The RSS Blog

News and commentary from the RSS and OPML community.

Marc Hedlund: Bloglines today announced a set of new web services APIs, allowing developers to write applications for reading RSS and Atom feeds by drawing data directly from the Bloglines databases. [cut] By drawing feeds from the Bloglines database, developers are presented with a single format--Bloglines normalizes all of the feeds it collects before distributing feed content.

Randy: By normalizing the feed, the API becomes simple to implement, but will lack the flexibility and power required by a high end aggregator. This will be great for beginners wanting to write an RSS reader w/out worry about bandwidth hogging.

More Notes

  • A further investigation of this API reveals that it re-invents what RFC 3229 already does. It's not enough that we have 4 versions of Atom and 7 versions of RSS, now we have multiple ways of filtering the items returned on an HTTP GET. Bloglines invents us another wheel.
  • I also noticed that a friend of mine deleted a few posts from his RSS feed, but they continue to show up in the Bloglines RSS. In fact, up to 200 older items, no longer in the actual feed are returned until you mark them read in Bloglines. The RSS publisher loses complete control of his feed.
  • On another feed, it removed the encoding in a URL causing the Bloglines feed to be invalid XML, even though the source feed is valid. Bloglines increases the chance that the feed is invalid.
  • It also replaces some RSS elements, like webMaster, w/ Bloglines own content and completely removes my RSS image and my copyright. This service is completely illegal.

I really hope nobody uses this API until Bloglines re-thinks this implementation. Although it may seem to reduce bandwidth between the RSS reader and the RSS publisher, the side effect make this a very undesirable implementation.

Last, I picked up this article by Marc Hedlund, primarily because the article links to an entry on my blog.

Reader Comments Subscribe
Thanks for your comments. A couple of responses:

The issue with the publisher losing complete control of his feed is not one limited to Bloglines in particular, or even web aggregators in general. As many people have found, once you publish something on the web (be it a web page, image, or RSS feed), it's out there, most likely forever.

That said, we're looking at ways to give publishers more control over their feeds, at least within Bloglines.

As for the missing image/copyright tags, that's a bug and will be fixed soon. As we mention on the services section of the web site, the Bloglines Web Services are in beta. Thanks for the pointer.

Mark Fletcher
Great 2 c u r listening to us pions.


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