On Jon Udell, RSS, and RSSBandit

Jon Udell mentioned that one of the things he wants is for the RSS community to keep its focus on users. Of course, what user are you trying to keep the focus on is always a question, but I'll leave the question of user profiles and personas for a later posting. I was intrigued by something Jon mentioned about the discoverability of an RSS feed -- one of the things that's great about the Web is that, if it has an http:// address, you can point a browser at it and get something (maybe something terrible, but you get something). We need a way to make RSS that simple. RSSBandit has a nice autodiscovery feature that's a first step. Clearly we need more, but if all RSS readers did at least that...

Comments (3)
  1. Jon Udell says:

    Hi John,

    Various folks have experimented with the notion of associating CSS with RSS, so that you click on the RSS icon you land in a page with friendly instructions advising you how to subscribe.

    An example: Ned Batchelder’s feed:


    Some advocate this approach. Others argue that it will only confuse folks who, if they can read the RSS feed directly in the browser, will miss the point of the thing, which is to subscribe.

    I’m undecided.

    What do you think?

    – Jon

  2. I could see a hybrid approach working — take the RSS content and HTML-ize it and also add an explanation on the page about how to download a reader and subscribe.

    Or, if you want to be really clever, embed a Windows Forms-based RSS reader that can download transparently. 🙂

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