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Chris Boyle

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Of journals, other sites for them, feeds, OpenID, lions, tigers, bugs etc. [Jan. 10th, 2008|03:20 pm]
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[Mood | geeky]
[Music |Mind.In.A.Box - Stalkers]

Since Lupie unfortunately had to move her journal again and I keep seeing people asking how to keep track of such journals on other sites from LiveJournal, or at least all in one place, I thought I'd write up an explanation here so I don't keep saying the same things in comments.

The short answer is: the only way to put these other journals on your LJ friends page is an LJ syndication. An LJ user with a paid account must create the syndication and then any user can friend it. I just created [info]lupie_ij, which, like [info]lupielupe before it for GreatestJournal, will get the public entries only. (Edit: Unfortunately IJ's feeds cut off after the first few words, so you still have to click through to IJ.)

A geekier, non-web-based alternative is to use an RSS reader, the easiest one being Firefox's Live Bookmarks feature: go to Lupie's journal (or any other, on any LJ-ish site), click the orange and white icon in the right-hand side of the address bar, choose Live Bookmarks. It'll ask you where to put a bookmark; this will be a button you can click to bring up a list of Lupie's recent entries. You can put it in your "Bookmarks Toolbar Folder" for easy access. Whether this includes locked entries depends on whether you're logged into IJ (or whichever other LJ-ish site is generating the feed) when Firefox updates it (you can right-click it and choose Reload if needed). Ticking "Remember me" when you log into the site makes this fairly painless.

Some of the LJ clones, including IJ, support OpenID. This means you can, for example, log into IJ with your LJ account (Edit: to do this, click "OpenID User" on the bar at the top of IJ, and enter in the box), so you don't have to create an IJ account, a GJ account, a DJ account, etc. Unfortunately OpenID is just a login system; it doesn't make it any easier for LJ or any other website to get a logged-in feed (with locked entries) in a machine-readable form such as RSS, which is what's required to mix them in with your friends page.

InsaneJournal, like other sites based on LiveJournal, can include locked entries in feeds, but only if it knows who you are (Live Bookmarks works if your browser is logged in to IJ). When LJ retrieves a feed (for a "syndication"), LJ itself is not logged into IJ as you (in fact it retrieves it on behalf of all LJ users at the same time, so it can't be logged in as any one user).

Another thing you can do is retrieve a logged-in feed without doing a web-based login: if you add "?auth=digest" to the end of an LJ-ish feed address, as in this example, the site will ask you for HTTP Digest authentication. In Firefox, this means you get a dialog box asking for an IJ username and password, which isn't very useful, but if you put such an address into an RSS reader, some readers will cope with giving you a similar dialog box, where they obviously wouldn't know to present the normal IJ login page.

And Finally, what I use myself: I use a web-based RSS reader: Google Reader. Unfortunately it doesn't support authenticated feeds (e.g. the auth=digest trick) directly. I have a workaround in the pipeline, more on that will follow on my journal Real Soon Now™.

I hope this clarifies things a bit. :-)