I’ve built this blog using Hugo, which I love for its sheer simplicity. However, I noticed that the autogenerated RSS feed wasn’t showing any author information. It turns out that I copy-pasted an outdated hugo.toml template that used an older method of specifying author information. This led to the following changes in my hugo.toml:

  # before
  author = "Loren Burkholder"
  # after
  author.name = "Loren Burkholder"
  author.link = "https://lorendb.dev"
  author.email = "computersemiexpert@outlook.com"

However, the feed still had some problems. The author for each post was formatted as computersemiexpert@outlook.com (Loren Burkholder), which is pointlessly verbose. Furthermore, while I try to add tags to each post I make, Hugo was blissfully ignoring them in the RSS feed.

The author name formatting was fairly easy to fix; I just needed to copy the default RSS template to layouts/_default/rss.xml and change the author field from this:

{{- with $authorEmail }}<author>{{ . }}{{ with $authorName }} ({{ . }}){{ end }}</author>{{ end }}

to this:

{{- with $authorName }}<dc:creator>{{ . }}</dc:creator>{{ end }}

This will render each post with the author set to Loren Burkholder. Much better! You will note that I changed the <author> tag to <dc:creator>. This is because the RSS spec requires the <author> tag to use the me@example.com (My Name) format. <dc:creator>, however, allows you to use just a name without violating the spec. Unfortunately, it looks like Akregator can’t handle a feed without <author>, and Tiny Tiny RSS doesn’t observe the <dc:creator> field, so I had to put back the original author field as well.

The tags were slightly trickier. Since I’m a total Hugo scripting noob, I ended up copying a general tag rendering snippet from the Hugo forums and adapting it to my RSS template:

{{ if isset .Params "tags" -}}
    {{ range $index, $name := sort .Params.tags -}}
    <category>{{ $name }}</category>
    {{- end}}
{{- end }} 

You can find the entire RSS template here if you want to use it in your own Hugo site.

An update from the next day

The morning after I published this post, I noticed that Hugo is also truncating the contents of RSS feeds, so anybody using a feed reader on this blog would only see the first paragraph or so of each post. This is an absolute crime in the realm of feed readers; it forces people to leave their feed reader for an external site to read the post. Being lazy, I copied somebody else’s approach of telling Hugo to use the post .Content instead of the .Summary. However, I also found out (the hard way) that you must keep the call to transform.XMLEscape; otherwise, your RSS feed will probably break when others try to add it to their feed readers.

I also realized that my original <author> implementation didn’t meet RSS spec, so I modified it to come back in line with the spec.

Update (2/24/2024)

I’ve realized from this HN thread that using <dc:creator> requires a modification to the <rss> element:

<rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/">

This will actually import the appropriate RSS namespace to provide <dc:creator>. Without this, some readers like Thunderbird would fail.


powered by Cactus Comments