Vegard Skjefstad

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RSS. Why you should hate it and love it

This post is fairly technical and probably not of interest to anyone.

Rick Site Summary a.k.a. RDF Site Summary a.k.a. Really Simply Syndication a.k.a. RSS is something that you might not have heard of, unless you’re into blogging, read a lot of news or are just somewhat computer savvy. In short it’s an XML format used to distribute text on the Internet. This is also known as syndication. RSS syndication is used extensively by the blogging community and is supported by all the major tools used, such as Blogger, Movabletype, Radio Userland and TypePad. Online newspapers are also starting to start RSS syndication as a service to their readers.

What can you do with an RSS file? You can download it with an RSS application of your choice. There is a vast number of readers available. The reader will download the RSS file at regular intervals and notify you if it has changed. And this is good because you don’t have to actually surf the net to get the latest news and blog gossip. Some RSS feeds will only contain the headlines, maybe a short summary and links to the actual articles and entries, meaning that you have to surf to the site to read the full article or entry, while some feeds will give you everything.

RSS is bad because it only gives you the content. It leaves out other important elements of a site, like design. This, of course, doesn’t apply to newspapers, which are usually crammed with commercials, meaning that design is a completely lost word when it comes to online newspapers. My guess is that newspapers will stop feeding RSS when they realize that people are actually using it, and not loading the actual sites thus viewing advertisements as often as they used to. The problem is RSS from blogs and other, where the RSS users miss the design and the general feel of the site, which I feel is important.

While I wrote this I realized that I should have an RSS feed for the casual readers, who might never re-visit the site again, but might add the RSS feed to their reader anyway.

Crap, this turned out really messy and uninteresting, still I ended up posting it.

Happy 18th of December! Yay!

The good thing about this entry was that it pushed Rhonda into the archives.

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