they can contain default values for fields.

The idea is borrowed from page layout applications and the like, which help you to know what content is needed for a particular purpose and where to place it.

While there is only so much you can do to control the appearance of your feed in the various online and desktop feed readers, RSS feeds have so many different uses they almost resemble a blank piece of paper. Templates help you to know exactly what is needed.

Feeder comes with a number of templates suited to various tasks such as a news feed, a podcast and so on. These standard templates can be easily customized and you can create your own.

Using Templates

(image) You normally choose a template when creating your feed, but you can change the template for a particular feed at any time by choosing Item > Template from the menu or by clicking the Template button in the editor windows.

Once there, you can choose an existing template from the pop-up menu, or click the Customize button.

Custom Templates

When editing a custom tempate, you can check fields to show them in the editor or enter default values in the fields themselves. The default values will be used even if the field isn’t displayed.

Note also the Show pop-up. This allows you to see fields from RSS extensions - at present only the iTunes extension, and mix and match these in your feed.

Global Templates

If you have a custom template you wish to use for other feeds, you can click the Save As… button, give the template a name and it will then appear in the pop-up menu of templates.

You can edit these global templates in Feeder’s Template preferences.

Using Feeder with a Weblog and Other RSS Feeds

Tue, 02 May 2006 01:54:55 +0100

Feeder is an RSS editor, not a weblog editor like ecto or MarsEdit. All modern blogs produce their own feeds. However, RSS feeds created by Feeder can compliment a blog in a number of ways and Feeder itself has some tricks for working with other RSS feeds.

Suggested Uses

There are a number of reason why people include separate RSS feeds on their weblog. These are some real world examples:

  • Creating different feeds, possibly with slightly modified content for a specific audience. One example is this Tips & Tricks feed.
  • Creating a separate podcast feed with iTunes tags that only contains podcasts and not general blog entries. This has the advantage of providing more control over the number of episodes that appear in your podcast feed, enclosures files, etc.
  • Syndicating content by creating RSS feeds of interesting articles for friends and family.

Downloading a Weblog Feed

(image) Feeder can read your most recent entries from your blog’s RSS feed. Your weblog must generate RSS 0.9x or 2.0 feeds (as opposed to RSS 1.0 or Atom feeds).

To download your blog’s feed into Feeder:

  1. Click on the New Feed button in the toolbar and choose Download Feed.
  2. Enter the URL of your blog (e.g. you don’t need to enter the full feed URL as Feeder will try to auto-detect the feed.
  3. If successful, the feed will now be selected in Feeder’s sidebar.

Copying Items

To use items (individual posts) from your blog feed in another feed you can just drag the item from one feed to the other feed in the sidebar. You can also cut and paste items between feeds.

Reloading a Weblog Feed

After adding and changing new posts on your blog, the feed in Feeder will get out of step. You can quickly get the latest version of your blog’s entries by clicking on the Reload button in the toolbar.

Adding the Feed to Your Blog

You can publish your non-blog feed anywhere you like and put a link on the blog to the Feeder-generated feed, if necessary. How to do this is entirely dependant on the weblog system you are using.

If you are using WordPress 2 you can add an RSS widget to your blog’s sidebar. You can find out more about WordPress widgets here.

Adding Items from an RSS Reader

If you use an RSS reader application that uses the External Weblog Editor Interface, you can send news items to the selected feed in Feeder.

To do that, you need to set Feeder as the Weblog editor in the reader application, and use the reader app’s Post to Weblog (or equivalent) command to send those items to Feeder.

NetNewsWire, NewsFire and NewsLife all support this.

Feeder also supports the RSS clipboard format, which means you can drag and drop or copy and paste news items from a reader application to Feeder.

Feeder Editing Tips

Fri, 21 Apr 2006 13:56:43 +0100

Here are some tips for editing items in Feeder.


(image) Feeder can autocomplete from other items in your feed, email addresses from Address Book and so on. You can enable or disable this feature in Feeder’s Editing preferences.

If you don’t want auto-completion on all the time, you can still get an auto-completion list by hitting Option-Esc or F5 after typing some text.

Working with Tags

You can use the Insert HTML menu in the toolbar to insert HTML tags into the description. If text is selected, Feeder surrounds the text in the tag. If no text is selected, Feeder places the cursor between the two tags.

Feeder has keystrokes for some frequently used tags, which you can see in the menu. The keystrokes are fairly standard, such as Command-B for a bold tag.

Editing Images and Links

(image) You can insert the HTML for images and links using the Image and Link buttons in the toolbar, when the cursor is in the Description field at the bottom of the window.

You can also edit existing images and links by selecting the whole tag before clicking the Image or Link buttons.

Feeder also keeps the last 10 recent images and links inserted. Just click on the Recents button next to the URL.

For images, you can use quickly retrieve the dimensions of the image, and constrain the proportions of the image using the action menu next to the height and width. Specifying the image size can help with layout problems that can occur in Safari.

Paste Link

This is a really handy feature. If you have a URL on the clipboard, you can quickly create a link by hitting Command-Shift-K.

Credit: This was actually a feature request by someone who was addicted to this functionality in MarsEdit.

Feeder 1.3 Tips: Publishing

Thu, 13 Apr 2006 22:15:55 +0100

Feeder is now much more flexible about where and how you upload your feed, images and enclosure files.

  • (image) Feeder can upload different kinds of files to different servers when publishing your feed. To set default servers for different kinds of files, select the feed in the sidebar and choose File > Publish Settings from the menu and choose the servers to use for different kinds of files.
  • All kinds of servers can now be created and edited in the Servers window. To see this choose View > Servers from the menu.
  • Each server can have its own default locations for different kinds of files. These can be set in the File Locations tab of the Servers window.
  • Default servers and locations can also be overridden on an individual basis for files such as enclosures and images. For enclosure files, click the Edit button next to the enclosure file’s name. For images, click on the artwork view and choose Upload Settings from the menu.
  • After publishing your feed, Feeder can ping services such as iTunes, Yahoo and FeedBurner to notify them of changes to your feed. These can be set on a per-feed basis in the Ping Services section of the Settings tab in the Info drawer.
  • You can create, remove and edit ping servers in Feeder’s Ping preferences panel. Choose Feeder > Preferences from the menu and click Ping.

Feeder 1.3 Tips: Media File Tagging

Sat, 08 Apr 2006 13:35:53 +0100

Feeder can tag audio and video files with values from your feed to match what iTunes does when it downloads podcast episodes. (image) This ensures that everyone who receives your podcast, whether using iTunes or another application, has a consistent experience.

Feeder will also set the artwork on your media files using your feed’s artwork as a default.

The tagging changes happen automatically when you save an item in your feed that has a compatible enclosure file set to be uploaded. Feeder can tag files in MP3, M4A, M4V, MP4 and QuickTime movie formats.

  • To have Feeder tag and upload a media file (or any kind of file), drag the file to the expanded Enclosure part of the item’s edit window.
  • To fetch the appropriate tags from in a media file, click on the artwork box, a menu will be shown and choose Fetch Tags from File.
  • You can also create new items with enclosures in your feed by dragging files onto the feed in the sidebar or to the list of items. If the file already contains tags, Feeder will pre-populate the item with with those tags.
  • If you don’t want Feeder to automatically tag media files, you can switch this off in the preferences panel. Choose Preferences from the Feeder menu and click Podcast, then uncheck “Automatically Update Media File Tags”.

Feeder 1.3 Tips: Image Uploading

Thu, 06 Apr 2006 23:59:44 +0100

(image) Feeder can upload an image for your feed, artwork for your podcast’s listing in the iTunes Music Store and shows a preview of these in the Info drawer.

  • To have Feeder upload an image when the feed is published, drag an image file to the appropriate artwork view.
  • Clicking on the artwork brings up a menu with a number of options. These vary slightly between the RSS and iTunes artwork views.
  • There are restrictions on the maximum size and file format for both standard RSS and iTunes images. If the image is not the correct size or format, Feeder will create a resized version in JPEG format to upload when the feed is published.
    • The maximum size for an RSS image is fixed at 144 pixels wide by 400 pixels high.
    • The maximum size for iTunes images is 300 pixels square by default, but can be between 170 and 300 pixels to be valid. This can be set in Feeder’s Podcast preferences.
  • For iTunes artwork, you can choose whether Feeder should crop the images to a square size or scale the image to fit. To do this, click on the iTunes artwork view and choose either Crop to Fit or Scale to Fit from the menu. Apple recommends using square images.
  • If you already have an appropriate image on your web server, Feeder can use that too. Just click on the artwork view, choose Open from URL from the menu and enter the URL of the image.
  • If you need the URL of an already published image for use in a podcast directory or web page, you can get this at any time by clicking on the artwork view and choosing Copy Image URL from the menu.
  • Finally, you can customize where Feeder uploads the image and the name of the file on the server by clicking on the artwork view and choosing Upload Settings from the menu.

Feeder 1.3 Tips: User Interface

Thu, 06 Apr 2006 00:55:26 +0100

This is the first in a series of tips exploring the new functionality in Feeder 1.3.

User Interface

The user interface changes in Feeder 1.3 are focused around getting more out of the space on your screen.

  • The one-pixel splitter allows the sidebar to be completely hidden, which could be useful if you only manage a single feed. Show or hide the sidebar by choosing View > Show/Hide Sidebar from the menu.
  • The preview in the main window has been redesigned to show more of the actual content for proof reading and the status bar now shows the link the mouse is hovering over in the preview (if any).
  • There is now an Edit Item toolbar button for the Library window - some people asked for this. You will need to customise the toolbar to see it.
  • Feeder now does syntax colouring for HTML in the edit windows. You can change the colour of the tags in Feeder’s Editor preferences.

The Info drawer has been split into three different tabs to separate what is in the feed from Feeder’s own settings and reduce visual clutter:

  • The Standard tab shows fields for standard RSS 2.0 tags. Everything in this section is stored in the feed.
  • The Extensions tab shows extensions to standard RSS, and everything here is also stored in the feed. The “iTunes Extensions” section that was in Feeder 1.2.x has now been split into two. The “iTunes” section shows everything that appears for your podcast’s listing in the iTunes Music Store. The “iTunes Information” section shows other tags that are not displayed, but used by the store.
  • The Settings tab shows where the feed is kept on disk, and the feed's publishing settings. These settings are stored in Feeder's internal library.

    Password Protecting Your Feed

    Fri, 15 Sep 2006 23:18:42 +0100

    A quick and easy way to password protect a feed is to set your web server to require HTTP authentication for the directory where the feed and any enclosure files reside. Here are some instructions on how to set up this authentication with Apache: Comprehensive guide to .htaccess

    Authentication Support

    All the best RSS readers support this authentication including NetNewsWire, NewsMac Pro and NewsFire. As for podcatchers, iTunes and Juice Receiver support this but iPodderX (renamed Transistr) needs the URL tweaked - see the workaround below. Also there are the online services: NewsGator supports it, Bloglines needs the URL tweaked (again, see below) but Google Reader didn’t support it at the time of writing.

    Feeder supports HTTP authentication for downloading, reloading and previewing feeds.


    iPodderX and Bloglines can’t read a normal URL that requires authentication. The workaround is to include the user name and password in the URL itself. For example:

    This URL also works in the other RSS reader applications mentioned above.

    Updated September 15, 2006 - iTunes 7.0 no longer requires the workaround mentioned above.

    Changing a Podcast Feed's URL in iTunes

    Mon, 03 Apr 2006 16:31:00 +0100

    There may come a time when you want to move your podcast feed to another server, another location on your server or start using a service such as FeedBurner.

    In their technical specification, Apple suggests two ways to change your podcast feed’s URL. The preferred method is to set up (or have your hosting company set up) a redirect to the new URL. This will cause both the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) and any subscribers to your feed to pick up the new URL and should also work for other podcatcher applications, including podcast-aware RSS readers.

    New Feed URL Tag

    Setting up a redirect is not always possible; Apple’s alternative suggestion is to use the tag to inform the iTMS that your feed has moved. In Feeder, you can see this as the New Feed URL field at the bottom of the iTunes Information section in the Extensions part of the Info drawer. Using this tag will inform the iTMS and subscribers in iTunes to use the new feed, but is not likely to work for other directories or podcatcher applications.

    Using the New Feed URL Tag

    The trick to moving your feed successfully is to ensure you have two different versions of your feed. The old version should contain the New Feed URL and the new version must not. Here are some tips for how to go about this using Feeder:

    • Select your old feed in Feeder and choose Edit > Duplicate from the menu.
    • If you are moving to a new server, you may wish to change any links in your feed (e.g. the Article Link and Enclosure URL fields) to point to locations on the new server. To prevent Feeder from changing the publication dates when saving the items, uncheck Auto Update Item Dates in the Feed Settings section of the Info drawer before editing the items, and check it again when you’re done.
    • Choose File > Publish Settings from the menu and change the publishing settings as appropriate. If you wish to use FeedBurner you simply need to change your feed’s filename. Click Save Changes when you’re done.
    • Publish the new feed.
    • Test the new feed in iTunes by choosing File > Copy Feed URL from the menu, switching to iTunes, choosing Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast and pasting the URL.

    If everything looks good in iTunes, you can now select the old feed, put the new URL in the New Feed URL field and publish the feed. If you intend to start using FeedBurner, have FeedBurner burn the new feed and put the FeedBurner URL in the New Feed URL field instead.

    Testing the New URL

    You can test the New Feed URL tag is working by updating a subscription to your existing feed in iTunes and clicking the info button next to your podcast’s description. It should show the new feed’s URL.

    The iTunes Music Store will switch to using the new feed URL the next time it checks your feed, and your iTunes-using subscribers will pick up the new URL the next time they update their podcast subscriptions. Users of other podcatchers will need to update manually, and you will need to update any other directories that list your feed. Apple suggests keeping the old feed around for two weeks to give everyone enough time to update.

    Tips for Libsyn Users

    Mon, 03 Apr 2006 16:25:39 +0100

    Here are some Feeder tips for Libsyn users.

    Where to Host Your Feed

    Libsyn has a feature to automatically move your media files from their high performance servers to slower archive servers after a month returning the space taken by the archived files to your allocation.

    However, this is not a good place to host your feed, because your feed will also be moved to Libsyn's archive servers after a month, and uploading new versions will have no effect because Libsyn will redirect from your current media to the archive server where the old copy is kept.

    Instead you should upload your feed to the _static folder to prevent it from being archived. The URL for your feed will be

    How to Set Up Publishing

    Feeder can be set up to publish different kinds of files to different locations, here is how to set Feeder to publish your feed to the _static folder and your podcast's media files to the media folder.

    These instructions can be used to set up any kind of publishing where different kinds of files exist on different servers.

    Step 1 - Create the Libsyn Media Server

    The first step is to create the Libsyn FTP servers. You need two separate servers because the web URLs for the media and static folders are different.

    • First, open the Servers window by choosing Window > Servers from the menu.
    • Click the + button to create a new server.
    • Enter the following details to create the Libsyn Media server for your media files:

      Name: Libsyn Media
      FTP Address:
      User Name: your username
      Password: your password
      Site Folder: leave blank
      Protocol: Standard FTP

    Step 2 - Create the Libsyn Static Server

    Next you can create a duplicate of the Libsyn Media server to use as the static server:

    • With the Libsyn Media server selected, choose Edit > Duplicate from the menu.
    • Change the details as follows:

      Name: Libsyn Static
      Site Folder: _static

    You can now close the Servers window.

    Step 3 - Set the Feed to Use the Servers

    Now all that remains to be done is to set up the feed to use the servers

    • With the feed selected, choose File > Publish settings from the menu.
    • Select the Libsyn Static (FTP) server from the Feed Server pop-up menu.
    • Select the Libsyn Media (FTP) server from the Enclosures Server pop-up menu.
    • Click Save Changes.

    Getting Browsers to Auto-Detect a Feed

    Mon, 03 Apr 2006 16:20:00 +0100

    Some web browsers (e.g. Safari, Firefox, OmniWeb) and newsreader apps can auto-detect feeds on a web page or site.

    They do this by checking for an alternate link with type "application/rss+xml" in the section of your web page, similar to this: