August 13, 2002
Optimizing your Movable Type Installation (part 4) - XML syndication

You've seen it on a zillon Movable Type- or Radio-powered websites already: "Syndicate this site", it says. Sometimes with an orange button labelled "XML" or "RSS" beside it. Since you've already installed MT, optimized your templates for search engines and publicized your blog, now it's time to look at RSS / RDF:

What is it?
RSS = Rich Site Summary

Not a lot (yet) - but a growing number of savvy "power users" are using so-called news-aggregators to get an overview of the top news-stories online. Providing a "feed" for such users and their tools is easy and may expose your content to more potential readers. Furthermore, as this is a trend likely to become more widely adopted in the future, this will make your site more future-proof, and available to the early adopters.

Setting up a default RSS feed in Movable Type is easy:

  • By default, Movable Type 2.21 creates a "RSS 1.0 Index" file called index.rdf in your primary website folder. Mine is called
  • The default RSS 0.91 file created is mostly there for backwards compatibility, so let's not worry about it for now.
  • Verify or correct your default RSS 1.0 template to incorporate this bugfix.
  • Additional information like an image representing your website or similar can be added by following the instructions from (note that those apply to an earlier version of Movable Type (and RSS 0.91), small differences may be present)
  • Make sure a link to the index.rdf file is present from your front page.

Formatting preferences
By default, Movable Type formats the file to contain Headline, Excerpt of the posting, date/time and URL of the permanent link.

Reading it!
There are loads of ways syndicated content can be parsed or read:

  • For a quick and easy first try of how your new, RSS-syndicated blog looks, head to Sign up (free) and add your blog for instant gratification.
  • seems to be a primary resource for serious newsfeeds. You can add your feed easily without registering or logging in. Later, you can dig out all kinds of stats for your blog.
  • More serious powerusers are probably using one of the following tools (I haven't tried either of them, so no promises made...): AmphetaDesk, Radio Userland, News is Free or more (from Google Directories)

Further reading on this topic:

Sponsored links
Related Entries

I was reading your blog and I found that your RSS 1.0 feed isn't a valid feed. Why? Because you're using this:


and <webMaster> it is not an element of RSS 1.0 namespace, in fact, it is not an element of RSS 1.0 at all!

I hope this helps, very good tutorial, besides this little error :)

Leandro Mariano Lopez Volunteer

Posted by: inkel on August 14, 2002 03:53 AM

Thanks for your feedback, Inkel! I've fixed the bug.

(and all of you setting up RSS feeds don't do the same mistake as me :-)

Posted by: Anders on August 14, 2002 03:42 PM

Ciao Anders

Incredibly helpful page about rss feeds. I wish the makers of MT would put your article in their help file. Would make things a lot easier to understand. At least for a newbie.

Cordiali saluti

Posted by: Gianni on February 3, 2003 08:42 AM

Thank you for writing this!

Posted by: Anna on April 29, 2003 07:28 PM


Posted by: leila on September 17, 2003 01:34 PM

Here is a useful tool for bloggers and publishers interested in promoting and monetizing their RSS feeds. The tool is provided by It lets bloggers add a syndication button on their blog so that other sites can syndicate their content and republish it. Visit to see how it allows publishers to generate revenue with their RSS feeds.

Posted by: Rodolp s on February 8, 2006 01:56 AM
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