August 6, 2003

Atom 0.2 Support

I am a content syndication junkie. I subscribe to over 100 feeds from various weblogs, tech websites, news sources, and so on. I’ve written scripts which publish six feeds of content from this site as well as five feeds for other sites. Every hour more new entries arrive in my aggregator. Since I choose the sources, the entries are generally on topics of interest to me. At this very moment there are 17 unread entries. I know this, because NetNewsWire knows this.

Innovation in content syndication formats is something of a war in certain circles of bloggers. One format (RSS 2.0) has won widespread acclaim for its ease of implementation and adaptability to many forms of content. A newer format (currently called Atom) is being developed which promises comparable ease, similar adaptability, but also greater flexibility and a more robust specification in order to handle additional formats and languages.

We’re continuing to support the old while adding on support for the new. All the feeds can be found on our Feeds page which is updated regularly with the latest improvements for both formats.

Update: Kottke writes about updating his feeds, the syndication war, and the value of human-readable XML formats. Anil then takes him to task for implying that human-readability and meme generation are the hallmarks of a superior format.

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Nick Runco

i like no feeds. none. i think i subscribe to zeldman’s previous mentality, which is that presentation is such a key component to the content. meaning can be derived in the context in which it sits. this doesn’t necessarily apply to things like job listings, but blogs i think it does.

kottke never bothered me so much because (and through no fault of his own) he became so sickeningly ubiquitous. and from what i have seen of anil dash, well, i’m not impressed. especially in his repsonse to kottke. i thought kottke was making a simple point about making the code a little more readable and anil the mega-bitch decided to take it to a new level.

i never liked this guy before, and i really don’t like him now. i think he is so wrapped up into advocating a type of technology and use that he forgot that other ideas and perceptions are ok, too. how can you possibly suggest that making something more readable is a negative thing? he is just being silly.

and the comment about “contradicting [ones]self” is just plain bitchy.

Walt Dickinson

I usually read the feed on the author’s site as well. I mainly use the feeds to notify me of updates. It beats regularly checking 100+ websites by hand and finding only a few of them updated.

Kottke touched on an issue of hot debate and while Anil does tend to speak with an overly authoritative voice, I think he raised some especially valid points.

I don’t think Anil’s point was that readability was bad but rather that extensibility is important. You don’t have to choose one over the other. (If the format you’re working with is open.)

And hey, we’re all idealists about one thing or another. =-)

Nick Runco

keep in mind that i don’t look down upon people for making feeds, i think they are great, one of the reasons you mentioned auto-update checking. i just don’t want to offer them myself. that’s all.

and i don’t like people asserting what “should be” based on their own preference.

and i think someone should write a program to make JPEGs with algorithms rather than photoshop. that would be cool. i think Tyler from those UCSD ICAM classes was messing with something like that. it was quite interesting.

Walt Dickinson

JPEGs on the what now?

Nick Runco

writing the hex-code rather than messing with the image in a visual editor.

Walt Dickinson

So you could generate some sort of abstract image from some pseudo-randomly selected data source? Interesting. But then you’re just knocking off Señior Praystation but without the purty animation.