Insert message on feed failure?

Share your ideas for future releases of nntp//rss.

Insert message on feed failure?

Postby peterj on Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:28 am

It would be nice if nntp//rss could provide a warning somewhere other than in the administrative screen and log files when a feed begins to fail for some reason. Some cases I've come across where this would be handy are:

- a feed becomes invalid (badly-formed)
- the feed is gone (HTTP 404, 410, others?)
- the feed is unavailable for some other reason (HTTP 4xx, 5xx, connection timeout, etc.)

The reason this is an issue is that software works so well! I've stopped monitoring it regularly, so it's only when I notice a feed has "gone dark" that I'll look and find that one or more of the problems listed above has happened (which means that messages have been discarded if I'm not quick enough to notice).

Inserting a message into the channel that's affected would seem a natural way to do it, but it would probably add another configuration option for people who don't want or need to see the warnings. (For those that serve nntp//rss to others, it might be worth inserting a message when polling of a feed is disabled by the administrator.) Alternatively, it might be appropriate to provide a "meta feed" of channel statuses that administrators and other interested parties could subscribe to. In either case, transitory failures should be handled; I think a predefined limit of consecutive failures for a particular feed (5? 10?) would suffice.
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Postby jason on Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:17 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I like the idea of providing some form of 'status' newsgroup, to which warning, advisory, and also statistical messages would be posted by the nntp//rss process. This would provide the feedback channel for operational users, without incurring clutter in the actual channel newsgroups.

Like you suggest, I would envision warning messages regarding bad feeds to be posted after a certain threshold of failures has been reached.

Let me look into this and see what would be involved. Right now the only major feature planned for the next beta is support for Item processing plug-ins. This will enable people to integrate custom item processing logic (e.g. emailing) for new or updated items into the polling pipeline. However, I am very interested in ideas that would add to the usability of the application.
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