Really Simple Syndication
Copyright 2003-4 Randy Charles Morin
Yahoo!: Yahoo Inc. has agreed to take in data directly from stock exchanges to offer financial data to its users as well as other Web sites, the Internet media company said on Sunday.
Randy: Let's just hope we don't get another media RSS.
Phil Ringnaldo: But last night, I must have been dreaming of RSS, because I woke up with the fully-formed idea of a documentary video of the history of RSS, with a straight voiceover, and the video being cheesy-effects with "action figures" in cars, full of sly digs at the history as we tell it: RSS 0.90 starts out as a Volkswagen van, then they get a cutting torch and turn it into a pickup for 0.91, Dave's hitchhiking so they pick him up but he gets in the driver's seat, RSS 1.0's a Ferrari that constantly breaks down, and every time a dozen people get out, run around it shouting, and then get back in without doing anything and drive off, RSS 1.1's an Apollo capsule that parachutes down in the middle of the road suddenly, Atom starts out as a good looking car, but 200 people are constantly working on it, even while it's driving along, building up and then tearing down enormous spoilers and scoops and weird things sticking out the sides that don't make any sense at all...
Randy: Phil and I seem to be sharing dreams, or should I say nightmares.
I was working last week with Eric Lunt over at FeedBurner on implementing USM. Eric's a smart guy. As of today, the FeedBurner Browser-Friendly page has a USM clickable button. The actual subscription goes thru my Website so that I properly format the RSS and HTTP for USM. I think I'm gonna spend a few hours cleaning that ASPX up. I doubt it works universally. It also has a link to the USM (What is This?) page. Thanks Eric!
Update: The RSS Blog now uses the FeedBurner Browser-Friendly mode.
Randy: Yet another RSS reader has USM in the plans. Thanks James, on behalf of all RSS users. The clickable Web is back.
Danny Ayers does a great job of summarizing the 1-click opinions across the Blogosphere.
Let me add others...
Tim Bray: But if the reward was one-click subscription, maybe we could get the worldâs server operators to goose their config files and start serving RSS as
application/rss+xml instead of
Randy: Great idea. How do we make this happen?
Does Tim realize that Atom is almost always served with the incorrect Content-Type? Blogger serves their Atom as application/xml, not application/atom+xml. LiveJournal serves their Atom as text/xml. That's the vast majority (80%+) of existing Atom feeds.
CITA: Up until now, clicking one of the or buttons displayed a page of goobledy-gook. You got to see the feed data written in XML. [cut] When you click one of the feed icons that implements a subscription method, you now see a window explaining that you have clicked a link that has identified itself as an RSS feed and that invites you to add the feed to the Aggregator.
Because there's no default RSS handler in Windows XP, clicking on the orange buttons often produces very undesirable results. I often suggest that RSS publishes include a little (What is this?) link immediate to the right of the orange button, that links to this page. Confused users can click on the (What is this?) link and read about how they can use those little orange chicklets. Here's an example of what I'm recommending RSS publishers put on there Webpage.
The (What is this) link could link to this page, located at https://rssweblog.com/whatisthis.html, but publishers rightfully should create their own (What is this) Webpage. Publishers may copy the content of this page without the permission of the author.
Bob Jordan: I haven't had a problem adding feeds recently, and I believe USM is to blame.
Nick Bradbury: The problem is that very few sites support the rest of USM, which involves adding a new element to your feed which tells aggregators the feed's URL.
Randy: What Nick suggests is simply untrue. Most every site that implements the correct Content-Type also implements Reflexive Auto-Discovery. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find one that doesn't. I guess FeedDemon user's will be frustrated, but that's because Nick isn't intent on implementing USM. Most other aggregators have told me they plan to support USM in their next release.
Thanks for Gustaf Erikson, we have instructions on how to modify your Blosxom blog for USM support.
To change the returned content type for any flavour of RSS, change the content_type.<flavour> file where <flavour> is rss20, rdf, etc. This file likely contains text/xml or similar. Modify the file to contain application/rss+xml.
I added USM capability for 20 RSS readers into the USM reference implementation client. Click here to download the installer. The installer will prompt you for your preferred RSS reader. The supported RSS readers are My Yahoo!, My MSN, Bloglines, NewsGator Online, Ampheta Desk, Awasu, Bot a Blog, Bottom Feeder, FeedValidator, fyuse, Headline Viewer, IzyNews, mobilerss, NewsIsFree, NewsMonster, nttp://rss, Radio Userland, Syndic8, Wildgrape, WinRSS. I don't spend much time debugging, so please send me feedback and bugs.
If you want me to add support for your aggregator, then please ping me with the instructions. The USM client is open source and public domain, so please feel free to copy and paste my efforts. Attribution appreciated, not required.
W3C: This document describes the properties we desire of the Web and the design choices that have been made to achieve them. It promotes the reuse of existing standards when suitable, and gives guidance on how to innovate in a manner consistent with Web architecture.
Randy: Must read!
Excerpt: If a URI scheme exists that meets the needs of an application, designers should use it rather than invent one.
Good practice: Reuse URI schemes
A specification SHOULD reuse an existing URI scheme (rather than create a new one) when it provides the desired properties of identifiers and their relation to resources.
Consider our travel scenario: should the agent providing information about the weather in Oaxaca register a new URI scheme "weather" for the identification of resources related to the weather? They might then publish URIs such as "weather://travel.example.com/oaxaca". When a software agent dereferences such a URI, if what really happens is that HTTP GET is invoked to retrieve a representation of the resource, then an "http" URI would have sufficed.
Randy: In other words, the feed URI scheme does not follow the Web Architecture.
Eric Lunt: The other interesting "debate" that has flared up again recently is the "auto-subscription" issue: if you click on a little XML chicklet, what should happen? [cut] The MIME-type approach has found a recent champion in Randy Charles Morin, with his Universal Subscription Mechanism proposal. Both solutions have interesting technical challenges, yet neither approach helps a brand new user that doesn't yet have a client ... nor is it possible to really handle multiple clients ("I want most feeds to go to NewsGator, but my podcasts I want to go to iPodder ... oh, and Azureus should handle my television feeds").
Randy: I like the register this feed with X and this feed with Y thinking.
Danny Ayers: Which brings me to the question: does OPML 1.1 have a cloud element or not? The text suggests not, the example includes one.
Dave, this is half the problem. We have an RSS advisory board siting on their ass and OPML without an advisory board. Stick OPML and MetaWeblogAPI under the RSS advisory board and put some people on the board who give a damn (sorry Adam, not you).
InternetNews: Winer's proposal has two parts: technology initiative and industry alliance. The technology, he says, already is in use on his own feeds.scripting.com. Under Winer's scenario, the "subscribe" icon would be linked to a central server that engages in a confirmation dialog, then adds a link to the user's outline processor markup language (OPML) file.
Scott Rafer, CEO of Feedster, a search service for blogs and feeds, doesn't like the idea. "The issue with Dave's proposal, both commercially and technically, is centralization," he said. Instead of a centralized service, he likes the idea of a cookie standard for aggregators.
And speaking of Yahoo, Jeremy Zawodny, the media company's blogging evangelist, responded to internetnews.com's query via his own blog, writing, "Dave's proposed solution sounds a bit complicated. In my mind, this has always been solely a client/side problem. The fact is that you click on an orange XML button and the browser does the wrong thing." "The obvious solution is to fix the browser(s) or provide a helper app that can do the job if there's no obvious way to extend the browser," Zawodny wrote.
Randy: A good summary of ideas to conquer the Yahoo! problem.
Tim Bray: Iâm almost convinced that this new Technorati Tags thing is important, but Iâm 100% convinced that I donât understand where itâs going or what the implications are. [cut] It turns out you can also just put <dc:subject>foo</dc:subject> in your feed (assuming youâve declared the dc: prefix properly) which is shorter and (much & all as I love Technorati) arguably more open. Except for, as a Web-Architectural kinda guy, I like the idea of identifying categories with URIs. Except for, the whole point of that is that everyone can have their own, and Technoratiâs setup only recognizes the ones beginning http://technorati.com/.
Randy: You can definately have a URI tag scheme that is open. Unfortunately, it won't be a URL, it'll be a URN. Tim?
I just ran across the People Like Me function on feeds.scripting.com. I hadn't ran across this feature since it was first introduced a year ago. Here's the list of people who's OPML list most closely resembles my own.
Randy: The deepest thoughts yet on Winer's centralized subscription service. My question: How are we to agree on the domain name (www.feeder.it), if we can't even agree of the method?
Dan Sandler: USM, the Universal Subscription Mechanism, is a pretty simple idea that aims to patch a hole in the current RSS/Atom subscription scenario. [cut] The alternatives are: (1) the feed:// URI scheme (a bastardization of the URI specification and usage model) and (2) what Dave Winer calls the solution to the Yahoo problem, namely a central web site which manages all your client-side subscription preferences for you (patently absurd.)
Randy: Dan makes a great case for USM. A must read.
Syndication Subscription Service: A general syndication subscription service for RSS content consumers, RSS content producers and their middle agent: An aggregator.
Randy: This seems to be an implementation of Dave's centralized subscription service. Looks pretty good. I can't see people buying into this idea. Also, there's some great stuff on this page related to the URLs used to subscribe with various RSS readers.
Dave Winer: Recently a couple of earnest and probably well-intentioned developers proposed another format called RSS that's incompatible with all others. This is a bad idea. We should be going the other way, trying evolve incompatible formats into a unified format.
Randy: Amen! And why don't a bunch of RSS developers get together and start deprecating versions. RSS 0.90, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94 should be deprecated to start. In fact, I'm unofficially deprecating them, right now! They never happened. We only have five versions now, 0.91, 1.0, 2.0 and Atom 0.3 and Atom 0.4 ;)
Oops, fogot 1.1?
I enhanced the reference implementation of the USM client so that it works with My Yahoo!, My MSN, Bloglines and NewsGator Online. If you want me to add another RSS reader, simply give me the command-line substitution string for that reader. For example, the command-line for the four Web readers mentionned are listed here.
Of course, these need not be URLs. They can be simple command-lines.
To use the USM client, save the target executable (usm.client.exe) to your harddrive by right-clicking on it and selecting Save Target As from the context menu. Run it once, to register it. Then begin subscribing to USM capable blogs, there's over a million of them already.
I'll publish the full code from time to time, so we can all learn and move forward. You can already preview an earlier version of the code.
Scoble's new link blog, scobleizer.com uses the feed: URI scheme for subscription. This is the perfect example of why the feed: URI scheme doesn't work. I copied the URL to my.yahoo.com to subscribe to his blog.
We couldn't find the RSS file you asked for
A kludge is a kludge is a kludge. And users suffer. Scoble you need an "add to My Yahoo!" button to compliment the feed: URI kludge. And this is suppose to be the solution to The Yahoo! problem?
Now, had Scoble used USM instead, then copying and pasting the URL would still work. Why? Because USM doesn't create a new wheel, it reinforces proper use of the HTTP protocol, that's all. No re-inventing the wheel. I find it funny that people persist in re-inventing the wheel. Because we continue to put up with people who choose to re-invent the wheel, we now have RSS 0.9, 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and Atom 0.3, 0.4. Ten formats and growing. Yet, some of us complain about this circle of re-invention, but promote others.
Please invent me a new wheel.
Dare Obasanjo: The value of RSS is fairly self evident to me but it seems that given the amount of people who keep wanting to reinvent the wheel it may not be as clear to others.
dsandler: essentially a call for (1) RSS/Atom MIME types to be adhered to, and (2) the URL of a feed to be in the feed itself somewhere, so that RSS readers may be correctly implemented as browser helper applications (obviating this feed:// URI nonsense).
Randy: Dada-da-dada. I'm loving it!
Scott Gatz: The Return of My Yahoo Ticker - this time with all the new good stuff. Today on Yahoo! Next we've put out a new beta version of My Yahoo! Ticker for Windows. It's pretty simple: just enter your Yahoo! ID and password and it will use all your personalized settings to scroll your headlines from Yahoo! and RSS feeds from around the Web.
peekablog: Take a peek at the Blogosphere!
Randy: Referrer are a great source. This Website creates an image each blog as it would look in a browser with infinite length.
Ken MacLeod: Literally, the XML chiclet. Get rid of it. [cut] Dave's right, it's not a technological problem. All of the necessary technology is already in widespread use â no central server, no 'feed:', no MIME necessary.
Randy: Ken is voting for the Dave Winer solution. Ken, like Dave are talking about magic. Why magic? Cause nobody has ever provided a working sample. USM works today! Dave's solution is a technical problem, because it doesn't work anywhere today. The technology still needs to be invented. USM is not a technical problem, it already works, you just have to use the Web properly; respond with the correct Content-Type.
John Smallberries: I am having a bit of trouble using RSS on Firefox. Whenever I click on one of the little orange RSS boxes, I am taken to a page which states, at the top, "This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below." followed by a code listing that I presume is the document tree mentioned above. Am I supposed to do something with that? I suspect there is a real simple answer to this that will make me look like a dork, but I can cope with that if it results in figuring this out.
Randy: In the words of Dave Walker.
Dave Walker: Bright orange screams âclick meâ, right? What happens if the user clicks it?
Randy: I guess the user gets confused. This is gonna change. The sooner, the better.
Nick Bradbury: But other solutions have been proposed, such as the Universal Subscription Mechanism (USM) authored by Randy Morin. I've spoken with Randy about USM, and he knows that I have a number of issues with the "reflexive auto-discovery" mechanism. However, part of his proposal includes convincing feed producers to provide the correct Content-Type header for their feeds, and I'm 100% in favor of this. Although having the correct Content-Type doesn't entirely solve the problem, it would take us a big step in the right direction.
Danny Ayers: So I'd conclude, for a start, that there's no need to panic. There are strong reasons in favour of what Randy's suggesting. The feed:// approach runs contrary to good practice, though may be ok as a stopgap. If Dave can offer something more tangible than "vote for me" then perhaps it too could be considered more seriously. But I doubt whether the "Yahoo Problem" will be best solved by any single approach.
Randy: Let's all do are things. We'll meet at the finish line.
The following blogs support USM by default.
All the top known "make software work" gurus?
This is a great experiment. I am amazed how many blogs, in the top 100, that are broken. Common found mistakes.
Dave Winer: Randy, USM is a "boil the ocean" app. It's easy to get the vendors to agree to it, I suppose (personally I don't want anything called Atom in my feeds, but that's just a personal preference). But that little app installed on the user's machines, let me know when you've got Microsoft and Apple not to mention all the Linux distros on board, and then wait five years for their installed base to upgrade. I'm only posting this out of courtesy to you, btw, I'm totally not interested in debating supposed technical solutions.
Randy: There's no wait five years for the install base. A USM enabled RSS aggregator works today on many blogs. Microsoft does not need to distribute anything. Tomorrow (a few months). USM will work on most all blogs.
I've been thinking a lot tonight about how USM should work. I know some of you don't like the orange XML icon, but it's never a good thing to fight with a tornado. So, let's start with a little orange icon. If you click on that icon, then USM is launched and you will be asked to subscribe. But is that really enough? The user might not know to click on that stupid chicklet. What if we complimented the chicklet with a little bit of user friendliness. Now, if the user wishes to find out about this little orange icon, he clicks the what is this link and I give him all sorts of instructions on where to go from there. Sound good? I have a placeholder URL that's 404 while we all think further.
Roger Benningfield: With that said, it costs little to add support for USM, so I've done just that.
Randy: Forward. Thanks Roger!
Roger sent me the following email (excerpt only): I went ahead and updated JournURL's default RSS templates to support USM:
And here's a list that should give a hint as to how quickly various aggregators could support USM:
After talking to the various authors about RSS+Atom last year, it was clear that there will be significant resistance from at least a couple of them, while Brent and Nick will just follow the market.
Dave Winer: For once Phil Ringnalda gets it, when the rest of the gear heads are still looking up their own butts for the answer to everything. Never has scratching your own itch been more the wrong thing to do. Aggregator developers wake up before you're a "third party" -- I actually heard an employee of one of the big three refer to you guys that way yesterday. Here we go, can anyone spell RSS Wars? Guess who loses.
Dave Winer: BTW, the bigco's will whisper sweet nothings into the ears of their "third parties" but as they're doing it, you're being guided into the trunk of the car, while they ride up front. The clicking sound you hear is the lock engaging. The whooshing sound is the air supply being cut off.
Randy: Sorry Dave! This time, you're looking for the vendor solution and I'm looking for the vendor neutral solution.
It's a new format, it's not like RSS 1.0. If I wrote an RSS 1.1 feed, then how many RSS aggregators do you think will accept it? Very close to zero. So, we all have to write new code to support your fork of RSS. If it was unifying, then you'd already have support of the RSS advisory board and the RDF working group. Since you did this without their input/knowledge, it's forkifying, not unifying. MHO.
Note that your auto-discovery link on your blog homepage can still point to your original RSS feed, it does not need to point to the FeedBurner burned feed. Unless, of course, you want to take advantage of FeedBurner's other services, in which case, you should also update your auto-discovery link.
Update: You also have to make certain that Browser-Friendly Burner is unchecked.
Googleblog: From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn't a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it's just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.
Randy: Awesome! And check-out the list of supporting software vendors. Sam Ruby has posted instructions on Intertwingly for adding rel="nofollow" to MoinMoin.
Kill SPAM dead!
Update: I added rel="nofollow" to my referrer listings.
Cool! I just discovered that you can enable USM for your feed using FeedBurner. It's the bottom most feature when burning a feed, called Content-Type burner. Enable this option and change Select Content-Type to What the most appropriate type is for the feed. I'm about 5 minutes of free time away from using Feedburner.
Randy: Adam's the first mover. 999 million bloggers, hosting services and clients to go. Adam also sent me a bunch of great ideas to improve the USM client. I'll add new aggregators. If you want your aggregator added to the USM client, then send me an email.
It works! I wrote a Universal Subscription Mechanism client for My Yahoo. It was surprisingly easier and better than I thought. You either need the Atom link construct extension of USM or auto-discovery via the channel/link element. It works with any RSS file that responds with applicaton/rss+xml, application/rdf+xml or application/atom+xml Content-Type. Sorry, my blog uses text/xml. But you can test subscribing to the RSS Blog via this URL. Download the Yahoo! USM (Save Target As...) to Program Files or something like that. Run it once to self register. Click away. Click on those orange chicklets for subscription with My Yahoo! You don't need add to My Yahoo! buttons.
Sean B. Palmer: On behalf of an independent group of RSS 1.0 users, I'm pleased to announce the following specification and toolset for the consideration of RSS-Dev WG members and interested mailing list participants: http://inamidst.com/rss1.1/ - RSS 1.1 Specification.
Randy: Awesome, another RSS format to confuse developers with. Just what we need.
The Internet Stock Blog: Six Apart, the owner of hosted blogging service TypePad and publisher of blogging software Movable Type, just acquired LiveJournal. Within six months Six Apart itself will be acquired by Yahoo!. Here's why.
Randy: Can Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft buy everything?
Steve Rubel: Several bloggers have reported that Winer was testing a new Google linking mechanism that might put an end to blog comment spam by omitting all links from its PageRank calculations that have a rel="nofollow" attribute tag.
Randy: Another attempt to stop blog comment spam. I have to wonder if this one will work. The problem is distribution. If less than half of the blogging software giants (Typepad, LiveJournal, Blogger, Radio) implement it, then blog comment spam will continue.
Dave Sifry: Tags are a simple, yet powerful, social software innovation. Today millions of people are freely and openly assigning metadata to content and conversations. Unlike rigid taxonomy schemes that people dislike, the ease of tagging for personal organization with social incentives leads to a rich and discoverable folksonomy.
Randy: Tags, tags, everywhere.
Randy: Ken also likes the MIME-type solution.
Martin Schwimmer: It was brought to my attention that a website named Bloglines was reproducing the Trademark Blog, surrounding it with its own frame, stripping the page of my contact info. It identifies itself as a news aggregator. It is not authorized to reproduce my content nor to change the appearance of my pages, which it does.
Robert Scoble: Martin Schwimmer sure opened a can of worms.
Randy: We did the same thing 2 years ago at Dude Research and we got a few complaints. Martin Schwimmer is definately correct. The biggest mistake Bloglines is making is the removal of the copyright. All RSS aggregators MUST redisplay the copyright notice. That's why it's there and that's the law. And Bloglines has already been told such months ago.
For more, see the Technorati Cosmos.
Randy: Yikes! Can't wait to learn from the post-mortem. Reliability of scalable systems.
0xDECAFBAD: Phil makes a suggestion that seems ideal to me. Don't link to feeds directly, don't use a funky protocol, link to a "playlist" of feeds.
Randy: Leslie Orchard makes a case for Phil's application/feedlist+xml. Now that I see this a little more thought out, I don't like the need for a new XML. If everybody just returned the correct media type and added one link element to their RSS channel, then we don't need another XML format.
Adam Kalsey: Feed readers need to do the same thing. When I install a desktop reader, the reader should (perhaps optionally) find all the browsers installed on the system and configure them to open files with a content type of application/rss+xml in the reader. The reader then does whatever with it, perhaps showing it to the user and allowing them to subscribe.
Web based readers would need some sort of small install that would redirect that request to them, just as web based mail clients like Gmail need a small program to get mailto: links to open the web mail composition widget.
Of course this would also require that everyone serve RSS as the same content type or for the readers to handle multiple content types. Unfortunately the RSS spec doesnât specify which content type should be used, so people have made up their own, often different, content types.
Randy: Adam Kalsey is another believer in the Universal Subscription Mechanism. Phil, that always thinking guy, makes a case in Adam's comments for application/feedlist+xml. Something to watch and another great idea.
This has nothing to do with icons, although it would be nice for the user to be able to recognize the button. You could put an anchor around the text "Subscribe". That anchor points to your RSS file and has the correct media type. For RSS to cross the chasm, all the i's have to be dotted and t's crossed.
Autodiscovery is definately the way to go. But it's only part of the solution. Returning the correct media type is another part of the solution. I really like your XSL solution. That's definately another part of the solution that I hadn't considered. But, consider that most users will be terrified to find 20-30 subscription mechanisms to choose from. The mundane user would move on and you'd have one less subscriber. On the other hand, if there was exactly one subscription mechanism, then you'd have yourself a lot of subscribers.
Further to my Universal Subscription Mechanism posts earlier, I have created a URL that allows anybody to return the correct media type with the RSS link module extension to tell the client shell extension where to find the subscription URL. Here's my RSS feed, with the appropriate HTTP header and RSS link module element.
Note two relevant changes from my original feed.
You can see how your feed should look for Universal Subscription to work. Simply replace everything after the xml= in the following URL with your own feed URL.
Also, I'm looking for feedback, typos, blatant errors. Thanks!
And here's the code that does the transformation. I'd love to see this in Python and PHP.
System.Xml.XmlDocument doc =new System.Xml.XmlDocument();
I've been blogging a lot about the recent movement to settle on a universal subscription mechanism. Everybody should know that I'm in favor of returning a proper media type. Let me explain a bit why I have settled on this decision and what stands in our way of adopting this universally.
I think it's important to point out that autodiscovery of RSS is a must. Most all of us agree that any blogging system lacking autodisco is incomplete. The question is, "How do you subscribe otherwise?" What should happen when you click on the orange XML icon?
Currently, there seems to be three schools of thought.
The page cannot be displayed
|The page you are looking for might have been removed or had its name changed.|
You might be wondering what happens when you click on a feed (w/ the application/rss+xml media type) on a freshly squeezed XP Home box. Exactly the same thing that happens when you click on a PDF file (where no PDF reader is installed). Exactly what I'd expect to happen. No PDF reader. No RSS reader. Same message. Goooooooooood!
A side note: Just as SixApart got it right, as usual, before anybody else, Blogger got it completely wrong. Their feeds return application/xml. You can try my Blogger atom feed.
There are two problems with the application/rss+xml media type.
We need to address these two issues and quickly.
Nick Bradbury: So I have to point out that the feed:// protocol (aka: feed URI scheme) was created to resolve this problem. Is it a perfect solution? No, it's not (there's no such thing). Past discussions about this idea have devolved into arguments about MIME types, but I maintain that it's the best one we've got because it works right now.
Randy: I have to disagree. It doesn't work right now. Take a look at my right sidebar. It's full of chicklets. Nothing there works right now. Adding feed:// will only confuse the user. He'll click on it and his browser will barf.
Werner Vogels: The increase in the number of feeds will leave many users frustrated, as there is a limit to the number feeds one can scan and read. Current numbers suggest that readers can handle 150-200 feeds without too much stress.
Jeremy Zawodny: RSS Feeds for Search Results: damn! I wanted us to be first...
Randy: I guess we can infer that RSS search at Yahoo! is already in the pipeline.
John Battelle: A birdy with an abiding interest has told me that MSN, through its MyMSN service, will tonight "quietly launch several new features for MyMSN, one of which is the ability to discover, read and search through blog and RSS content." You will also be able to add RSS feeds to your MyMSN page, just like MyYahoo.
Randy: Microsoft is pushing RSS. Ready to ride?
Jeff Sandquist: Robert talks about Technorati and Dare mentions in Robertâs comments that heâs seen a degradation in the Technorati Service. [cut] Lately Bloglines Citations seems to have the best results, next Feedster and finally Technorati. Want to see what I mean? Try the Blog Search Shootout for my weblog..
Randy: Jeff and I agree. Bloglines Citations is winning the RSS live search war.
ReallySimpleSyndication.com: Please only comment here if you support the proposal, if you have a different approach, hold on to it, or better yet, read through the archive of various syndication mail lists to see if it's already been discussed.
Randy: The general consensus is that the solution won't work.
Rick: But, the solution he suggests doesnât really help.
MSN Search Weblog: Weâve been experimenting with RSS Search results on our live servers and weâve been found out by Greg Linden, Gary Price & many others. [cut] here are some step-by-step instructions:
Randy: Finally, a reason to use MSN Search Beta. Lookout Google, for the first time in 5 yrs you've got competition.
The latest draft of the Atom format spec. No significant changes from the last draft.
Fawny Blog: Movable Type and TypePad, like all blogging software, fail to meet the Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines. The difference here is that Six Apart has known about it for years and claims to care, yet has done nothing.
Randy: I think we can point the fingers at pretty much everybody. Six Apart is one of several dozen, maybe hundred major Web companies that have ignored accessibility for too long. Let's all reblog this rant and get a message out.
Paul O'Flaherty: Set up your blog, increase your traffic and find new blogs to read. All in one place, all free.
Dave Winer: Yahoo sends emails to bloggers with RSS feeds saying, hey if you put this icon on your weblog you'll get more subscribers. It's true you will. Then Feedster says the same thing, and Bloglines, etc etc.
Randy: Dave talks about the proliferation of subscription buttons. I think the solution is to get everybody to use the application/rss+xml media type to serve their RSS. Then, we can write browser helpers to process clicks on such hyperlinks. It's the way the Web works.
Dick: Top 20 RSS clients across FeedBurner most highly subscribed 800 feeds as of January 6, 2005.
Randy: Dick compiles a list of the top RSS clients. Note that #1 is a Web-based RSS reader; Bloglines. Since the stats are based on "unique combinations of user-agent and IP addresses within a single 24 hour period", then Web-based RSS readers should be penalized; report low results versus number of actual users. So, how does Bloglines make #1 and by a longshot? Does this mean that Bloglines is a badly misbehaved aggregator? Looks like the start of a great blog. Subscribed.
Brainstorms & Raves: Thereâs no time like the present to begin developing Websites based on W3C Recommendations first and foremost. Once your markup and CSS validate, then test in the most standards-compliant browsers first, such as Opera 7 and Mozilla. Once your pages work well in those browsers, then test in Internet Explorer, and then test with older browsers and assistive technology devices.
Randy: This sounds like IE bashing more than a reasonable solution. The real solution is to validate using the W3C validators and test on major browsers based on your target users' preferred browser. If that's IE, Moz, Opera, Safari or a combination of, then so be it.
Mena: I've seen LiveJournalers worried that we're going to turn around and start charging, close the LiveJournal source, own the content on LiveJournals, force the users to use TypePad/Movable Type and plaster their sites with advertisements. (We're not going to do this). I've seen our licensing changes in May cited as proof that we're capable of doing this. We did make some mistakes when it came to the changes in the licenses. But, I also believe we fixed them in our revised licensing.
Randy: This is great news. Thanks Mena for your reassuring words.
Paul Beard: CNN.com has RSS feeds.
Release 1.0: Attention.xml is an exciting potential standard that could help the Web become more "alive."
Randy: I've been hearing more and more on the Web about attention.xml. I keep hearing that it's going to do all these things, but when I ask what things, I find out that it's simply a re-invention of OPML. Why do people persist in re-inventing the wheel?
Flickr: Several things have conspired to clog the queue for uploading photos and slow it down to a near crawl.
Randy: Gotta love it when you have too many users.
CompleteRSS: With CompleteRSS, search and subscribe to thousands of RSS feeds.
Randy: I gave CompleteRSS a test drive today. The visual appeal of the Website is much better than Feedster. It's very nice to look at, but beyond that first look, there isn't much here at all. I did some searches on some pretty common Blogosphere search phrases; Dave Winer, Feed Validator and many more and got zero hits. Seems they have very few feeds indexed.
Maybe a little bored, I decided to make my own 10 best events in the blogosphere of 2004. By best, I mean good best, not just big news. So, bad news events don't qualify, no matter how horrifying.
Any other suggestions?
Just a bug report for my friends at Feedster. If you put quotes around your search string in the search text input field, the returned page has a backslash in the search text input field instead of the quoted string. Installation is IE6 and Moz1.6 on XPSP2.
Andy had this follow-up to our previous Q&A session.
Andy: Let's say a channel is published in New York and is maintained during the working day. Currently - with no daylight saving - say, 1pm to 10pm GMT. Singapore (with no daylight saving) is always 8 hours ahead of GMT. So the working day might be 12pm GMT to 9am GMT. If the feed has skipHours set for: 0 and 10-23, the Singapore user's Aggregator might never poll it for updates. I guess the answer is to to add some code that polls at least once during skipHours if the Aggregator has not received a response from the feed during the previous polling period. But I guess you can see why I am concerned that there might be insufficient justification to add complexity that might disrupt other parts of the program. Right now I'm still thinking that implementing skipDays and skipHours might cause more problems than it solves given it is rarely used.
Randy: Let me re-iterate that skipDays and skipHours are syndication hints. They are not rules that must be followed, but a well behaved RSS reader will honor them. The concern that skipHours adds complexity is legit. The best RSS reader will figure out a way to respect these hints without causing more problems. The run-of-the-mill RSS reader won't. It's a choice. Do you want to write the best RSS reader or just another run-of-the-mill RSS reader?