Am asking around. Will get back as soon as I have a response.
Hi, there I have been preparing a detailed response for you which I will post tomorrow. Just wanted to let you know that an answer is on its way.
Thanks. I installed the widget on two machines and neither showed the text box required for formatting.
I did resolve the feed however by changing the url to ...wordpress.com/feed=rdf
None of the other methods shown on the wordpress help worked.
Hopefully you have a better solution that will allow me some formatting control.
Hi, there I am the developer of this widget. I want to answer this question very clearly so that you and any future enquirers have a full and definite understanding of the issues and benefits of using RSS feeds. So let's begin.
First off with regards to RSS content it starts with what goes into the article itself, then you have the quality of the RSS feed created by the system you are using. Next, you have the Parser (this is the service that turns one kind of data, in this case, the RSS feed XML* into a more useful form of data to embed on a web page typically HTML) and how it interprets the RSS feed and the output it creates.
Each process changes the data. As each service has its own distinct interpretation of the data sometimes the information is either in an unacceptable format or in some cases removed by the process if it does not match up to the service requirements.
Wordpress.com RSS feeds are a perfect example of this issue. When tested the feed does validate** but comes with caveats with regards to the level of its interoperability with all feed readers. In other words, it might not work fully with all RSS feed readers.
In this instance, the widget has been designed to hide incorrect data that has not been processed correctly by this widget. In the case of Wordpress.com feeds that happens to be the "description" text. With this Parser, it creates an "Array" message, so the widget hides that message, but at the same time, it is, of course, hiding the description text.
You can try using the RDF version of the feed by adding "/rdf" to the RSS feed URL. However, there is little formatting control for the content it creates.
At this time there are no other fixes for under performing RSS feeds.
We have created a test tool for this widget here - http://museengine.com/previews/test-tools.html
With that answered let's take a look at the bigger picture of embeddable RSS feeds.
So RSS is the plumbing of blog data it allows your articles to be piped/syndicated into other services quickly hence the title Really Simple Syndication. RSS uses XML to create a flat collection of text and then describes what each element is.
The RSS feed is recreated each time you add a new article. The new section is appended to the top of the RSS feed, often and older article at the bottom of the feed is removed each time a new one is added.
The server that creates the RSS feed may do it immediately or at a given time say every hour for example (that's why you might not see the article in the RSS feed quickly).
Because the services add's and remove's data from the same file, a URL can be created that links to that feed permanently allow services to be updated via a static URL. That's one of the reason's RSS works so well once you have the link to the resource the data in the feed changes but the URL does not.
Now that we have the content feed we can interpret what is in it and because we have a standard protocol describing each part of the feed we can ensure that the interpretation works for any feed.
Enter the Parser.
As mentioned above the Parser is the tool/service that reads the feed and reformats the information to an easy to consume format. Open an RSS feed URL in Firefox, and you will see a Parser in action compared to Chrome where you just see the raw data.
So to display the RSS in an acceptable format, we need a parser.
See their depreciation message here - Google Feed API | Google Developers
Sadly Google shut the service down in December 2016. That meant that all the millions of sites using that API parser would no longer work.
Their parser interpreted RSS feeds in a particular way and was very powerful.
The new parser connected to this widget is another third party service that does offer a fairly robust (but less capable) RSS interpreter which is now in action in the RSS feed widget. The new parser has some limitations especially with RSS feeds that do not follow the exact format it is looking for.
How do you know whether your feed will work or not?
We have tested many services with the widget with our RSS testing tools that you can access here:
How can I find my RSS feed URL?
Most services use a specific format for their RSS feed URL's so it is different for each provider.
Just Google "How do I find my __________ rss feed" swap out the blank for your particular blog service.
Here are some of the most popular blog service RSS feed URL examples:
Medium (this is our favourite third party blog service):
Self Hosted Wordpress:
*For more information about RSS see - http://www.xmlfiles.com/rss/
** To test RSS feeds to ensure their validity use - https://validator.w3.org/feed/