RSS, OPML and the XML platform.
The RSS Blog
Tue, 31 Oct 2006 23:35:42 GMT
Wired Acquires Reddit

Richard MacManus: Condé Nast, owner of Wired and other magazines/websites, has acquired Boston-based Reddit.

Tue, 31 Oct 2006 23:30:30 GMT
An Introduction to OPML in OPML

Dan of DanToday has an Introduction to OPML in OPML.

Tue, 31 Oct 2006 23:24:02 GMT
Dawn of the Living Costolos

It turns out that Dick Costolo stacked the FeedBurner board of directors with himself and six of his clones :-)

Tue, 31 Oct 2006 19:35:20 GMT
All your feeds are belong to us

Jared Breland has discovered that Firefox 2.0 is sending your feed hits to Google. I'm filing this under privacy violation.

Tue, 31 Oct 2006 18:22:40 GMT
Overloading RSS

David Kirk doesn't like all the overloading that is going on in RSS content. I have to agree, embedding FeedFlares, related posts, copyright notices, etc are a job for RSS clients, not something that should exist in the post content. On the other hand, I have to disagree on ads, because big media isn't gonna give us full-content RSS without embedded ads. It's a compromise I'm willing to make. What do you think?

Tue, 31 Oct 2006 16:33:06 GMT
Google has acquired JotSpot

Ross Mayfield: My most sincere congratulations to Joe, Graham and the Jotspot team with their acquisition by Google

Randy: Google is now the king of Wikis too!


Mon, 30 Oct 2006 19:10:20 GMT

Scott Hanselman discovered that Outlook is using proprietray feed URI schemes under-the-hood; OUTLOOKFEED: and OUTLOOKFEEDS:. As if the feed: URI scheme wasn't already dumb enough, now Microsoft is going and breaking the architecture of the Web again. Let's just hope that this is an internal thing that'll never find its way onto the WWW.

Thanks to Marjolein Hoekstra for the link [play tag with me].

Mon, 30 Oct 2006 18:45:44 GMT
20 Voted with Technorati

I just noticed that 20 people have included The RSS Blog in their favorites over on Technorati. Thanks to all! David Sifry, it would be cool to mine this information (add OPML and OPML auto-discovery to all these great webpages). I gotta update my own favorites and share some blogosphere love.

Mon, 30 Oct 2006 18:30:42 GMT
OPML Reader

Sergio Longoni has created a Firefox plug-in that enables OPML autodiscovery in Firefox.

Thanks to Marjolein Hoekstra for the link [play tag with me].

Mon, 30 Oct 2006 18:26:59 GMT

And now there's homework-casting. The author recommends iTunes as a podcatcher, but there's some holes in the process. He mentions that NetNewswire would work, but is not free. Rmail is free, no install, easy to use and I'd be prepared to fix any holes in the model.

Thanks to Marjolein Hoekstra for the link [play tag with me].

Fri, 27 Oct 2006 16:53:45 GMT
Pluck RSS Reader Shut Down Notice

All versions of Pluck's RSS readers for Internet Explorer, FireFox and Pluck's web edition will be discontinued on 1/5/2007.  [cut] You have until 1/5/2007 to export your data, after which our servers will be turned off and your data will be deleted.

Randy: Pluck was one of the first great RSS readers. It competed for awhile with NewsGator but the entire product-line became very buggy over time. The end of an era. RIP! You can export your Pluck data to OPML and import it to Rmail or any other RSS reader.

Fri, 27 Oct 2006 14:28:31 GMT
Note to Harvard
This is a note to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. Either get proper Web hosting for the RSS spec or hand it over to the RSS Advisory Board. Response times in the dozens of seconds is not acceptable. If you are not prepared to allocate sufficient resources to RSS, then get out of the way.
Thu, 26 Oct 2006 18:46:30 GMT
New Real Estate Listing Namespace for RSS 2.0
The real estate search engine Propsmart, created by the same team that developed BookCrossing, has launched an RSS 2.0 namespace for representing real estate properties in a feed. Propsmart allows data feed partners to provide bulk...
Posted with R|mail.
Thu, 26 Oct 2006 18:26:37 GMT
Understanding Auto Discovery

With the release of Firefox 2.0 and IE 7.0, the importance of auto-discovery is moving from the realm of the uber-geeks to that of the mundane Web surfer. Without auto-discovery, IE 7.0 is gonna have a hard time finding your RSS feed to make it easy for users to subscribe to your feed. And you don't want that. You want to be the next Om Malik. That means, you have to do auto-discovery and you have to do it right. Let's start with the basics.

What is auto-discovery?

Auto-discovery is a technique that allows software to find your RSS feed from your blogsite address. Presented below is a fragment of the HTML you'll see behind The RSS Blog. You can check this out by using the View | Source menu option in Internet Explorer (if you use Firefox, then you likely already know this crap).

      <title>The RSS Blog</title>
      <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS"

The element that allows for auto-discovery is the <link> element in the <head> section of the html source code of your website. This element should be present on the blogsite homepage, your blog entry webpages and any other webpages where you think a user might want to initiate a subscription to your RSS feed. You might be tempted to put the RSS feed of your blog comment feed or individual blog entry comment feeds. Trust me, this is a mistake. Your typical user is not gonna know the difference, in fact, I suspect I'm already confusing my own readers mentioning this crazy idea. Stick with your blog RSS feed. And while we're here, stick with one RSS feed. Don't provide both an RSS 2.0 and RSS 1.0 or Atom feed. One feed. Again, you'll only confuse the average subscriber.

Make certain the rel, type and title attributes are exactly as shown, including capitalizations. Change the value of the href attribute to indicate your preferred RSS 2.0 feed. Last, make certain the <link> element is inside the <head> element, that is, after <head> and before </head>.


Let me add that auto-discovery isn't limited to RSS feeds. You can also add an auto-discovery link to your blogroll or reading list. This is done in the same manner except that you change the media type in the link element. Don't worry about including both an RSS auto-discovery link and OPML in the same webpage, as I'm unaware of any problems that could arise. A sample OPML auto-disco link is shown below (which I stole from here).

<link rel="subscriptions" type="text/x-opml" title="Subscriptions" href="">

I'm mentioning OPML auto-discovery only because I've noticed a bit of confusion in the blogosphere on how this should be done. In particular, note the type is "text/x-opml", not "text/xml+opml". The latter is invalid and doesn't make much sense at all.

To the uber-geeks reading this, please proof-read this for me. I want this to be ultra-accurate.

Update: Thanks to Marjolein Hoekstra for some great edits. Updates made in place.

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 17:49:38 GMT
FeedBurner Limited Edition T-shirt

I'm getting the I <3 FeedBurner version. Thanks FeedBurner dudes and dudettes! It's all about the BlingBling.

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 17:29:15 GMT
Vox goes live!

According to Download Squad, Vox is live and open to the public. I wasn't impressed with what I saw in the preview. Looks like just another blogger, social network platform. I would've rather seen the features rolled into LiveJournal or Typepad.

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 16:39:51 GMT
Real Estate Namespace for RSS 2.0

Rogers Cadenhead points us to a Real Estate namespace for RSS 2.0. About a year ago, I was looking for a real estate XML to work with on one project. I wrote down a couple requirements and was unable to find anything that met these very trivial requirements. This real estate namespace doesn't meet those simple requirements either. For instance, when I was looking for a house 2 years ago, I wanted to filter out all properties that had swimming pools. I couldn't do that and this namespace doesn't allow for that either. The problem is that the authors of this XML tried to create an extension for RSS 2.0 and not a real estate vocabulary for XML. This is a recipe for incompleteness. A better approach is to take an existing real estate XML and describe how to use it with RSS 2.0.

There is a Real Estate Transaction XML called RETS. A year ago, I considered basing my project on that XML, but it was complex to the point where it was unusable. There seems to be a large gap between incomplete and usable that begs to be filled.

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 15:33:17 GMT
RSS in Firefox 2.0 and IE 7.0

With the release of Firefox 2.0 and IE7, the world of RSS is changing. Stuff like USM are no longer relevant because both Web browsers will intercept those navigations to keep the user inside the browser. Previously, you could use techniques like USM to pass a click on an RSS feed to your native RSS client to kick-off a subscription request. Now, these browsers understand RSS and auto-discovery and they want to capitalize on RSS by keeping the eye-balls fixed in the Web browser.

Of course, Firefox and IE are absolutely horrid RSS readers, which don't compare to best of bread. This is leading to negative feedback, like Tim Anderson's "RSS in IE7: not too good."  And here's another comment left by Bull, a reader of the RSS Blog.

What a pity that IE7 and FF2.0 developers do not explain how to make RSS readers compatible with one click subscriptions. I am still looking for any documentation on this topic...

And Tim and Bull are correct, in bringing RSS to the masses, the user experience has been compromised. In the next few days, I'd like to document what you should be doing as an RSS publisher and RSS developer in order to maximize your audience in this new Web.

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 14:08:17 GMT
evhead buys Odeo

Evan Williams, the famous startup junky that started, repurchased his latest startup from the VCs that financed it. Evan gives us details on why he did this?

More links...

Wed, 25 Oct 2006 17:40:16 GMT
One click RSS feed subscription
NewsNiche: With the release of Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7 has come one click subscriptions from your chosen web browser. [cut] For the RSS icon to appear in your web visitors address bar you need to add some HTML into the header of each webpage where you want your visitors to be able to subscribe.

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="a descriptive name for your feed" href="" >

Wed, 25 Oct 2006 16:37:27 GMT
Monetize my Full Content RSS?

This weekend, Jason Calacanis discovered that NewsGator was putting ads along side their full content RSS feeds in NewsGator online. He says his full content feeds are for "non-commercial use ONLY" and that they "DO NOT ALLOW ADVERTISING AGAINST OUR *FULL* RSS FEEDS." Greg Reinacker, founder of NewsGator, in pure blogospheric form responded by bending over and greasing up. Jason followed up.


I've got a couple points to add. FeedDemon is commercial software and uses Jason's feeds. Ads are one form of commercialization of software. Selling a product is another. There's a lot of software that seems to be violating Jason's guidelines. Why isn't he complaining about them? Actually, he is.

He was upset that I was sending full-content Weblogsinc blog posts in Rmail and told me as much. I asked him for an OPML of Weblogsinc blog posts so that I could correct the problem. He followed up that what I was doing was not a problem. I wonder, had Greg not responded with BOGU, would Jason have backed off?

Wed, 25 Oct 2006 16:25:33 GMT
RSS Tutorials for Law Librarians
David Rothman: Three flash-based tutorials with audio on RSS.

Part 1: Introduction (approx. 6 min.)
Part 1 introduces RSS as a concept. This tutorial discusses why RSS is important, and looks at an RSS feed.

Part 2: Using an aggregator (approx. 13 min.)
Part 2 deals with how to set up an RSS aggregator and subscribe to RSS feeds.

Part 3: Advanced RSS (approx. 15 min.)
Part 3 goes over specific tools that law librarians can use to set up RSS feeds which might benefit their libraries.

Tue, 24 Oct 2006 13:53:43 GMT
Interview with FeedBurner

Michael Zhang of Folksonomy interviewed Dick Costolo, CEO of FeedBurner.

Mon, 23 Oct 2006 22:25:16 GMT
Firefox 2.0

Fred Langa: Mozilla Corporation secretly posted its Firefox 2.0 browser today--- an official announcement and publicly available links are not expected until tomorrow. Go here to learn what's new in version 2.0. Go here to download.

Download Firefox 2.0

Thu, 19 Oct 2006 12:26:48 GMT
Get IE7

Nathan Weinberg: Windows Internet Explorer 7 has gone gold, released in its final public version today by Microsoft.

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 23:38:44 GMT
Dick Costolo on MarketWatch

I bookmarked this more than a month ago and it didn't work at the time, so I left it at that. It's now functional. An interview with Dick Costolo of FeedBurner by Bambi Francisco of MarketWatch. Great job of selling RSS Dick. Thanks!


Wed, 18 Oct 2006 16:44:12 GMT
RSS for Skype

Luobotou RSS Robot is a Skype agent that acts as an RSS reader. Simply add luobotou as a content and start sending him commants.

More details at FactoryCity.

Thanks to Scott Kingery for the play tag with me link.

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 03:09:07 GMT
Call My Web Service

Carolyn Schuk: IOTUM's Relevance Engine manages [cut] looks at your calendar, your IM status, and the caller. Iotum routes calls automatically to your cell phone when you're out of the office and notes calling trends. IOTUM comes with an open XML interface and built in integration with the popular open source PBX, Asterisk.

Randy: I'd really like to know what these open XML interfaces are? Can I write an Google Calendar to IOTUM gateway that pulls my calendar information into IOTUM and redirects my calls based on various Google schedules? Alec?

Mon, 16 Oct 2006 15:14:27 GMT
OPML Auto-Discovery

Marjolein Hoekstra has written a bookmarklet that uses OPML autodiscovery to launch Grazr.

Thanks to David Rothman for the link [play tag with me]. Digg this story!

Sat, 14 Oct 2006 02:27:55 GMT
New Look Feedster

Feedster has a new look. Unfortunately, their RSS doesn't validate. That's a bad sign for a company whose business model is RSS. I think Feedster just died. Nice prediction Jeremy.

Update: It appears Feedster has fixed their validation problems.

Fri, 13 Oct 2006 17:50:05 GMT
Ten Things Steve Olechowski got Wrong

Steve Olechowski, founder of FeedBurner: here were some of the things i was wrong about in the creation of our business over the last 3 years.

Fri, 13 Oct 2006 03:18:19 GMT
7 Tips for Naming your Web 2.0 Startup

The Folksonomy blog has a list of 7 tips for naming your Web 2.0 startup.

  1. Keep Length at a Minimum (+1 for R-mail)
  2. Be Generic or Be Original (+2 for R-mail)
  3. Encourage Word of Mouth (+1 for R-mail)
  4. Capture the .com (-1 for R-mail)
  5. Avoid Having Hyphens (-2 for R-mail)
  6. Avoid Domain Hacks (+1 for R-mail)
  7. Keep it Meaningful (+1 for R-mail)

Thu, 12 Oct 2006 21:42:00 GMT
Geo-Coding RSS

Clinton Gallagher asked what are the common and widely supported geocoding RSS extensions. I've rarely seen any geocoding used in RSS, but am aware of one extension called GeoRSS, based on an W3C RDF standard. There's also a similarly named GeoRSS.

More on GeoRSS...

Wed, 11 Oct 2006 14:58:01 GMT
Six Steps to Starting a Corporate Blog

Anil Dash wrote 6 step to starting a corporate blog. A good read for any company stuck behind the blogging curve.

  1. Test the waters
  2. Understand the ways blogs can be used in your organization
  3. Identify a small, well-defined area where you'll start
  4. Set goals for the trial and educate stakeholders
  5. Create a draft blogging policy
  6. Set up a single point of contact for questions
Wed, 11 Oct 2006 01:15:41 GMT
2007 Make It or Break It Year for RSS

Richard MacManus says that RSS integration into IE7, Yahoo! Mail, Google Reader and RSS driven MySpace widgets will bring RSS to the masses in 2007.

Tue, 10 Oct 2006 22:21:56 GMT
50+ RSS Ideas for Educators

Quentin D’Souza wrote 32 pages about RSS ideas for educators for the Leading Learning 2006 and ECOO Conferences. [PDF]

Tue, 10 Oct 2006 20:59:09 GMT
Top Web 2.0 Acquisitions

Tristan Louis has a list of the top Web 2.0 acquisitions.

Acquired Acquirer Estimated Price
Skype Ebay $2,600,000,000
YouTube Google $1,650,000,000
MySpace News Corp $580,000,000
Webshots Cnet Networks $71,000,000
Grouper Sony $65,000,000
Flickr Yahoo $30,000,000 Yahoo $30,000,000
Bloglines IAC (AskJeeves) $25,000,000
Weblogs Inc. AOL $25,000,000 Verisign $23,000,000
Blogger Google $20,000,000
Oddpost Yahoo $20,000,000
LiveJournal SixApart $20,000,000
Jumpcut Yahoo $15,000,000
Rojo SixApart $10,000,000
Picasa Google $5,000,000
MeasureMap Google $5,000,000
Writely Google $2,000,000
Dodgeball Google $1,000,000 Yahoo $1,000,000
WebJay Yahoo $1,000,000

Tue, 10 Oct 2006 20:44:50 GMT
RSS Spec Draft 1.12 Published

Rogers Cadenhead just published a new working draft of the RSS spec.

Tue, 10 Oct 2006 16:31:20 GMT

newsniche: Text Link ads [cut] have introduced Feedvertising, a way for you to place ads in your RSS feed.

Mon, 09 Oct 2006 20:57:38 GMT
Medical RSS Directories

David Rothman examined 4 existing medical RSS directories.

Mon, 09 Oct 2006 20:29:18 GMT
Google Buys YouTube

Just in, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. This is big. This will give Google most all of the video upload business on MySpace and other websites.

Mon, 09 Oct 2006 15:03:28 GMT
Preparing your feeds for IE7

Niall Kennedy: The Windows RSS Platform ships as part of IE7 and will likely become the most popular desktop aggregator by the end of the year. Are you ready for the switchover?

Thanks Marjolein Hoekstra [play tag with me]

Mon, 09 Oct 2006 14:45:33 GMT
Truncated RSS feeds are like foreplay without sex

Paul O'Flaherty: Truncated feeds are a bad idea.

Randy: I agree, but let me add caveats. Truncated feeds for a blog are a bad idea. Lot's of applications of RSS are best presented as truncated content feeds. For instance, search engine results and re-syndicated content.

Thanks Marjolein Hoekstra [play tag with me]

Sat, 07 Oct 2006 19:13:38 GMT
Basil RSS Reader

About: Basil is an easy to use syndicated news reader for Yahoo! Messenger.

Fri, 06 Oct 2006 16:31:16 GMT
Edgeio Sucks
As one of the first users of Edgeio, I ran into major troubles trying to do anything. The Edgeio team sent me a personal email apologizing for all the confirmed bug reports and said they would send me a free gift for my troubles. Five months later, a few email exchanges, the free gift is no-where to be found and the website still has many of the same bugs.
Thu, 05 Oct 2006 14:36:11 GMT
Revising the RSS 2.0 Specification

Rogers Cadenhead: I propose that the RSS Advisory Board adopt the following document as version 2.0.9 of the RSS 2.0 specification:

Randy: This an entirely new spec, not a slight modication to the existing spec. All new language.

Wed, 04 Oct 2006 20:41:54 GMT

About: Isn't RSS about convenience? Wouldn't you prefer to see entire texts in your feeds, rather than just summaries? Support the cause, sign the petition [cut].

Thanks to Sterling for the link [play tag with me].

Wed, 04 Oct 2006 03:37:41 GMT
Holderness and Querna Join RSS Advisory Board

Rogers Cadenhead: James Holderness and Paul Querna have joined the RSS Advisory Board.

Tue, 03 Oct 2006 15:23:31 GMT
Bidirectional content in RSS

This week, the issue of bidirectional content has been raised on both the Atom and RSS mailing lists. With no practical experience, I think the Unicode Bidirection Algorithm is sufficient and should be documented in the RSS profile.

Mon, 02 Oct 2006 15:23:55 GMT
Host Overflow Application eXception

It was only a matter of time before they found a buffer overflow problem in RSS.

Mon, 02 Oct 2006 14:07:27 GMT
FeedBurner FeedStats

I'm often asked why there is wide fluctuations in FeedBurner feed stats, as shown in my and other FeedBurner chicklets. This fluctuation can be as big as 10-20% of your total subscribers. The fluctuation is caused by the way that FeedBurner counts subscribers. For most native RSS readers, FeedBurner counts every unique IP/User-Agent as a subscriber. Since people turn off their work computers on the weekend, there's usually a big dip in subscribers on Saturday. As people return to work and startup their native RSS readers, the subscriber count increases all week. Here's my FeedBurner stats graph for the last month, which confirms the trend.


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