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Comment and Question on RSS

I am pretty late on the RSS bandwagon - just started using it 10 weeks or os ago.

Maybe I am missing something, but I do not see RSS as a big deal. It just happens to be a bunch of text that are marked-up - i.e. the text have descriptions.

It is not difficult creating an RSS reader - all you have to do is search for the recognized text descriptors and parse the text.

The toughest thing in RSS -seems to be getting everyone on the same standard i.e. <name> is name etc.

An annoying thing about my having RSS feeds is that new articles do not stand out.

Maybe there can be a <Posted Since> tag for RSS - so in a RSS reader, the date the article will appear will be clearly marked.

Ram Dass
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I don't understand what you mean by <Posted Since>. How is that different from <dc:date>? Are you perhaps emitting a relatively old version of RSS? You should do one or both of RSS 1.0 (RDF-based) or RSS 2.0 (based off of RSS 0.9x).

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

<Posted Since> may not be a good name for this.

My thought, and it can be completely useless, is to create a rich RSS Reader which can alert the user of a new article that has not been read.

i.e. many users have various RSS feeds in their reader - it can be difficult following content from multiple feeds.

So the above or another tag can trigger an alert mechanism in the RSS reader.

Ram Dass
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My homegrown RSS reader is different from the email-like interface you might be more familiar with.  My homepage lists all items that I had not read since the last "fetch", along with a link to fetch again.  I never have to read down the list of items to see if any have already been read.  The reader keeps track of the [link] element for each item.  When I fetch, I don't bother to show items if the [link] is already in the list of old items.  No need for a new tag in the RSS specs.

Patrick Lioi
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

there are already RSS readers which do this.
one thing you can do is use the rdf:about attribute or the guid node to identify items, then mark if the user has read them or not. Then date is irrelevant.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Agreed, this is already well handled. If your aggregator doesn't handle it, then get one that does. :-D

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"Maybe I am missing something, but I do not see RSS as a big deal. It just happens to be a bunch of text that are marked-up - i.e. the text have descriptions"

It's not what it is, it's what being done with it. Something as widely distributed as RSS needs to be about as simple as possible. Do you want an RSS spec that 90% of the people are going to mangle? Would you rather an encrypted binary that can only be parsed by super computers?

Sorry... still mildly annoyed at a similar comment someone posted on my site:
Thursday, September 11, 2003

If you filter by link/guid/rdf:about you are going to miss updates.The problem is that a lot of RSS producers significantly alter the content (<description>) of an item after it has been published. Dave Winer is one of the main offenders.

In order to catch updates, it might make more sense to compare the <description> part of an item and use that as filter criteria.


Janek Schwarz
Thursday, September 11, 2003

this is as naive as it gets... its like saying html is not a big deal, after all it justs links files.... DUH!!!!

Prakash S
Thursday, September 11, 2003

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