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False Advertisement of Feed Formats

I despise - absolutely despise - feeds advertised as "RSS" which are actually Atom feeds. Oftentimes, FeedBurner factors into the equation.

If you're going to list a few varieties of feeds, ostensibly letting people choose which format they'd like, I say you provide that freakin' format. Don't switch it on the back end.

Why? Because some home-grown apps might only be designed to play well with a certain feed format, and some full-grown apps might not work, either. For example, PulpFiction doesn't work with Atom 1.0 feeds because we stopped developing the app prior to 1.0's design and approval, and the new owner hasn't done jack shit with the app.

Saying "RSS feed here!" and then switching to Atom is like a customer ordering a "Coke" and being given a Pepsi. A lot of people might not care, but some people care very much whether they get Coke or Pepsi.

4 Responses to "False Advertisement of Feed Formats"

  1. Oh my, I had no idea that I had something's wrong with my feed(s).
    I apologize! I guess I will have to check into feedburner...

  2. RSS has become a overall name for feeds, and is no longer thought, by the vast majority of users, to be a format. Atom, RSS, RDF, it's all the same to most of the people using it.

  3. swissmiss said on March 8, 2007:

    Oh my, I had no idea that I had something's wrong with my feed(s).
    I apologize! I guess I will have to check into feedburner...

    Believe me, though your use may have prompted the post, your blog is far from being the only one I've seen in the past week to do this.

    John C. Welch said on March 8, 2007:

    RSS has become a overall name for feeds, and is no longer thought, by the vast majority of users, to be a format. Atom, RSS, RDF, it's all the same to most of the people using it.

    If so, that's a sad reality. When three or four different formats are explicitly listed as available options, I would expect to find that each is in the proper format.

  4. Hi Erik,

    Just wanted to drop in an explain one of the features we offer to our publishers. It is called SmartFeed and it translates a feed on-the-fly into a format (RSS or Atom) compatible with the visitors' feed reader application.

    The beauty of this is, as a publisher, you simply have a feed (no format acronyms needed) that will be compatible with any feed reader the user may be using. I am sure most people would refer to the feed as RSS in this case even though it is technically any format the end user needs it to be and this may be causing some of the confusion.

    Hope this helps to clear up some of what we do. If you have any feedback please send it my way.

    Cheers,
    Eric Olson
    Publisher Services - FeedBurner
    312.756.0022 x2034
    erico@feedburner.com


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