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Now Is the Perfect Time for an RSS Renaissance (neflabs.com)
687 points by neflabs 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 349 comments



I'm surprised how often RSS is mentioned on Hackernews, and how infrequently some recommends Feedly. It has wonderful features, like saving articles, collection boards, team features, and popularity-based sorting options.

(Full disclosure, I don't work for Feedly nor do I own any of the company. I just like the service!)

http://feedly.com


I use Newsblur and have been a happily paying customer since Google Reader went down.


When Google Reader died, I tried several alternatives including Feedly. At that time it could import your feeds, but it didn't do export. I don't now, but I didn't want to use a service that locked-in RSS feeds.


I'm in exactly the same boat, and ended up on Go Read, but recently I was looking for a solution which had better mobile support and came back to Feedly.

Created an account first and checked whether you can export your OPML, and indeed you can in the feed settings: https://i.imgur.com/ttPNrd1.png

The mobile app is great too, it has become my main RSS reading platform.


Same. I used google reader heavily when it was around. Now I don't bother using any 3rd party service and I just host my own RSS server (tt-rss). Not going to start using a service and get used to it, only for it to shut down.


I think you can back up OPML to Dropbox, which should provide kind of export facility, since OPML is a generic format.


Feedly does OPML import/export now. It worked for me the other day.

I'm just a (non-paying) customer.

https://blog.feedly.com/opml/


Ah, didn't know that. Even better, thanks for the pointer!


I didn't even use a service like Google Reader, but when it died, I got caught up in the flood of alternatives, and am now a very happy Feedly user.

Didn't even know what I was missing!


I use it daily for years and was shocked to find that it supports pinch zoom on iOS - but not android (where i use it).

Feels like it that's just tip of the iceberg re. things they could improve - for example they finally, finally!, added ability to create categories/tags for free (was paid feature).

I understand it's tough to run a business like this (and why google killed this, at least officially) - but i wouldn't actually mind an occasional ad.


I vaguely recall Apple getting the patent for pinch to zoom for a while, and not getting native support on Android after Apple lost it, and having to reimplement it for the longest time when doing things on Android.


My use of RSS has fallen (very recently) so I only consume a few feeds every day.

However, I both enjoy and dislike Feedly. Here’s the rundown:

Pros)

- advanced features like highlighting, team management

- pure free offering that just works

- integration with pretty much every feed reader app out there

Cons:

- no ability/willingness to pull full text

- iOS app is honestly kind of clunky

I emailed them that I’d willingly migrate from a different app that I pay a subscription for if only they’d pull the full text, but they told me that is an intentional non-feature. Big bummer.


In regards to your full text request. The publisher has the option what to syndicate, truncated or full.

What you are asking them to do is have a crawler go to the site and pull the full text whenever they feel they are being served truncated.

Not only does that go against the nature of RSS, but would be costly for them.

What app do you pay for that does this? Is it even using RSS?


Quite a few apps provide this. One is called Newsify.

I don’t know that it goes against the nature of RSS. I kind of feel that providing only a title of the article and a link goes against the spirit. But nature and spirit are different.


It really depends on how it's done. Some sites, like Wired, tend to give you a short, one or two sentence abstract of the article so you get the general gist. If it piques your interest you can click through for the real meat. I'm okay with this. They have a paywall after you read more than some amount per month, and I believe they have a special subscriber RSS feed with full text. So this solution seems like a good way to both respect my time (by only inducing me to click into stories I want to read) and maintain the value of their subscription.

Other sites, like Slate, are more annoying. They write headlines and opening paragraphs that are "Slate-pitches" that are trying to goad you into clicking. These I have no patience for and eventually unsubscribe from after my fourth or fifth click-through to a thoroughly boring article.


Unfortunately newsify is ios only


Feedly is the only one I've found where I can sync my feed between browsers and my phone. Every other service seems to be stuck in one area or another. It's really quite annoying. I need a feed reader that works on every device that I read things on.


Given that one of the blogs I follow charges for access to a full-text RSS feed, my guess is that some sites might be upset with them if they did that.


Ah yes, one of the resources I follow is a newspaper where I pay for the news weekly (FT). I only get the title and a link.


Or pretty excited depending on how they charge.


How well do these handle mathjax and the like?


I have been a happy user of Inoreader (no affiliation, just a happy user)


Shameless recommendation - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16876636 (I built this)


Major, major thumbs up for Feedly. The first site I check every morning. >250 sites tied to it.


I can recommend Inoreader.


Seems everyone is recommending their preferred feed reader here so I'll mention the one I use as well.

Feedbro is a Firefox extension that lets me subscribe to and read feeds. Multiple layouts/formats.

I use it to subscribe to blogs, github repos etc.

I still miss a feature from the Googlr Desktop Search sidebar where it would autosubscribe/unsubscribe to rss feeds as you browsed around the web. I think it looked at what sites I visited, tried a few entries in the feed and continued/canceled based on if I read them or not.


I'm surprised no one has mentioned Bazqux. It's cheap, fast, and has all the features I want.


Agreed. But it has been very frustrating that they haven't allowed boards to be public.

Maybe someone knows a service that lets you mark posts from your feed to be shared as a public collection?


Newsblur kind-of has this. You can "Share to your Blurblog," but I don't see a way to have multiple Blurblogs.

You can also tag stories and each tag can have a RSS feed that others to subscribe to, but I don't think there is a web page to send people to for your taggged stories.


yeah feedly has been my alternative since google reader died. but the issue is that even if some sources still have feeds, many sources strip feed of all the content and only give you a list of titles and links. that quite sad to witness if one lived trough the rss golden age


Feedly is nice but centralized. We should have learned the lesson.


All feed readers are centralized, even one you run on your laptop. I learned from Reader's shutdown that a centralized service shutting down is no big deal. I can easily export my feeds from Feedly and move them somewhere else if the need arises.

I learned from Google that if I want a nice centralized feed reader I need one that I can support. That's why I pay for Feedly.


> All feed readers are centralized, even one you run on your laptop.

How so? I'm sure there are plenty of RSS readers on GitHub you could fork and then be safe from the developer abandoning it.


RSS readers are a dime a dozen, and it's trivial to switch between them. I don't really care which one I use, so developer abandonment isn't my concern. The only important things are the list of my feeds and which items I've read. If my laptop goes down, I lose those if I haven't backed them up. If Feedly goes down, I lose those if I haven't backed them up. The difference is that Feedly is more likely than my laptop to give me notice first.

So Feedly is actually better about centralization than using a local reader. As a bonus, everything is synced across all my devices and I can quickly read a few articles on my phone while waiting for my name to be called at the pizza place.


Someone didn't learn.


What didn't I learn? The message couldn't have been to not rely on a centralized service for RSS feeds, because switching to a new service was trivial. I ended up better off than before Reader shut down. My lesson about RSS readers was that it's fine to trust a centralized service because there's basically no risk if it goes away.

I learned a bigger lesson about not trusting Google services in general, but I don't see how that means I shouldn't use Feedly.


> All feed readers are centralized, even one you run on your laptop.

Care to justify that statement?


Your laptop is not a distributed system. If it is lost or destroyed, you lose your feed reader.


I just signed up. I added one RSS feed (Reddit programming sub) and then tried to add another Google keyword.. it popped up trying to charge me..


Anyone who talks about revival of RSS without talking about how it will be sustainable is just ignorant or naive, because the main reason it became what it became has everything to do with money.

Content providers centralized because centralized attention is more valuable than aggregation of decentralized attention in an ad driven economy.

Just because you want RSS to make a come back doesn't mean it has any chance of coming back unless it makes sense economically. And I don't see any of that mentioned in this article, nor am I aware of one that's guaranteed to work as good as ad driven model.

You might as well say it's a perfect time for the renaissance of steam engines.


Economics certainly was central to the story, past or future, but I wouldn't state it quite so strongly. Hopefully I'm not ignorant or naive.

Let's start from examples: youtube, facebook, twitter. The platforms' ad businesses definitely benefited from being centralised and proprietary. But, all three "won" their respective platform wars before those lucrative ad businesses existed. They won because that is where people put their content and where people looked at that content.

So, who does this economy work for? It just doesn't apply to regular, "personal" users. They don't get paid for content. The profitability of youtube or FB doesn't impact their decisions to post videos there. These decisions collectively determined FB, twitter or youtube becoming major platforms... people's choosing to post. If these users had chosen different platforms, these would have won regardless of how well these platforms lend to advertising^.

Centralizing news on FB (for example) isn't working (money-wise) for most news organisations or other established, professional content producers. Youtube doesn't work well (money-wise) for independent producers. Even if you have enough viewers to make a TV show successful, you probably can't afford 3 full time makers on youtube revenue.

So... the economics are very profitable for the platforms, but not anyone else. All the decisions that made these platforms successful are/were not directly related to ad-money.

Podcasts are the best example. They were the way to distribute certain content. Users adopted podcasts because the content was there, even though the UX was/is clunky. It happened to be decentralized and rss-based. The fact that podcasts work better economically for content makers than youtube... that was incidental.

^Of course, there are bounds of viability/sutainability. FB is at least an order of magnitude above that boundary. It would be possible to make FB with much less than the $25bn in ad revenue it generates.


> Podcasts are the best example. They were the way to distribute certain content. Users adopted podcasts because the content was there, even though the UX was/is clunky. It happened to be decentralized and rss-based.

I would argue that podcasts are as decentralized as emails are "decentralized". When was the last time you downloaded a Podcast from a self-hosted server? Most people download podcasts through iTunes, SoundCloud, etc. because...centralizing makes sense economically. In this environment, RSS is virtually meaningless because the whole point of RSS was to have an open standard in a world where everyone ran their own RSS servers. Once it becomes centralized you're better off just distributing content as a centralized feed like Twitter.

> The fact that podcasts work better economically for content makers than youtube... that was incidental.

Nothing's "incidental". There are always reasons behind everything. Let's dig in further to see what's going on. When was the last time you've sat through a shitty Podcast that's 1 hour long? You probably haven't. Now think of how long most Podcasts are. Yes, they are mostly "long-form" content that are 30 minutes to 1 hour long.

Now think about the last YouTube video you watched. How long was it? Probably like 3 minutes to 5, or maybe you watch a conference livestream or tutorial that's 1 hour long, but those are exceptions. Most people go to YouTube to watch bite sized videos. This is why ads don't work as well on Youtube compared to Podcasts. Why would you watch a 30 second ad just to watch a 2 minute video? Naturally, if you have the same content, people will watch the videos WITHOUT ads. And this is where the "race to the bottom" begins.

So are Podcasts absolutely superior to videos? No. Podcasts have their own drawbacks. Because Podcasts are long form content, listeners don't want to end up wasting their precious 1 hour. Therefore it's really hard as a podcast publisher to get people to listen to their podcast. Which means initial "acquisition" is much harder for Podcasts compared to YouTube. But once you "acquire" the listeners it's worth it because they have "chosen" to listen to you on an on-going basis. Which is why I asked earlier when was the last time you sat through a shitty podcast. It is much harder to build an audience for a Podcast compared to Youtube, you really need to be able to produce super high quality content.

My point is, these different types of medium each have pros and cons. But there are always very good reasons if you look behind the scenes. Nothing is "incidental". And again, this all comes down to money.


I suppose we disagree on your last point, and that colours a lot of the rest. I don't think it all comes down to money. Some of it does.

I certainly don't see a straight line from FB being an excellent way to sell ads and facebook being the most popular platform. FB won because FB was where people posted and read posts. No one even knew that facebook would be such a great ad platform at that point. I don't think users cared much. This is what I mean by incidental. Not coincidental and not without consequence, just not having a determining cause and effect relationship.

...incidentally (yep, again), twitter and youtube are not great ad platforms, by comparison. That's in large part why podcasts are comparatively better, economically, in some cases, for content makers. Youtube sets a low bar.

Control for content quality, length, viewer loyalty or whatever you think is relevant and you'll still rarely find direct youtube ad revenue good relative to television, radio or most comparable mediums. low bar.

Anyway, my larger point is that the same rules apply for open, decentralised, democratized or other characteristic you/me/we would like our FB-killer to have. It must win the platform game. The platform game is determined by users, chickens, eggs, internal economics, external economics, UX paradigms, early adopters, people, stuff.... That will determine the success of rss-based ideas just like it determined FBs success.

I don't think this is reducible to "it's all about the money," or at least not reducible to a way that preserves much meaning..


I don't think we disagree on any of the facts you suggested. Obviously you need to win the platform if you want to be successful. You're interpreting from business point of view and I'm interpreting from macro economical view. And in this view, every human activity revolves around money. If something is not economical, each economic actor will leave, and the technology will lose out. Of course, on a lower level there's user experience, network effects, etc. but on a more fundamental level if you think of the entire world as a network of human value transactions, it does become mostly about money what people spend their time on (with opportunity costs and all)

> FB won because FB was where people posted and read posts. No one even knew that facebook would be such a great ad platform at that point

FB got traction because it was free. If they charged for posting it would have lost to some other service.

And during the early days FB survived because they raised money from VCs, and the VCs thought that there WILL be ways to make money if they got tons of users somehow.

If FB was some drug dealing, child trafficking service, then VCs wouldn't have put money into it. Even if we don't go that far, we can just look at music tech industry to see how this applies. Investors really got burned by Napster and never wanted to invest in a music tech company anymore because they knew it was a difficult industry to make money in.

Imagine how many people will be building web services if it was guaranteed that nobody made any money from it. That's why I keep saying it's all about money.

But I get your point, and I will compromise with you and say it's not "all" about money but "mostly" about money. After all, people build these web services in hopes of making money. That's why they form corporations (corporation's main function is to make money)


My point is about the economics, nit the business perspective. micro not macro.^

The most revenue generating social network does not win. Whoever wins wins. The value of what wins to advertisers determines how much winners win, but it does not determine winners.

Also, advertising revenue does almost nothing to fund content creation on these networks. The "supply side" economics of FB, YouTube & twitter is completely non-existant. The bar is essentially @ 0, so no matter what competes with them this can only get better.

The relevant point for this topic is that RSS' value or lack thereof to advertisers has almost no impact on its chances of success.

Podcasts, OTOH. These are an existence proof for (1) RSS being useful in the context and (2) decentralised distribution networks works reasonably well for content/media producers.

^macroecobomics is about the money system: inflation, money supply...


You don't download podcasts through iTunes, and iTunes doesn't host any podcast. When you register your podcast with iTunes, they direct users to your RSS feed via their client.


Interesting. I had no idea. So you're saying all the podcasters are hosting their audios on their own self-hosted server instead of using a 3rd party podcast hosting provider?


Nope, almost everyone has the files and the feed posted on blubrry, podbean, libsyn, or soundcloud, depending on your needs. While owning your own stack is nice, the benefits of an outside service almost always outweigh the cons. Blberry is the most premium of them, in both cost and freedom, but is notwworthy in that they 100% allow you to own your own feed. My podcast uses podbean as it's the cheapest (unless you publish infrequently, in which case soundcloud is), but the one killer feature blubrry has me considering switching for is the fact that you can walk with your feed at any time.

edit: the reason being able to walk with your feed is so important is because it means you aren't tied to that content provider in any meaningful way (almost every podcatching application out there except for one just points at your RSS, or plays follow the leader with itunes). Forgot to mention that part.


Ars technica provides full rss - to paying readers. The price is reasonable.

It's a win-win: they probably earn more on each paying customer than on 10 or 20 adblocking users like us. Paying customers get full uncrippled RSS, no ads and no tracking (I think it's tiered though so you might have to pay slightly more to get all these three).


I can imagine a subscription service where you could pay to access a bunch of RSS feeds.

The fundamental problem is that people are used to not paying for content. But one of the things that has changed over the twenty years that the article talks about is that people are more willing to pay for things on the internet.


I would say that's not RSS winning, but more like Ars Technica adding many "premium features" as a bundle to justify the subscription fee.

It's like NYTimes providing crossword puzzle for free to subscribed users. You wouldn't call that "It's the perfect time for a crossword puzzle renaissance", would you?


> Ars Technica adding many "premium features" as a bundle to justify the subscription fee.

Personally I think this is fine. If paying for their content encouages them to maintain a quality RSS feed and not track you that seems like a reasonable exchange.


It's not like RSS is winning yet -or certainly- no.

But it shows there might be a sustainable solution that includes uncrippled RSS and no ads or tracking.


Podcasts seems to work fine, which is the exact same concept with sound in place of text.


most people use podcasts through an app, not by adding the RSS feed to their RSS reader.

When people talk about RSS being dead, they mean the consumer usage, and not about how it powers other things behind the scenes.


When people say "RSS" they really mean articles delivered with RSS.

And most people use "RSS" through an app(lication). My point is that the economic model that powers podcasts can power articles through RSS as well.


What is the "economic model" you speak of? It's surely not banner ads, and it's surely not search ads. Also it can't do behavioral targeting. Please educate me


They're "sponsored by", just like some YouTubers do. So if your target audience is significant, you can choose to include something from a sponsor in return for a payment.


I like podcasts, and think we're in something of a golden age for them right now.

However, the "sponsorship" model (a very few advertisers paying content creators to--usually manually--include mention of them in their content) is much more concerning to me than the "black box ad auction" model (content creators get money from an advertising aggregator like Google for putting a box on their page).

There's a spectrum there, to be sure, but with sponsorship it's much easier for advertisers to explicitly or implicitly influence the content creators outside of the "this podcast funded by FooBarCorp!" segments. Even without strong-arming creators, the knowledge of sponsorship can have a chilling effect on some content (i.e. it's just tawdry to start a segment about military drones being bad and then have to state that Lockheed Martin is your sponsor).

This can have two outcomes, neither of them good. Option one is that content creators can spend a lot of time trying to select/vet/court sponsors that align with their interests. This is the NPR model, and even they have trouble getting it right. Smaller creators may not have the time or ability to emulate it.

Option two is content that drifts into the realm of affiliate marketing as sponsors exert more influence over creators.

Neither of those have happened yet because the market is not yet saturated, I suspect.

I'd prefer black-box auctioned ads over that any day, even with the drawbacks of that system (ad aggregator influence, pervasive tracking, content delivery engineered for metrics collection, potential for sketchy ads to run on your site).


black-box auction ads aren't as ideal as you might think - lots of brands put pressure on YouTube recently to change their monetization policies to exclude certain types of content.


Do you think that model works for textual content the same way it works for Podcast?


If they use ad networks I can block it, but inline and serve from their own servers and I cannot. Maybe it'll work, maybe it will not, but I'm inclined to believe it will to the same extend advertising works in newspapers and magazines.


Well, it is a fact that it doesn't work. I'm not making this up. The whole industry knows it doesn't work.

This type of advertising has a name of its own: "native advertising". Companies like Buzzfeed, etc. made a lot of money in the beginning by taking advantage of this new format, essentially tricking readers into thinking that these are actual real content.

However it doesn't work as well as it used to because people have pretty much figured out what a native ad looks like.

However podcasts are single threaded, meaning if you're listening to a podcast and an ad starts playing, you could skip it but most people just keep it on as long as it's not too long. Basically it's a pushed advertising. But this is completely different when it comes to textual content because visual content is easily ignorable AND blockable.

Plus, even if you don't block or ignore it, you still only glance at the banner ad, which is completely different from the level of advertising done by podcasters.

There are tons more reasons why podcasts and textual media are completely different beasts, but the gist is, content industry is not as simple as it looks. Every ad format has a different value from one another, and also it depends on how focused the audience is, etc.


They work in magazines and newspapers. An article delivered over RSS is basically the same as a magazine delivered in your mailbox. You may glance over it, but as long as it's delivered from the same servers as the actual content it's not blockable.

I'm not saying it should be a flashing banner on top, but it be somewhat incorporated in a format and length such that people aren't too annoyed - probably in corporation with the "sponsor". We know this works from the web because advertisers keep paying money for the ad space through articles.


They do NOT work in magazines and newspapers. That's why they are going out of business. And that's why all the larger media companies are coming online and ditching offline versions.


You're applying causation when there is no clear link. They are going out of business because they're being replaced by online entities. Before The Internet was a thing they worked just fine, again, as evident by the sheer amount of advertising in magazines back then.


RSS never went away for me. Try FreshRSS[1], it's awesome. It works well on shared hosting and it runs on SQLite.

TTRSS only gave me trouble. Threw all kinds of strange errors at unexpected times. I don't know how many times it died on me after an upgrade. I eventually gave up and found FreshRSS. Been running (and updating) it over a year, without a single problem.

One of the best things about it is escaping the algorithmically curated feeds.

Every and service that I use has an RSS feed, except for Twitter. I use https://twitrss.me/ to follow users. If you don't find a feed, sometimes you just have to dig a little. You learn at which URIs the most commons CMSes presents their Atom/RSS feeds (hello /feed/).


You forgot the links, here they are:

- Official website: https://freshrss.org

- Demo: https://demo.freshrss.org/

- Github: https://github.com/FreshRSS/FreshRSS --

Looks great, thanks!

edit: aaargh, formatting


I'm reasonably happy with TTRSS running on Sandstorm.io, but it's web client sucks. To me, the reason TTRSS wins is because there are about a dozen different clients that work with it, and most of them are vastly better than the server's UI.


Exactly, I do the same, TTRSS is running without problems since about 2013 but I never use it's frontend, just the API to read in different clients on my mobile phono and on my desktop (actually with my own client https://github.com/jeena/feedthemonkey). TTRSS does the work of gathering the feeds, updating and parsing them, and holding the 'read'and 'starred' information, everything else I do in the 3rd party clients.


"People" keep rattling on about how RSS needs to be revived.

Do these people live in some sort of alternative reality where:

- The guardian

- BBC

- Reuters

- Ars Technica

- LWN

- Hacker News

and a fuck ton others don't have an RSS feed?

Or some sort or reality where Flym (or the myriads of RSS apps) don't exist?

Because I sure as hell don't.


A few years ago, my favorite writers and artists had personal blogs. Today, many of them have moved to Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook, making them inconvenient or impossible to follow using RSS.

Apart from the migration to walled gardens, I also think it's a problem that 99% of web users haven't heard of RSS.


I really don't understand those artists and writers you mention. Why on earth would they not use their own platform to present their content?

This doesn't remove the ability to promote and share your content elsewhere. Content creators really can have it both ways. Publish on your own site and link to, share or duplicate that content on Facebook, Instagram, Medium, Twitter, RSS, Soundcloud and any other service that may be relevant to your audience.


> I really don't understand those artists and writers you mention. Why on earth would they not use their own platform to present their content?

Ease of use. Plenty of folks don't have the skills to set things up and keep them humming along, nor do they have the funds to play someone else to do it for them. So they hand over a bit of control in exchange for a platform that's set up and kept up to date.

You may argue that they're giving up too much control, and I'd agree with you, but that's not how most (non-technical) users see things.


> Why on earth would they not use their own platform to present their content?

I know one of them personally, and I think in her case, she may have had a few hundred people following her art blog, while on Instagram, she quickly amassed over 100,000 followers, so when she stopped updating the blog, she lost less than 1% of her fans.

It comes down to people knowing how to follow Instagram/Facebook accounts, while they haven't even heard of RSS.


Of course I can imagine that Instagram, Facebook and Co. are more popular and accessible to her audience.

Again, I'm not recommending giving up those channels, but betting your content on a platform that will be gone/unpopular at some point (they all come and go) while abandoning the constant, central presence of your very own website, regardless of how small the following may be, seems short sighted. This has nothing to do with RSS.



Maybe you misunderstood what he was saying. He was saying every one of those pages already has an RSS feed so there's nothing to "revive"


I completely misunderstood what he said.

I agree with him, I consume most of my news using RSS and even in pages that do not have RSS (like soundcloud) there is a RSS server somewhere serving the feed.


Is it me or is BBC's feed outdated or broken?


It's you. The BBC feeds work fine...

... however, they do 'touch' a lot of the articles during the week so the order they appear in the feed keeps changing.


RSS is as alive as www.myspace.com is.

Before you point out how RSS powers all kinds of other invisible stuff that most people aren't aware of, that's not what this article is talking about, nor is it what people mean when they say RSS is dead.

If you truly believe that RSS has as much influence over consumers in 2018 as a decade or so ago, you probably do live in an alternate reality.


Does it really matter if people actually use RSS when it's available basically everywhere. Your neighbor using Twitter for their news feed doesn't harm you.


You're mixing up websites who provide RSS with end-users who are supposed to make use of it.


Main reason I don't exclusively use RSS (like I used to) is tons and tons of websites just provide a couple lines in the RSS feed and not the entire article.

Super annoying.


That's always been a complaint about RSS going back to its original age, the balance between short summaries and full articles; ads/pageviews/analytics versus "content is king".

Have you tried an RSS Reader with an embedded web view for those types of sites?

(I use Newsblur and it has a really neat view where it shows the original blog/page and uses a bit of logic to track your cursor to mark as read articles you read directly on the originating site in a frame inside of Newsblur. It doesn't work for all sites but the ones it does work for can be pretty magic. That said, I'm an old school "river" user and simply have a habit workflow that heavily makes use of keyboard shortcuts to open new tabs and close them quickly.)


I work on a service that tries to generate new full-text feeds from these partial ones. You can try it out at http://fivefilters.org/content-only/


What's the alternative though? The same will be true on all other aggregators.


I think this uptick in RSS articles is just a bunch of journalists trying to inspire developers to do something more interesting with the tech.


This isn't necessarily a bad thing.


In my experience, the average internet user has barely any idea of what RSS is or how to use an RSS app. It's certainly not dead, but it has stagnated in recent years, while things like the Notifications API get integrated into all major browsers.

I've created my own RSS aggregator, and a large percentage of smaller sites have misconfigured or broken RSS feeds. Most site owners don't seem to care much about RSS anymore.


Yes, RSS still exists.

So does Myspace.


RSS exists and is ubiquitous on the web outside of a few large players. It doesn't have the consumer mind-share but nothing about that hinders your personal RSS experience.


Ars technica only provides a blurb trough rss and iirc no topic filtered rss, hardly a good or usable solution if one has to get out and find content outside the reader


Subscribers get full text and they offer per-section feeds.

Beyond that, a full-featured client can implement either of those features. I use Newsblur.com which allows you to control whether you see the feed's description or the readability-filtered page, and you have a training system to up/down flag authors, tags, and arbitrary text.


If RSS threatens to become mainstream again, expect pushback from content providers. I know a blog where the owner will ban any commenter from the site for even mentioning that there is an RSS feed. He believes that the RSS feed that his CMS provides by default, is somehow important for SEO, but he doesn’t want people getting his content through RSS because his way of monetizing the site requires that people reguarly visit the site itself.


The obvious solution here seems to be to configure your feed to only provide excerpts? Like the most common default is anyway...


If people go to your website to get the headlines, it is easier to monetize them because they may view ads there, you can market things to them based on their cookie history, etc. That is harder with RSS.


Yeah, we need a new way of monetizing content on the Internet.


I wonder how much I'd pay for a full content rss feed from a good blog... Maybe 20cents/mo.? I know, cheap, but there is lots of content...


I actually don't want to pay anyone monthly.

But I really like the Blendle model and would be happy to pay more through them if more relevant content (including blogs in my case) becomes available and easy to access:

It is pay-per-view but reasonably priced and with reasonable (last I checked) refunds if you happen to click on some clickbait.

I also like Spotify but I think Blendle has a better business model, at least for text.

What I like: Authors get paid for the stuff I read. The more I read the more I pay. It doesn't drain my account when I don't use it.


I like the pay-per-GB model, but not sure if it would work with feeds that contain video or audio, or just large trivial filler images.


Daring Fireball has experimented with this over the years.

Currently it uses a sponsor system.


I love RSS and I use an online RSS Reader (NewsBlur.com, but there are others).

However the article makes the mistake of saying that RSS is about "obtaining content from a website without having to visit the site itself". That's definitely not true.

RSS is about being notified of new articles. Subscribing to an RSS feed is like subscribing to a mailing list.

But it won't deliver the content reliably — many RSS readers restrict the HTML being rendered, for good reasons I'm sure, but they mess it up, there's no standard for what kind of HTML is accepted of course, so it only works well for textual articles, but rich text (e.g. images, CSS) is very problematic.

On my own website (alexn.org) I had many problems with rendering articles, due to images and code syntax highlighting, enough so that I decided to no longer render the entire article in the RSS feed, I prefer to deliver just a summary.

Being notified of new content, with a good summary, is all you need. If a website's readability is shitty, you can always invoke the browser's Reader View (Firefox, Safari) or open it with Pocket or whatever.


Totally agreed with the article. I was talking to a friend who uninstalled facebook/instagram and she thought the idea of RSS was cool having burned out on constantly refreshing for new items.

As a happy https://theoldreader.com/ user, I can't recommend it enough. It is just basic reliable RSS, subscribe and you'll see new items from them, no intelligent feed recommendations.

It has a few light social features which I easily ignore.


I have been using it since Google Reader died in... I forgot when


I'm always positively surprised how compatible the whole RSS ecosystem mostly is. They either implement the Google Reader API or the Fever API and you can choose between a lot of different apps for your platforms.

My current combination that I'm happy with for a few years is:

https://miniflux.net + Reeder on iOS and Mac


I also run miniflux and like it a lot.

However, I was surprised to see that there are no viable Android apps that can speak to the Fever API. None of the current feed reader apps in the Google or F-Droid app stores qualify, and the APKs of an unmaintained app called Press floating around aren't too confidence inspiring.


Curious, did you upgrade to 2.0? I went to check in on my site recently, and found that they nuked the project and rewrote it in Go.


Yep and as someone who works with Go at my day job that's just an additional point to like the project ;)


Ahhh...that's cool! It was kind of intriguing that they removed a bunch of features/things. I built out some custom systems that rely on the semi-public RSS feeds the legacy project generated, so upgrading is more of a long-term goal, I guess.


I have subscript the HackerNews RSS Feed. Using Thunderbird as my RSS client it bothers me to see multiple copies of the same post in my inbox every time the title a post is changed. Adding the <guid> tag containing the post id can help the RSS client to distinguish posts.


Is there anything that can turn your email into a secure personal RSS feed? A feed reader that also includes emails would replace quite a bit of what centralized social media provides.


This reminds me of the author of SuperMemo[1], which is a software for remembering things using carefully spaced repetition. (Started in 1982 and still maintained).

They pioneered "incremental reading" a technique where an article is split into pieces and ingested by the software and fed back to you in an asynchronous manner at the most appropriate time.

Then the main author apparently started to feed everything, including emails into this system, and so he would consume everything only through this channel. Replying to conversations sometimes month later depending on the algorithm. He describes a bit more the process at the bottom of [2] in the apology paragraph.

[1] https://www.wired.com/2008/04/ff-wozniak/

[2] https://www.supermemo.com/english/company/wozniak.htm


Doesn't Duolingo operate on roughly the same principles?


The opposite approach is to send RSS feeds to your email client, which can be done by rss2email (originally by Aaron Schwartz).

https://github.com/wking/rss2email

I've been using it for a few years and, while the command line interface is a bit awkward, it works fine. Since email clients have the same controls an RSS reader needs (read/unread, folders, etc.) it works fine.

Blogtrottr is a hosted service that does the same thing; I also used them for a few years and was happy with the service. Just moved off because self-hosting was in some ways simpler for me.

https://blogtrottr.com/


Have you tried Thunderbird (https://www.thunderbird.net)? Combines email, RSS and newsgroups.


Is there any addon that for thunderbird that synchronizes RSS read status across devices?

I use thunderbird, I love it, and I would love it more if I could use it on more than one device....



Gnus in Emacs :)


I recently discovered Feedbin allows you to subscribe to email newsletters, which pretty much keeps you in RSS land for anything news related.


I believe you can do something similar with NewsBlur.


Coincidentally, I just switched to consuming news mostly through RSS. There just wasn't any better news aggregator that let me focus on news I actually cared about, and filtered out the crap I don't.

What I long for is something like Google Newsstand, with the power to scrape the whole web for my interests- except Google Newsstand incessantly shows me all the inane "hot", "trending", "popular" etc mainstream stuff no matter how many hundreds of times I mark, "show me less like this".

Using RSS is a little limiting because there's so little discovery for related subjects from new sources- but I can completely turn off the firehose of pop news.


I loved the 'RSS feed' ecosystem but it did have its problems.

Plain old 'everything you can eat' RSS suffered from lack of a decent curation system. You got to a site/article you liked, and subscribed to the feed. When the number of feeds you accumulated got to the point where it became too much, you then faced the 'chore' of deleting stuff you once actually liked, and still might do. Most never got round to this and so stuff piled on.

A good personalized priority/curated feed out of your subscriptions would have been nice, but at the time nobody succeeded.


> You got to a site/article you liked, and subscribed to the feed. When the number of feeds you accumulated got to the point where it became too much, you then faced the 'chore' of deleting stuff you once actually liked, and still might do. Most never got round to this and so stuff piled on.

This describes my social media feed / process, and I would imagine most others as well.


Nuzzle does a pretty good job of this using your Twitter social graph.


I am another long-time RSS user.

For me, it is the only sane way to keep up with my scientific journal reading.

That it's also a fine way to read webcomics and tech blogs is a nice bonus.


While, to some extent, I agree that we should move back to RSS, shouldn't we think of RSS readers? While most of us in tech could figure it out, the mass of people find it tough to use an RSS Reader.

Maybe in the future, RSS readers could take another form altogether. But solutions out there aren't as easy to use.


How about implementing RSS in the browser? My ideal implementation would be to click on my special RSS bookmark folder and immediatly see how many new items there are for each site of the folder, something like "kottke.org (5)" <- special mention to a lovely blog


Firefox has had that since version 1.0 (2004): https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/live-bookmarks


Live Bookmarks has a very weird UI. I have upwards of 90 feeds currently, and it's simply impractical for me to check each one of them manually to see if there is soemthing new.


Yeah just tested and its close from what I want but I need to know how many new items I've got. Can't just remember from each site what was the last item


You mean like Opera before v12... What an amazing piece of software it was.


Firefox does pretty much exactly this. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/live-bookmarks


Firefox also has an okay/not-great reading experience if you directly navigate to an RSS page, including a configurable bar at the top with options to subscribe to the feed as live bookmarks, or in a feed reader of choice.

An interesting thing is IE had similar RSS support for rendering RSS feeds, configurable subscription options for them, and RSS feed-driven favorites folders. (Of course, none of that has made it into Edge. Yet?)

Perhaps more interesting was that IE had a platform API for its RSS store. It supported using the same Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) that Windows Update and other systems use for background downloading things during "quiet" periods on the machine to update the feeds. That RSS store provided a lot of what you needed for a good RSS reader application, though few reader applications took advantage to my knowledge. (I recall having part of a hand-crafted one at one point.) Outlook used to use this RSS store for its RSS support (thus sharing its feeds with IE), and the shutdown of IE's RSS support may be part of why Outlook's RSS support hasn't really worked that well in the last several versions.


One of my favorite mac/ios apps right now is the RSS reader "News Explorer" by Betamagic. It has replaced Reeder+Feedly for me and everything just syncs to iCloud. Highly recommend checking it out: https://betamagic.nl/products/newsexplorer.html


I'll repeat my plea for an RSS reader that enables the user (i.e., me) to efficiently process 1,000+ feed items in maybe 20 minutes. Also, it needs to automate aspects of managing feeds (detect when the fail, maybe find a replacement, give me an interface for resolving the problem).

By "process" I mean: Read the headline and sometimes the summary, decide whether to read the story, open the story (if I'm reading it), delete the feed item. Repeat 1,000x.

Deduplication is necessary but will only cut items process by maybe 5%, I would guess.

'Grouping' is much more valuable - grouping feed items by topic. For example, after the big event last night, instead of skimming dozens of headlines interspersed among 1,000 others, group together the feed items for that event under a single headers. Then I can quickly pick out the item I want to read and discard the remainder en masse. I'd guess that it would reduce the feed items I need to process by well over 50%.

Other tricks are needed too: 1,000 in 20 minutes is just under 1 feed item per second.


I don't want to tell you what to do but wouldn't it be more helpful to just be more selective on what you subscribe to?

I subscribed to way too many feeds in the past and going through them with shortcuts / opening them in the background and then going through the opened pages to read them afterwards works well. It's even quite fast but as soon as you skip a day it just piles up until you can't work off the queue any more.

I then just decided to really look at which feeds I really get most out of and unsubscribed from most of them. Way happier with that strategy and I don't feel like I'm getting overwhelmed by the unread count.


> wouldn't it be more helpful to just be more selective on what you subscribe to?

I am very selective! Otherwise there would be far more. There are many feeds I cut despite having some excellent, irreplaceable content, because they also add too many unread feed items (i.e., poor signal-to-noise).


Have you tried Newsblur? Its training feature is very powerful to trim down large feeds to only the topics you are interested into.


I do this with NewsBlur. First, I have filtered out about 75% of what I might see with its training tools. When I process my feed, I use j/k keyboard notification and s to save. Super fast.


At ContentGems.com we aspire to offer some of the features you're looking for. We fetch a ton of feeds each day, index them, and let you filter the items based on a powerful query api (Lucene). So in addition to reading your own feeds, you can also extract interesting content from other feeds and discover new feeds. It also deduplicates articles (on a sliding scale of similarity). We are in the process of building out the feed reader component (which is trivial compared to what we're already doing with search). An interesting twist on feed readers is that CG treats your Twitter home timeline like an RSS feed, indexing all shared articles and including them in the Firehose of feeds. Disclaimer: I'm one of the co-founders.


That's a very interesting approach - pre-processing the feed items (if I understand you correctly). Here are a few more features I would need, as just one potential user:

* Ability to add feeds to your database. Some obscure feeds are important to me.

* Privacy: I don't want to share a list of everything I subscribe to and read. This is a deal-breaker for me; I'm happy to pay for the service.

* UI with no overhead in time and cognitive load. A learning curve is fine - I love Vim, for example - but when I'm reviewing feed items the UI shouldn't delay or distract me. In fact, a keyboard-based UI based on Vim would be awesome (though probably there's not a huge market for that).


Since we are talking RSS: For years I have tried to find a good RSS reader for my android phone and have failed so far. The feature that mostly kills it for me is, much to my surprise, layout. For applications made for reading text, they all seem to hate the idea of letting the user actually decide how he wants that text displayed.

If you can even change the font size, often there are only predefined options, only works on certain views (article but not list etc.). Forget about changing the font itself or the colors aside from light/dark themes. It is ridiculous!

Do any of you know of a reader app, that lets me really customize that stuff why also being somewhat minimalist? The best thing I found so far is Palabre, but it also clutters the screen with useless header images, buttons and "Similar content" sections.


I personally just use the mobile web version of Feedbin.

3 theme options 2 article list options You can show/hide 4 interface elements (feedname, date, summary, image preview)

6 fonts options 9 type sizes

It's enough for my needs.


After years of looking around I found https://www.inoreader.com/ (also available as app). _Finally_ a decent replacement for Google Reader IMO.

UI on the site is a bit clunkey IMO, but the app at least has some customization options (font-type, font-size, different layout sizes, open tabs inside the app or direct them to an external browser, etc)

No affiliations, other than that I'm a happy user!


I also switched to inoreader recently (after going >GoogleReader>DiggReader) and I'm happy with it. I used to be a firm believer in a simple list of text headers, but with inoreader I found myself opting more and more for the thumbnail grid list.


Make one? This sounds easy enough to do.


Absolutely, RSS feeds rock! They're much less "noisy", and best of all - untouched by algorithmic sorting.

* Shameless plug *: our service & API at https://feedity.com helps create custom feeds for any public webpage.


> No suspicious javascript.

My only problem with this is the very positive trend towards design-heavy journalism... just like the NYTimes Wind Turbine article currently on the homepage: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/23/business/ener...

I love the Instapaper/RSS style consumption as much as anyone but that doesn't mean that multi-MB pages with plenty of JS/CSS/Images are always a bad thing.

Maybe the solution is to differentiate between our long-form high-quality content reading UX from the faster-paced blog/RSS style consumption?


That'll probably die out as people understand that nobody gives a flying fuck to all that silly evil sorcery, except the guys who made them. The way analytics works today, most web publishers are basically living in a bubble that distorts the image of the outer world.


Can you expand on this? How do analytics distort publishers' perspective of what's popular? Not disagreeing, I just want to know what you mean.


Numbers don't tell much. You make a web page, say an interactive news article, and it's read (i.e. viewed top to bottom, but knowing even this is very hard, still let's assume that we can know) a hundred thousand times since it was published. What does this tell? That the interactive design helped make people read the article? How do you know if people would've read it anyways if it was a static HTML file, or just a normal page like others? How do you know people actually liked the design and did not just ignore it focusing on content? How do you know people came to play with the interface instead of reading the actual article? How do you know what percentage of those views are from people restoring their tabs?

If all you want is to say "Hey I got a hundred thousand views, put your ads here!", than that's useful. But if you really want to know if users are content or they care, those numbers are just mute. But knowing whether users really care or not can lead you to better, cheaper design decisions.


There's literally nothing stopping them from putting this in an Atom feed. It's text with images / videos interleaved.


is there anything preventing javascript from being used in feeds? Couldn't an RSS article look exactly the same as on some heavily designed website? I'm not very familiar with the technical limitations, only that everything is transferred via xml?


Infuriatingly, this site is using vw units to set font-size; not only does this make the body copy text almost unreadably large on my HiDPI display (~330 PPI), but it means the text then refuses to scale when the page is zoomed out in the browser. Low quality.


> So the very idea of RSS - obtaining content from a website without having to visit the site itself - is due for a comeback. No ads.

RSS content may or may not be free of ads, but that is based on what you subscribe to.

I used Google Reader heavily, now I use theoldreader.


Been using rss since the early days, and still growing strong :) Google reader was my go to app for rss needs, but since they killed it I switched to "The Old Reader" and everything continued as usual :)

I do understand why some companies/people would prefer not to use RSS. From a money-standpoint, if you need to bring people to your website to get $$ from ads or other stuff, RSS makes it difficult. Basically, all content is free. Its great, but perhaps many websites with good content would not survive (perhaps many blogs neither)


Has anyone launched an RSS reboot? I think RSS could catch on if there was a leading reader that produced a facebook-like wall, social commenting integrated, and some marketing effort behind it.


I was also wondering about that. I'm uninterested in subscribing to individual blogs via RSS — but if a new magic RSS format / technology, could list the blog posts I actually want to read (similar to how Facebook finds interesting FB posts), + notify me about @mentions & comment replies — then yes maybe. Would want some way to connect with other people too, probably (like, add friends).


RSS is wonderful. Like the few out there, I don't read the newspaper nor watch TV for news; but just a handful of RSS feeds that I subscribe to. I'd also stop subscribing to the few other newsletters if they have the same in RSS Feeds.

[Plug] I rely solely on RSS Feeds to power a tiny in-house project[1] which helps us get contract leads and jobs for other people.

Would love an RSS comeback.

1. Get Better Luck - https://app.getbetterluck.com/


Can part of the renaissance be switching to a JSON format? Please?


https://jsonfeed.org/ has had some preliminary traction. Of course, the reason RSS works so well is that everyone uses the same format. So you wouldn't see so much of a "switch" as a bunch of readers accepting either format, for a very, very long time.

That being said, I don't see what's "wrong" with XML in this context.


Most of the complaints I've seen with the 'wrongness' of xml are centered around its human unreadability, which doesn't matter in this context. I'm curious if there's another reason.


While I shouldn't speak for JSON Feed's developers (Manton Reece of Micro.blog and Brent Simmons, original developer of RSS/Atom reader NetNewsWire), their argument basically boils down to "developers seem to be better at constructing valid JSON than they are at constructing valid XML."

I know a lot of HN folks will say but you can just construct perfectly valid XML with library such-and-such or API this-and-that and, yes, I'm sure they're all absolutely, positively 100% correct. But in my real-world experience, Reece and Simmons seem to be correct in practice. Given that Simmons wrote NNW, worked at the now-defunct server-side RSS company NewsGator, and is now writing a new RSS (and JSON Feed) reader, I'm inclined to believe that when he says JSON Feed "reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds," he means it.


It's funny, the only RSS feed I use I turn into json so I can store it tinydb in "native" format. Well, technically, I turn it into a python dict and then tinydb does the conversion to json automagically. Took 50 lines of code which I banged together from google searches.

Back before I started using the db backend I was parsing the feed with an auto-generated (from the schema) "rss reader" in python then merging the items into a master rss feed sorted by channels. That worked for a while until I got motivated and made it searchable/modifiable but couldn't find a simple database that I could just dump xml into.

Anyhoo, my point is it's easy to work with rss in either native xml or json with some simple tools that do most of the work for you. Would be super easy to bang together a converter that goes both ways if someone was motivated enough.

Actually... now that I think about it, changing generateDS to use a dict to store xml attributes could easily go back and forth with all the error checking one would desire -- might have to hack that together.


You don’t have to worry about recursive entity definitions in JSON.


Legibility isn't just for fun.

The entire JSON spec is only about 3 pages long. (I don't know exactly how long because ECMA's webpage is down today!) I'm pretty confident that any popular JSON parser I use will abort correctly on bad JSON. There's no expansion or entities or escaping, so the parser is a pretty boring 1-to-1 translation. Give it a 1KB JSON file, and I'm going to get back a data structure that takes roughly 1KB.

XML is incredibly complicated. My operating system's XML parser has had XXE-related security bugs in the recent past -- that's OWASP bug#4, and there's a Wikipedia article about it. There's other possible attacks, like the "billion laughs attack". I'm very nervous about running an XML parser on untrusted content.


Not to be flip, but if you're using a parser written by competent individuals post-2010 (really, post-2008), billion laughs is a nothing.

And that follows for most XML stuff. If you are getting most bloggable with your tech stack, yes, there are certainly risks to XML (also to YAML, also to JSON--and there are definitely JSON parsers that have had some capital-I Issues out there, and a good number of the popular ones also parse not-JSON too). That said, if you're using anything remotely mainstream you can feel reasonably secure against the sorts of attacks you are likely to see because, TBH, your RSS reader is just not that valuable a target. (Or, in my case--the podcast service I'm writing.)


Bunch of webheads that thinks JS is the end all be all of languages...


There's nothing "wrong" with XML but with JSON there's no need to add another 5 pounds (2.2 KG) of JavaScript to convert XML to JavaScript objects. For any other language it doesn't matter since you're re-mapping to objects, most likely, but with JavaScript eating the web (even on the server side) I think the question should be "why shouldn't this be JSON" as a default. In the end either way works. I would love to see Google Reader resurrected... stopped reading blogs and switched to Twitter and Hacker News once Reader died.


> There's nothing "wrong" with XML but with JSON there's no need to add another 5 pounds (2.2 KG) of JavaScript to convert XML to JavaScript objects

Non web-dev guy here, but browsers have excellent XML parses out there that can turn XML into a document object with a fully fledged query language. Why does it need to be a JS object?


I have an old wordpress blog that I would love to introduce to whatever XML reader you would suggest.


Alternatively, if all you're doing is supporting RSS, you could opt to just use the DOMParser API (native to most browsers) and navigate a DOMTree which is a type of JavaScript Object already...


Yes, and while we are at it. Can we make HTML JSON based, as well?

    { 
       "head" : [...],
       "body" : [ { "name" : "H1", "text" : "Hello JSON" },
                   ... ]
    }
So much easier on the eye. ; )


Ditching HTML for CommonMark (like MarkDown but without any daring fireballs) would be better IMO. Then again, the designers of HTML had no idea what it would become when they carved out a subset of SGML for their document markup. If we were starting over perhaps a mix of XAML for app-stuff and CommonMark for text would be a good mix... unless that totally screws up i18n. "It is what we have and it seems to work" explains HTML somewhat adequately.


Please. :)


Yeah certainly, then later we can port public signeage to JSON too. {"prohibition": {"act": "pissing", "message": "Please do not urinate on the wall", "code": 1232}}.


Why stop there? Let's go to cap'n proto or protobuf.


That's probably the least important issue that could be addressed.


I came here looking for this comment.


Sorry, no. RSS and Atom already does the job.

https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/standards.png


Why didn't you link to the comic to allow Munroe to gain views/advertisement revenue/etc.?


Because XKCD doesn't have any of that and he explicitly supports hotlinking?


RSS and/or Atom should primarily look at improving the format specification. both formats are woefully underspecified in some parts, leading to a lot of headaches for RSS parser writers, since RSS generators play fast and loose with the rules, and will take any possible and impossible shortcut just to make it a bit easier for themselves.


Would anyone be interested in an RSS social network that allows you to

1. Pull in RSS news streams

2. Automatically generate your own RSS streams from your posts (and re-shares)

3. Provides content curation over the RSS streams amongst your friends that are subscribed on the same streams

4. Presents previews with images and scraped data in a 3/4-column summary layout that is easy to skim


There are already protocols out there that do that. Ostatus and Activitypub being two. Some examples of social networks already using them are GNU Social and Mastodon.


I dont think any of the above social sites allow you to directly consume i.e. the hackers news rss stream on your timeline


One of the primary issue with these alternative social networks is the lack of good content, RSS integration should honestly be one of their main priorities.


I think this could take off... I've been kicking around thoughts on makings something along these lines with wordress + buddypress + bp my home...

the trick is curation .. adding option for negative keywords per feed or something.. having other people you could follow or pull an opml into your own profile / page..

maybe it needs to become more like pin boards where people can sort in more general groups, and then make it more visual as well.

I personally enjoyed the taptu app for it's visual layouts options with rss.. until it shutdown. RssDemon (premium version - no ads) has been a similar replacement for me with mobile devices.

I do think this kind of thing could create network effects easy. I'd use it like a renaissance of netvibes / myyahoo feed pages that were cool back in the day.

Now that I think of it, I probably stopped using those because they lacked the visuals, which should be easy to add these days.


Couldn't agree more.

This kinda of `anti-active` pattern where you only take the output (no need to read the news online), could also be applied to SaaS products.

You don't need to use the product, you just take the tech output that matters to your business.

Recently wrote a thing on the topic: The Next Generation of SaaS Won’t Optimize for User Engagement

While reading these comments, it popped up in my mind.

[0] https://www.plainflow.com/blog/next-generation-saas-user-eng...


I still use RSS (or alike) for almost all of my regular news consumption, in combination with Feedly. Works way better than anything Facebook or Twitter can offer - in fact, they are not even on the same category. If you want momentary distraction or some lighthearted content from your friends/family - go Facebook. If you want to consume information in an organized way - use an RSS reader. There's nothing better.


Now is also a great time to change that font-size


RSS is one of my favorite formats. An RSS reader is always the focus of my pet projects when I need to learn a new language.


In case the site is timing out for you like it is me.

https://web.archive.org/web/20180423210101/https://neflabs.c...


Thing is, RSS needs to change to become more user friendly. Yes it's really easy to understand, but it's a hell of a lot easier for someone to type "fa"<enter> in their browser to get their 'currated' news than some specialised app.


but facebook is also a specialized app? what's stopping you from typing "fe"<enter> in your browser to get your news feed?


Shameless plug: I made a small RSS to email service, which I use to keep up to date on rarely updated feeds. Has been working well for me.

Give it a test at https://mailtheblog.com


I tried to use RSS and I added some websites I liked. However, websites have too much articles nowadays and many news sites have the same stories. I am going to need filtering and grouping of articles in order to use RSS again.


I love reading news via RSS using my piece of software[1].

[1] https://github.com/tjadowski/rsspodder


A RSS/ATOM reader with a social aspect (comments) would be cool.



Looks interesting, but there's not Android app unfortunately.


That is true, not yet. And in theory it's kind of compatible with https://indieweb.org/ but in practice I haven't been able to find out how to connect my website to this community so they can read it too in their app.


Related: HN has third party customizable RSS feeds. https://edavis.github.io/hnrss/


Is this actually happening? Are there paid RSS products?


There're various freemium RSS services that cropped up after Google Reader shut down.

https://zapier.com/blog/best-rss-feed-reader-apps/ lists a few.


It’s starting to feel like everyone is jumping on the write-an-article-about-reviving-RSS bandwagon.

Not disagreeing with the premise, but I think I’ve seen at least a half-dozen articles saying the same thing in the last few weeks. Can’t help but wonder if it’s getting click-baity (or perhaps click-hungry) every time I see yet-another-RSS-is-back-baby.


RSS & DAT could be the foundation of a wonderful decentralized social platform.


Link is broken. Anyone have an alternative so others can read this article?


newsboat <3


Having just got back into RSS in the last week, I tried newsboat and found it does at least what I needed it to, from the terminal, without it adding features that get in the way. I haven't looked for anything else.


it helps control my compulsory feed checking being in term. was a google reader fan from the beginning, and have tried and paid for most of the replacements. newsboat is fast, light and super easy on my data plan (1.5hrs/day on bus). my triage and read below...

browser "links" macro l set browser "open -a Safari %u"; open-in-browser ; set browser "links" define-filter "Starred" "flags = \"s\"" macro m "edit-flags" s; ENTER macro k "edit-flags" ''; ENTER


Did anyone else notice how corporations like Twitter and Facebook quietly tried to kill RSS in the past 10 years?

RSS is a wonderful technology with embodies the spirit of the Internet. Facebook and Twitter are, by comparison, cancer.

I often recommend WordPress to folks as an alternative for blogging, because it is free and has RSS functional out of the box.


Exactly!

The social media platforms have effectively "devoured" and "engulfed" the very idea behind RSS in order to exploit the political economy of content publication, for monopoly.

When Google Reader has been shut down in 2013, it had left millions of loyal fans behind who had loved and used the platform over the years. There had been a strong disappointment, especially in communities like Reddit, HN and Slashdot. Reader platform still seems to have been missed even today [2].

Judging by the range of Google products that had got shut down along with the Reader [2] that time, it seems that it had been a strategic move to preserve their interests in rising social media and mobile market.

Google had failed to "build products that people love," by betraying what people loved.

With Google killing the Reader, Twitter shutting down support for RSS, AI having had started deciding what is most relevant for you, and feeds having buried behind giant walls of API interfaces,

Legacy of Aaron Swartz had been turned into "social media," the new television!

1: https://www.reddit.com/r/google/comments/897hr1/i_made_mocku...

2: https://googleblog.blogspot.com.tr/2013/03/a-second-spring-o...


Excuse me, but I need to put it out there: how exactly is RSS useful if the sources themselves (websites) are more and more biased? I believe nowadays, people are interested in "content", not in "source". As long as the content is valid and trustworthy, I don't care if it's on social media or an RSS feed.

As a matter of fact, my problem with RSS is that I can't be sure the websites I'm receiving their notifs are going to keep up the good work and are not "deviated" or "biased" after a while. RSS is solid, but it's also rigid, meaning that it relies on websites to deliver you content. Other alternatives (such as news aggregators) do the reverse: they bring you content based on your own interests and regardless of where that news was published in. I think this is way better than "blindly" trusting our favorite websites to tell us the truth.


A website has an editorial perspective and voice of its own. Their biases are known and can be accounted for when you read them.

News aggregators are having editorial decisions made by the vagaries of some opaque voting algorithm and get gamed by motivated actors and bots. If manipulative bias is your concern, aggregators are way worse.


What's never failed me is to remain sceptical of everything you read on the internet and verify sources.


Twitter used to have RSS versions of every profile, accessible through api.twitter.com without credentials. It was awesome. They retired it years ago...

I took the time to make a proxy (Twitter API to RSS), and though I did write a few more, a lot more services still provide feeds (such as YouTube, Reddit, Steam, GitHub) than I thought they would. RSS is still going strong.


YouTube killed it's new subscription videos feed a few years ago, it's no longer possible to get a single combined feed of new videos from all channels you're subscribed to. The only alternative is to export the entire subscription list in OPML format (youtube at least provides this) and import them into a feed reader.

I stopped subscribing to channels on YouTube after this and only subscribe in my RSS reader, because it was too difficult to manage synchronizing subscriptions between the two.


RSS is a(n) (open) secret club these days.


Would you be willing to release the code for this? I'd like to run one myself.


Can't remember the name, but there is at least one open source self hosted tool that allows you to subscribe to tweets via RSS. I used it to follow an author who had neither mailing list nor website.



https://github.com/RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge creates rss for many popular services.


Not just them. After last week's discussion, I noticed this week that, while Rick Steves does podcasts, I had to hunt for the RSS feeds page hosted on his own website. WTF?

My usual policy for podcasts is, RSS subscription or else. Ain't got time to visit the damn website. Science Friday tried that for a while and soon went back.


Most podcasts that I've encountered lately don't have RSS feeds listed. You have to view source to find the URLs. The Internet needs to revive that open technology culture.

Instead of Facebook/Twitter/G+/etc. subscribe to RSS feeds.

Instead of Medium, use WordPress/Hugo/Metalsmith/etc. on Netlify/Surge/Github etc.

Instead of Mac, use GNU/Linux.

Etc.


> You have to view source to find the URLs.

In Firefox, do Right Click->View Page Info. The "Feeds" tabs lists the links.

There are also extensions (e.g. "Awesome RSS") that will put a symbol in your URL bar.


Thanks, I didn't know that. Mozilla should make that more prominent so that users who don't know what RSS/ATOM is could "subscribe to this website" with just a click.


That was funny.

Mozilla used to make that more prominent. Most users didn't care, because they still didn't know what that weird icon meant. That was ultimately the downfall of RSS - the web tech scene never managed to communicate to the average user what RSS was good for, what it did, and how to use it.

The issue isn't "not knowing about RSS/ATOM". You don't need to. The same way e.g. you don't need to know what the octane numbers for gasoline mean. What you do need to know is what it does for you, and that answer has always been "not enough to satisfy the hassle".

(A good chunk of the blame here goes to all the larger, traffic-hungry web sites that only published excerpts via RSS, with a click-through link. It transformed a useful feed into a rather useless list of self-updating bookmarks)


You can add the RSS toolbar button manually, see https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/795692


It wasn't done the right way in the past. Sometimes an implementation is 80% right and you just need to do a few things to get to 100%.

It needs a better name than RSS/Atom. It should sound like English: "Subscribe to this website with <better name>." (same icon)

"Really Simple Syndication" and acronyms cause non-technical people to shut down. It's a foreign language. (Edit: "Atom" would be a good name, because it's plain English, and probably a better format too.)

RSS/Atom didn't decline because of Mozilla -- it declined when Google killed Google reader.

The information overload could be solved with machine learning algorithms (run locally in the client) that sort posts into a "featured" folder.

There are solutions to all of the current issues with RSS/Atom.


"Feed" is pretty common. But you still will only know what it means if you know what it is :)


> you still will only know what it means if you know what it is

That's the problem with RSS/Atom. "Feed reader" doesn't mean anything to most people. "Subscribe to this website" does.


Interesting. In the original post, I clicked on the RSS "link" towards the bottom. Firefox invited me to subscribe via "Live Bookmarks," a Firefox browser feature that may pre-date Google Reader. It's a good name for non-technical people, but I don't know how many people have used it. I'm not even sure how it works.


You don't even need an extension. Enter Customise mode (in the menu, or right click on a toolbar button), then drag the Subscribe icon to your toolbar.


Syndicate (https://redalemeden.com/syndicate/) works similarly well for Safari.


>You have to view source to find the URLs.

IME you just open the page in the podcast program - it extracts the rss feeds from the appropriate tags automatically, promoting for ambiguity (this is with antennapod (Android)).


It depends on the program.


>Instead of Mac, use GNU/Linux.

Bought my first Macbook pro after being a linux/ThinkPad guy since 2008.

I'm probably never going back to Linux on a laptop. I actually have working suspend and resume, plus it's Unix-like under the hood. Trackpad actually works without a bunch of ugly hacks since they deprecated synaptics drivers. no systemd, etc.

I spend almost no time fiddling with my system nowadays. I want to use my lap top, not just configure it every time systemd breaks something and I have to switch distros or window managers to get away from it.

I still like Linux on the server but in my opinion quality ux requires someone to get paid to do the un glamorous work like fixing compatibility issues and corner cases.


When was the last time you bought a ThinkPad? This is my third one and suspend works. The Trackpad is great, with three buttons. 24 Gb of RAM, 11+ hour battery life in Linux, and a 4-year at-home next-day repair plan. It was $1,900 including tax, shipping, and support. Macs are much more expensive for worse specs.

This computer "just worked" out of the box, and there is full freedom to tinker with the system. I think the industry should get away from the idea that everything needs to work out of the box anyway.


Im actually going to make the order for a new thinkpad today, to run NixOs on.

What specs and model do you have? Are there any tips, or something you wish you knew? My config reaches >€2500 quite fast.


I got a T460 with i7-6600U CPU @ 2.60GHz.

I always research the models online before buying: "<make> <model> <distro>". I'm running Ubuntu 16.04 on it at the moment.

The next-day at-home support has been great. They have come to my home and replaced motherboards on the kitchen table with no questions asked.

It has two batteries, which added a little weight, but I rarely think about power outlets any more.

I can't think of anything else, but if you have any specific questions let me know.


Neat! This will be my first thinkpad since ~2005.

I’ve been eyeing the X1Carbon. What made you select T460? Do you feel that it’s portable enough to bike/walk around with and use in cafes etc?

I guess what I’m really wondering is, with all different models (7 different choices in the T series, and then X and P) how can you select one? I’m in analysis paralysis.


You should ask more questions in /r/thinkpad[0]. But here's a quick summary for the models that matter for tech people:

- T4XX = 14", T5XX = 15", X2XX = 12"

- The middle number is the last number of the year (T460/X260: 2016, T470/X270: 2017 etc.).

- The T-series has had three models per year, the normal with no ending letters that has an external battery, allows you to replace parts and is mainly meant as a durable corporate workhorse. The s-version is more for consumers, with usually better choices for panels and building material, but more integrated parts and less amount of maximum available memory; no replaceable external battery. The p-version means performance, so the laptop is bulkier but holds a faster 35W CPU.

- P-series are workstations. The s-model holds a ULV CPU, but the normal P51 and P71 can have Xeon/Quadro level parts. They're either 15" or 17" and for some mysterious reason annoy everybody with an off-center keyboard and a numpad.

- X1 Carbon is a 14" ultralight laptop with usually the best screens and best building materials.

- From the consumer models, the only thing that matters is the Yoga series. Don't have any experience from those, but people seem to like them.

[0] https://reddit.com/r/thinkpad


I wish Lenovo would let me find this out somehow! Thank you - you have made it much clearer, and now I know I will buy a T with replaceable battery.

I wish laptop makers (and ALL other business) would make less cluttered, less designed websites. Danluu.com is the prime example of great design for me. I wish I could have found your great comment without having to bother people on HN. Thank you!


Just one more tip that you should know: it's always a good idea to buy them used after corporations dump them out. Now there's lots of T460 models available with a ridiculously low price tags. They are fast, they last a nuclear war, they have superb keyboards and ebay is just full of them... This is the biggest reason why people love the corporate ThinkPads.

We're happy to help in /r/thinkpad and ##thinkpad @ freenode.


Yeah, Dell and Lenovo sites are an absolute mess


I work with a T460 (my employer only works with Lenovo laptops). Oh my God, I'll never buy one for myself. After a year, the battery last like 2 hours and the touchpad is shit. The only cool thing it is the dock. This is my second Lenovo laptop and no again, thanks.


I'm not familiar with the Carbon series. My other two Thinkpads were T-series, so I think I just started my search with what I knew.

I walk a lot with this computer and work from cafes all the time. It could be lighter, but it's fine.

I want to try NixOs, but haven't had time yet.


I have a 5th gen X1 Carbon. Great machine in every aspect but RAM, and runs Linux flawlessly. It has 8GB RAM, which is more than enough for Linux plus developer containers, but not quite enough for running VMs; and it is soldered to the motherboard and thus non-upgradeable.

My setup cost ~1.5k€ (base setup plus larger NVRAM, better screen) although if you add touch screen, 3G and other bells and whistles you get to 3k€ pretty fast. I wouldn't add any hard requirement over the base machine.


I love my "couple year old" ThinkPad. Relating to suspend, the only problem I have is that there seems to be some kind of window. If I close the lid and then remove the power within a couple of seconds, suspend fails and the machine continues to run in my backpack. If I unplug the power first, then close the lid, it suspends properly.

I have a couple thoughts on how to debug it, but honestly... I haven't had the inclination to invest that much time in it, and the "unplug-then-close" habit has become so ingrained that I'm only burned by this about once every other month or so now.


Dell Latitudes also work great with Linux, in my experience. They are pretty solid since that's the business line. Bonus, you can get cheap used ones or parts for quite awhile.


"I spend almost no time fiddling with my system nowadays."

And this is perhaps the main difference. You stopped tinkering.

You can install a Linux distro aimed a people not interested in tinkering and it will likely just work.

"... but in my opinion quality ux requires someone to get paid to do the un glamorous work like fixing compatibility issues and corner cases."

There are in fact quite of bunch of people getting paid to fix compatibility issues and corner cases.

Try buying hardware from a Linux-based vendor.


> And this is perhaps the main difference. You stopped tinkering.

Or stopped tinkering with their work machine so that they could spend more time tinkering with things that they actually wanted to tinker with


You should also stick to a workstation linux release. I'm a huge fan of OpenSUSE if you just want hardware to work, it has the hands down best hardware support of any release I've used.

The only drawback is every wonky package out there is built for Ubuntu, for example Spotify's linux client.

However, if you want a basic system that works, OpenSUSE is the way to go.


I stopped tinkering with my system configuration and started using it for the things I want to do as opposed to the things that get in my way.

>You can install a Linux distro aimed a people not interested in tinkering and it will likely just work.

Ubuntu didn't "just work". Is it aimed at tinkerers?


> no systemd, etc.

systemd was very much inspired by macOS's launchd, they're very similar in many ways.


Nitpick — it's not Unix-like, it is Unix.


I'm actually surprised you didn't like systemd, since it was modelled (in part) after launchd from macOS. Same for systemd utilities like logind; even the name was taken from macOS logind.


I find systemd to be an over engineered pile of trash that keeps infecting more and more of the Linux ecosystem because nobody wants to stand up to redhat and their push for more poetteringware


I haven't had a laptop that doesn't support suspend and resume in years. It's worth looking at again in 2018. It's gotten a lot better.


I also had many ... But allways mixed results.

Soostly it worked, bu no allways. But I like to rely on it - and no loose da


I'm on my fourth Thinkpad (T42, T420, T440, now X220i) and all of them have worked perfectly with Linux, including suspend and hibernation.


Interesting, I bought $200 Lenovo laptop: touchpad, suspend, and hibernate all work out of the box


How is something that doesn't publish an RSS feed even considered a podcast? I hate how there's "Spotify only" "podcasts" now. If I can't subscribe to a feed in a client of my choice, it's not a podcast.


Drives me crazy too.


Or there was a big trend where they only links were to an itunes page which a) requires itunes to be installed because b) there is no direct link for the rss feed.

I had to write a scraper to find the underlying rss feed for itunes only podcasts.


Do the iTunes only podcast feeds need auth to access? Would you be willing to open source this?


No need really, I found how to extract the rss feed just by searching:

https://superuser.com/questions/78415/get-rss-feed-from-itun...

Maybe Apple will change/throttle the endpoint in the future but for now it's not authenticated.


Yeah you're not losing by syndicating a podcast if you're selling ads on your program you just want as wide a reach as possible.


Don't forget Google. In fact, it's not just RSS; it's other open standards (e.g. XMPP) that they embraced initially, then dropped.


Google’s Reader fiasco did more to kill RSS than any other actor in the community before or since. Cornering the market damaging their AdWords business with a free product subsidized by that very business and then shutting it down was really gross.


FWIW, YouTube still has RSS available:

  https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=CHANNELID
  https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?user=USERNAME
  https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?playlist_id=YOUR_YOUTUBE_PLAYLIST_NUMBER

You used to be able to go into your subscription manager and download an OPML file with the RSS feeds for your subscriptions. I'm unable to find that buton anymore though.


You can still download the OPML file you just click export to RSS reader at the bottom of this page: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_manager


Youtube used to have an rss feed for a search term, it was very useful.

Now we have to web scrape the results page because their api requires authentication and who wants to use that for results that are public anyways. I sure don't.

Rss worked great and they removed it. Boo.


Embrace, extend, and extinguish is alive and well. This time it's not MS though.


Last weekend I was reading about RCS, Google's effort to update SMS. They have signed on a lot of partners and I wonder why any of them trust Google to follow through? Telecom companies like technology that ages over decades whereas Google seems to evaluate things fiscal quarter to fiscal quarter.


.. and also how they force people to adopt it when it is convenient? ie Facebook making you privately specify RSS feeds for Instant Articles through their system (but not public ones that other people can use)


I think you hit it head on with this. It seems to be a control thing first and foremost. The worst nightmare is that you will grab their content in a text only format with no ads.


Yep, capital has viewed the interwebs main purpose as a massive direct marketing platform.


It's a very blinkered view. There's plenty of RSS feeds with text based adverts at the bottom of each article, and as most RSS reader apps show the article content in HTML, normal image based ads can work as well. So it's totally do-able to include advertising in RSS. A layperson wouldn't know how to strip the advert out either.


Yes, but advertisers (you know, Google's actual customers) don't like it, because they get less control over the appearance of their ads, and way fewer metrics/information about click rates etc.

It might also just be less effective than in-page advertising. Google and its peers probably know the truth of that, but I don't know if there are any reliable comparative studies in that area that don't fall into the "we tried to cram exactly the same strategy/campaign/content we would put in a banner ad into an RSS feed and got no uptick in sales" trap, but I'd love to read up on that area.

Regardless, the bandwagon effect of "traditional" online advertising is such that RSS is at best an (at present) tiny new frontier that would require advertisers to re-learn or change a lot of their content strategy, and at worst an actively advertiser-hostile platform.

Those are just observations; not statements of should/should-not.


I'm a big fan of Feedbin, because it lets you subscribe to any Twitter user's profile as a normal feed and browse it too. It means I can subscribe to 10 or so people I really don't want to miss and get their updates exactly like I would a normal feed.

https://feedbin.com/


Love feedbin. I've been using it since Google Reader died and it's been rock solid. Also nice that they have vim-like commands built in.


>I often recommend WordPress to folks as an alternative for blogging

Didn't blogging start on wordpress/blogger/livejournal?


Links.net and Scripting.com were blogs before the term existed. And Movable Type, Greymatter, and numerous other blogging tools existed long before WordPress, which was relatively late to the game (and technically a fork of a prior project).

Nowadays, we also have more modern tools like Jekyll, Ghost or whatever for blogging.


Movable Type preceded WordPress by a couple of years or so, FWIW.


LiveJournal predated Movable Type by two years.


Finger's got them all beat by a few decades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_protocol


id Software used finger heavily during the 90s with regular .plan updates.

There's an archive of John Carmack's .plan files here:

https://github.com/ESWAT/john-carmack-plan-archive


Static websites with blogs/regular entries predated even livejournal


This.

Blogging predates all blogging services, platforms, and software. Blogging was invented by early web pioneers. The corporations followed in the Gold Rush of the 1990s dot-com bubble, and they've been trying to monetize our social lives ever since.

Nowadays, thanks to marketing machines and television talking heads, nobody has "websites" anymore, we have "blogs".


I think I first blogged in the early 2000's with Blog Spot (which became Blogger). It was great.


But not the others:

1999 LiveJournal

1999 Blogger

2001 Movable Type

2003 WordPress


while not blog "software", one could say that the contents of an html directory exposed by, for example, http://weirdmachinehostname.university.edu/~username/ were the earliest blogs. Hand crafted HTML homepages and such.


Hmm nah, I remember “blogging” explicitly meant drafting and publishing posts directly from a website form, as opposed to crafting HTML documents and uploading them over FTP (which was what people did at the time and obviously complained about.)


The word "blog" appeared a few months before the infrastructure to draft and publish posts directly from a website form. And the concept of diaries/weblogs that it designated was a few years older.


B2/Cafelog (from where Mike/Matt forked to WordPress) was also 2001.

I dumped MT (due to my Perl-aversion) for B2 and then onto the WordPress fork when B@ founder Valdrighi stopped active development of it.


Whilst not an open blog platform, CmdrTaco of Slashdot claims his Slashdot prototype 'Chips and Dips' which he created in 1997, was one of the first 'blogs'.


RSS has no analytics. that's the big weakness. RSS has been stripped of content even in most other blogs, substituting it for links back to the main sites, which is a workable compromise for webmaster but not one that helps readers. yahoo pipes where a stopgap for a while, until yahoo pulled the plug.

I think what's needed is an intrusive format that delivers metrics and tracking. sure it'd be another tool for control and manipulation, but we'd at least have back the ability to read our news centralized.


RSS doesn't need analytics. If you want analytics, put them on the links in the feed. If you want to know that people are reading the link at all, either put in an invisible pixel, or just include a paragraph with a [more...] link.


RSS feeds that provide a paragraph (or less) and a "more..." link make me unsubscribe immediately. I'm most often reading my feeds when offline or on the go, and not having the full article makes it worthless.


Readers don’t need/want analytics though, so this is a friction between content accessibility and businesses tracking usage


> RSS has no analytics.

Great! Another selling point.


I agree, but realistically speaking that is why it’s being fought by content providers whether we the techies like it or not


Let it be fought by them all the time. Useful websites will have an RSS feed. It's a nice filter, IMO.


that's kind of an ivory tower argument. "let's people don't have nice thing, we know what's best for them." meanwhile, most normal use don't gives a damn if the site track their behavior and post relevant ads, as long as they get quality content and ads aren't abusive they believe it's a fair bargain.


No, more like "instead of trying to tame bad actors making compromises, we refrain from them and tell others to do so too".


"ads aren't abusive"

"believe"


Believe it or not, some people make high-quality content on the internet with the expectation of compensation.

The current state of advertising is ethically and technically questionable in many ways. But the idea of advertising as a revenue model is not.


Ethical advertising is pretty much a unicorn. I don't deny that it's possible but I would struggle to find even a single example of it in the wild.


I guess Deck Network was an example of that. Most of the 5-6 ads I intentionally clicked ever was theirs. There were also similar networks like Carbon.


As there were quite a few analytics companies for RSS when it was more popular, your comment couldn’t be further from the truth. The founder of one of the most popular RSS analytics firms (FeedBurner) later went on to be the CEO of twitter in fact.


As a frequent RSS user, I don't mind when feeds use links back to the main site. I personally use RSS to notify me when a new article is posted.


As a frequent RSS user, I want to read the content in my preferred environment with my preferred contrast, colors and font. Many years ago I decided to not follow people who only put a crippeled version of their content into my RSS reader. If they don't want to be read, that's ok, they're pleanty others with better content anyway which I gladly read instead.


Any chance you know of a good list of full uncrippled rss feeds?


I'm not quite sure what you mean, aren't list of things to read very personal and dependent on the taste and interests of the person?

My website has full feed: https://jeena.net/all.atom and so have blogs like Kottke http://feeds.kottke.org/main Marco Arment https://marco.org/rss Scott Hanslemann http://feeds.hanselman.com/ScottHanselman and most of the personal blogs you can find out there.

But as I said, I most probably didn't quite get the question.


But otherwise there are plugins like https://tt-rss.org/oldforum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=1539 to replace the short content in a RSS feed with the full content from the Website.


Embedded images?

I don't think the big weakness is lack of tracking, really, I think the big weakness is consumer adoption. The average person (outside of the journalist/influencer-types that continue to bemoan the loss of Google Reader) doesn't care to use feeds. Podcasts (based on feeds) are still held back by the idea that you have to figure out how to subscribe to a show.


RSS is a protocol, not a service. Email doesn't have analytics, nor does html or http or any other protocol. Analytics is functionality you connect to services or tools, generating logs of how you use something. It's not on the same level of abstraction as a protocol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS


How come it doesn't? I'm a paying subscriber of Ars Technica so I have unique personified URLs to access various of their feeds. You also can include images from the web into the feed and most of the clients will gladly render it. There are myriads of tricks you can use to collect data.


RSS is a protocol, not a service. Email doesn't have analytics, nor does html or http or any other protocol. Analytics is functionality you connect to services or tools, generating logs of how you use something. It's not on the same level of abstraction as a protocol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS


That's what feedburner was for and looking back it's so obvious why google bought them.


I was Google with their most popular Reader client that in practice 'killed' RSS, to get users on their shiny new G+.


WordPress still doesn't support postgres.


Which, to the general public, doesn't matter one iota.

Luckily, there's other platforms that, apart from giving you more options wrt your database backend, embrace newer PHP practices and versions a whole lot quicker.


If you are old enough, you should remember Web Services, a RSS fork by Microsoft, then came REST as a lightweight WS that just works for 99% of the Internet. So RSS never actually died but just evolved into many different forms.


> Facebook and Twitter are, by comparison, cancer.

How are FB and Twitter comparable to RSS? And how are they trying to kill it? Like they're not supporting it on their platform? If so, why should I care? Or do you mean "they're conspiring to kill it across the Internet", in which case please elaborate.

EDIT: I'm getting downvoted; I can only assume people are interpreting my comment as vouching for FB/Twitter, which couldn't be further from the truth. I can be (and am) confused by his wording without supporting big social media companies. :)


They are a way to subscribe to notifications of updates from your favorite content providers. But they don't use a standards-conformant protocol when consuming those notifications.

By becoming popular, they reduce content providers' incentive to support RSS. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.


Both Facebook and Twitter DID support RSS, both, for years.

Each corporation decided to eliminate RSS from their platform around 3 to 5 years ago, because they wanted complete control over the distribution of "their" content (OUR social lives).

It's difficult to discuss this subject without running into this gigantic elephant in the room which is that the behavior of corporate "social media" giants is exploitative, bordering on criminal, and absolutely contradicts the best interest of the public, our nation, the internet, and intelligent life. This has really served to spotlight some of the problems with free market capitalism.


I used to wish I could publish my email correspondence as a RSS feed, to which the "recipients" could more selectively subscribe.

So they're always engaged in seeking the information they need, which is so duplicated between correspondence and emails, I could even avoid copy and paste.

This was when I didn't get funny looks for suggesting that I send a email.

Did anyone else notice how regular people seem to have been killing off email and all forms of communication that require any configuration, lately?

Edit: configuration, not confirmation


Haven't you just described a blog though?


Sounds more like a newsletter to me. Let people subscribe to the newsletter, send out an email blast once a day/week/month.


But then by RSS, which makes it a web thing, which sure sounds like a blog.


Nothing is free. WordPress is also a blogging platform first and foremost.


I think you're being downvoted as there is both wordpress.com (which you correctly state is a blogging platform) and then wordpress.org (the open source PHP application anyone can freely install on anything from shared hosting on up).

At even a cursory glance, independent Wordpress installs vastly outnumber the number of domains hosted on wordpress.com


Well you can get a VPS for $2.50/mo these days with half a gig of ram, more than enough to handle 5-15 simultaneous visitors on your average WordPress blog.

The WordPress software IS free. The WordPress.com service is not, as you pay for it by attaching their domain name to yours thereby providing them free advertising.

Also, there's nothing to stop you from hosting your personal blog on your personal internet connection. Even if you don't have a static IP there's ways to solve that.


and a slightly bigger ram vps could easily add buddypress with the "BP My Home plugin" and you could give all of your family and friends their own home page profiles with whichever rss feeds they want on their own profile page. This is something I have been kicking around for a while.

This past week I've been researching ways to incorporate the blacklisting and such from a different rss aggregator plugin to give people custom weighting options within them.


After peeking at that BP My Home Plugin - wouldn't your use case also be covered by Nextcloud with a sprinkling of apps? There's a very capable RSS reader available, notes apps, calendar with CalDAV support, address book with CarDAV support, and so on. Depending on what you're actually trying to set up, that might work better than trying to shoehorn functionality into a blogging platform.


I've been meaning to spin up some nextcloud and experiment with the options. It does sound like it's very close to many things I've been wanting to put together as an option for family, friends, and whoever to spin up their own watercooler making a facebook replacement.

Having some experience with BP, it's really easy to get running, and even easier for other people to create a profile and start using it. Is there options with nextcloud for family and friends to join in any of the modules and have their own slice within it?

I'd love an easy button for people to get hosting and spin up a well defaulted nextcould, or buddypress system, or anything similar. With a BP setup, only one person in a family would need to spin up a server and everyone else could use it.. backing up data is the current weakness for easy button with that system, but I see that changing soon.


How do you solve around a non static ip?


Dynamic updates. So long as you're not behind carrier NAT you can find your IP number and update a DNS record. Many DNS providers have a specific service for this, e.g. https://dyn.com/dynamic-dns/ (no affiliation, just used them many years ago for this service).

Many ISPs are switching to carrier NAT though and then you can't host as you don't have a routable IP number.


You could host on Tor, or via a vpn. AirVPN provides static port forwarding.



Did Twitter[0] kill RSS or is that mode of expression not conducive for it?

Evan Williams (Blogger Founder, RSS -> Twitter co-founder, No-RSS -> Medium founder, RSS[1]) has explored many of these modalities. He probably decided Twitter didn't need RSS.

Maybe we're all learning about the health of certain forms of discourse?

https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/articles/214874118-RSS-feed...

[0]: https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/articles/214874118-RSS-feed... [1]: I lack faith in Facebook given Zuckerberg's historic lack of an ethical compass.


The original REST API had a quasi-RSS feed[0].

[0]: https://twittercommunity.com/t/can-you-get-your-twitter-feed...


I certainly subscribed to Twitter RSS feeds until Twitter eliminated the feeds.

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