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Comments for Handling RSS in the browser

Excerpt: People often forget that many of the problems faced by RSS and Atom are not new. They’ve already been solved, so instead of reinventing the wheel we should use the existing standards. How a browser handles an RSS feed is the latest example of this. Read the whole article…

Phil Ringnalda
January 12, 2005 2:34 PM

But of course a/r+x is unregisterable, since it refers to seven or eleven different formats, and now that a/rdf+xml is actually registered there are people who insist on using it for their RSS 1.0, and having an XML-based feed reader register as the handler for all RDF probably isn't a great longterm thing, and last time I saw the results of someone checking mime types that are actually used, more than half were text/plain or text/html, and why did I wander into this quagmire again?

Adam Kalsey
January 12, 2005 2:42 PM

Still, this is the right way to solve it. Even though we've started to paint ourselves into a corner, there's no reason we can't fix it. If browsers and feed readers were to actually handle the feeds by their content-type then server owners would comply. You'd have a few that would insist on being eccentric and offer their feeds as text/my-nifty-rss-feed, but for the most part people would come around. Every day some newbie webmaster asks a message board why their Flash content isn't working right, discovers it's a content type problem and runs off to fix it. The same would happen with RSS and Atom formats.

Mike Rowehl
January 12, 2005 2:52 PM

Hey Adam, I agree that a URI scheme to handle it is long term the right way to do it. But I think that having web based aggregators provide a small shim to handle the different browsers is probably a decent ways off. I was in favor of a much simpler redirect system than Dave: That works as a good stopgap until we can get there (or if we have trouble getting there).

Phil Ringnalda
January 12, 2005 3:46 PM

So long out of the quagmire I'd forgotten just how it sucks (you down): assuming Atom is going to require a link rel="start" (I'm afraid I stopped paying attention), it's set, but for RSS you also need to promote the one true namespaced extension element that points to the feed URL, since RSS 2.0 is frozen and RSS 1.0 is moribund (and anything earlier is out in the cold, since they can't be extended). Then, this is the point in the cycle where I remember that the real lesson of the past to learn from is from MP3 playlists, where a link needs to pass one or more URLs to a helper app, and that what we really need is to not to link to our feeds, but to a file that links to them. That indirection also has the added benefit of keeping random spiders (like Google) that don't actually understand them from ever seeing them: if you don't know how to parse application/feedlist+xml, you'll never see the URLs for the feeds themselves.

Trackback from Nick Bradbury
January 12, 2005 7:09 PM

Really Simple Subscription

Excerpt: Dave Winer proposes a solution to the problems caused by the lack of a standardized method for feed subscription. While I would love to see these problems resolved, with all due respect to Dave, I can't say I'm wild about

Trackback from 0xDECAFBAD Blog
January 13, 2005 9:21 AM

Feed "Playlists" versus feed:// URLs

Excerpt: Then, this is the point in the cycle where I remember that the real lesson of the past to learn from is from MP3 playlists, where a link needs to pass one or more URLs to a helper app, and...

January 13, 2005 9:25 AM

Not that I *really* want to get sucked into this sort of thing again, but I liked Phil's comment about MP3 playlist URLs:

Michael Baumgarten
January 13, 2005 9:51 AM

I believe that newsreaders and browsers are going to take quite some time before they seemlessly integrate between the browser feed and the news reader. Although I think the solutions that are being presented are within the realm of reason, I think publishers need to face the fact that RSS is not user friendly to the masses. Mostly because the browser isn't as smart as we would like it to be. One of the problems with the mainstream adopting RSS is that you have to give them something they can relate to. I think RSS does have its place in the WWW I just don't believe its consumable yet. One alternative that I believe can bridge the gap for publishers is to use a web service like Website Mailer ( ). The publisher just has a subscribe link like all the other RSS/Atom links, except this time... It points the user to a form that just needs their e-mail. The user then receives the publisher's website in their e-mail inbox. This would at least dumb it down until the public becomes more accustomed to the technology. A nice added accidental feature with this service is that the publisher's ads show up along with the content.

Roger Benningfield
January 13, 2005 10:38 AM

" but for RSS you also need to promote the one true namespaced extension element that points to the feed URL" Phil: We already have at least four or five notable aggregators that can handle RSS+Atom. If we can successfully lobby the hold-outs (Dare and Graham were the most opposed, as I recall) to change their tune, that particular problem solves itself.

Trackback from Jäger
January 13, 2005 2:42 PM

The Yahoo Problem (II)

Excerpt: Leslie "0xDECAFBAD" Orchard writes: But, in the comment above, Phil [ringnalda] 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. URLs linking to MP3...

Trackback from 0xDECAFBAD Blog
January 13, 2005 3:38 PM

Feed "Playlists" versus feed:// URLs

Excerpt: Feed playlists. Name it something like `feeds.fss`, and register applications to handle that extension. Give it a MIME-type, and handle that too. Sounds just like M3U and PLS files, to me. Someone tell me why this is a dumb idea.

Trackback from Surfarama
January 13, 2005 5:03 PM

Handling RSS in the browser :: Adam Kalsey

Excerpt: Lots of discussion going on at the moment about the problem with surfacing RSS feeds to unsuspecting readers, ie. for the vast majority of punters raw XML is complete gibberish. This is the problem which FeedForm tries to address (see my feed), alth...

Trackback from Cox Crow
January 14, 2005 1:16 PM

Syndicated Subscription Crapola

Excerpt: I'm going to put my 2 cent foot in my mouth, and state that there is no need for a publisher's clearing house to manage my many subscriptions. This problem is one easily solved by the Spontaneous Integration. A thing exposes a URI. A thing append...

Trackback from The RSS Blog
January 15, 2005 7:31 AM

Handling RSS in the browser

Excerpt: 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.

January 17, 2005 3:22 PM

Just as browsers are able to route to a local client app, wouldn't it be easy for them to route to a URL?

Randy Charles Morin
January 18, 2005 1:32 PM

I just finished a new draft of the Universal Subscription Mechanism.

Trackback from The RSS Blog
January 19, 2005 9:57 PM

Universal Subscription Mechanism

Excerpt: Thanks go to Adam Kalsey who did most of the pushing for this solution in his article Handling RSS in the browser

Randy Charles Morin
January 19, 2005 11:46 PM

Peter, The problem is which URL? Can we all agree on one URL? Like we agree on one version of RSS? Not gonna happen.

July 4, 2005 6:55 AM

In Opera 8.01, the RSS shows up as usual, not the way you describe.

Dio Nysios
January 9, 2006 10:30 AM

I linked my Yahoo 360 page to an RSS source, which I now find annoying. I would like to get rid of it, to stop its "feeding" into my page, but I cannot find how to delete the darn thing. I asked Yahoo, but it is no help at all; their answers to my repeated question are all off the mark. Can you help? Thanks, Dio

denis titov
January 24, 2006 9:58 PM

Take a look at my tool Build-in RSS Client, Internet Explorer toolbar for handling with RSS feeds

This discussion has been closed.

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