Posts Tagged ‘Yaab’

Yaab 1.2 and WordPress 2.7 not the best of friends yet

Monday, January 5th, 2009

The main test site that I have used for Yaab Autoblogger to date is using WordPress version 2.6. It’s all working pretty sweetly (with the occasional apparent double-posting that I have yet to investigate properly, and suspect is my fault or a problem with the feed).

I was keen to try out the new version (1.2) of Yaab, and continue to provide some feedback to its tireless author. As it happened, I’d just bought a new domain on which I’m intending to try out some experiments with autoblogging, autolinking and crosslinking on various subdomains, so I had the opportunity to carry out a fresh install.

Having set up a blog on one subdomain, using WordPress 2.7, I installed the latest version of the Yaab plugin.
Now, 2.7 represents a major change of interface for WordPress, and Yaab was clearly designed to fit in with the previous interface. However, anyone thinking about installing the plugin with 2.7 should be warned that you will not be seeing it at its best!

It will still function, but the interface changes to 2.7 have messed up the attractive interface of Yaab somewhat. I’m sure that this is something that Satheesh will be looking to tidy up (once he has finished his exams), as I think that the latest version of WordPress is likely to be very popular.

Now, I’ve broken a golden rule of experimentation by changing two elements at the same time. Fortunately I still have a live blog running 2.6, and I will try installing Yaab 1.2 there in order to give proper feedback on its new features. I might also have a go at installing the earlier version of Yaab on a 2.7 blog somewhere, if I get time for that as well.

Yaab 1.1 release addresses issues

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

The amazing Satheesh is at it again – perhaps encouraged by some feedback, he has already released an updated version of his autoblogging WordPress plugin Yaab.

I think that there may have been a misunderstanding previously about “duplication” – I have never seen the same item twice in one blog post – that would only happen, as Satheesh points out in a comment, where there was already duplication in a feed. 

My concern was that the plugin would publish the last X items (X is configurable) whether or not there were any new items available.

However, it seems that this problem has been resolved in the latest release. The relevant part of my log file is as follows (the most recent item appears first):

2008-12-21-08:45: BBC Main News 2 is fetched automatically. No posts published
2008-12-21-08:33: BBC Main News 2 is fetched automatically. 1 posts published

This is great. Yaab now checks in, and if it finds nothing new in the feed, it leaves it alone…

There are some other welcome new elements in the release, which I will assess in a future post, but it is all looking good.

Yet another Yaab postscript

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

I’ve removed the multiple BBC-generated posts from the test site, as I like to avoid having duplicate content (unless I’m actively testing duplicate content issues). I left the 4th edition live, so that it is clear that there was originally more than one such post.

Yaab autoblogging test results

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

And the results are in:

1) Duplication of content: I set up an autoblogger using the BBC news main feed, with an interval of 10 minutes. It published four separate posts, all with identical content. So, Yaab does not check for new content before publishing a new post. To be fair, the author doesn’t claim that it does – but this goes on the wishlist for the future. The perfect autoblogging tool would be something that you could leave alone entirely, without having to make guesstimates about how often the sources were likely to be updated.

2) The SEO Smart Links plugin works fine with Yaab. I have set it to publish only on individual posts and not the main page. I will post separately about this plugin, which is itself a fine piece of work.

3) The plugin worked beautifully with an RSS feed from Flickr, displaying pictures from the feed along with links and credits.

4) Multiple feed URLs worked well: although differently sourced RSS content displays differently. In particular, the content from a Google News RSS feed looks different. This may just be a feature of those feeds, but I think such issues could be ironed out with greater configurability of the data coming in from the feeds, as already suggested by another early adopter in his useful feedback post on Yaab, all of which I would agree with.

5) Adsense content units have gone on to the individual blog posts: they are mostly showing generic ads at present, but there is an advertisement for some sort of Goth/Emo dating site on the aggregated “glam rock” entry, so it seems that Google is picking up the content (as I would have expected). In time I am sure that I’ll see more relevant ads on all pages.

So, pretty impressive so far!

Yaab – next steps

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

As mentioned in a comment to an earlier post, following the author’s advice I have now been able to get the Yaab Autoblogger to work successfully with a Yahoo Pipes feed, by substituting the “feed” prefix with “http”, which is great.

The next thing that is really great is that setting the interval for fetching new content and posting it also works a treat. In my impatience to see it working, I set the timer for only 20 minutes, and it produced another post right on time. 

Now, 20 minutes is probably not the best time to set, unless you are referring to feeds that are updated extremely often! What happened in this instance was that it fetched exactly the same items that it had got 20 minutes earlier, and created an identical post (which I have now deleted to avoid duplication). What would be a really great feature for this plugin would be if it were to check whether there were any new items since the last time it fetched the feed, and only create a post if there were any such items.

However, I should probably test this properly: I made some other changes to the feed (the name of the post in particular) and it may be that it would have handled the duplication better had I not done so. 

So that becomes the first task on my Yaab testing to-do list, which follows:

Testing to-do list

1) Create a new autoblogger on the test blog that updates frequently and let it run without making any other changes; assess how the autoblogger handles non-updated material

2) Install the SEO Smart Links plugin and see whether and how this works with Yaab – the ability to add in my own predefined links on certain words/phrases is a feature that I liked in WP-o-Matic, and has obvious potential SEO benefits. Satheesh mentions this as a future upgrade to his plugin also.

3) Test the plugin with an images RSS feed.

4) Try the plugin with multiple feed URLs

5) Test the output blog posts with Adsense to get some insight into how Google treats the output content