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Please Add RSS Support to Your Site (kevq.uk)
904 points by kevq on Aug 27, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 296 comments

I completely agree with this sentiment. Mastodon, or whatever, is fine but RSS is the backbone of blogging.

It always annoys me when sites request permissions to send me notifications - hey idiots, if I like your site I'll subscribe using your RSS feed and read at my pleasure. You don't have one? Bye then.

In my perfect world browsers have RSS support built in and aggregators like Facebook would allow RSS feeds to be published in timelines. This used to be the case and then the winds changed and something was lost. I'll like to see it return.

Where I wrote my blog's static site generator, one of the first features was RSS[0].

[0] https://sheep.horse/rss.xml

Just a heads up, it's great to have an RSS feed, but readers won't automatically detect that you have one. I see you already have a link to your RSS feed so if you put this

  <a rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="/rss.xml">RSS</a>
That then tells all RSS readers that the link is a feed, and the reader will then detect this. Then say if I use Feedly and want to subscribe to your site, I can link to your homepage and it will automatically detect your feed.

You can also use a meta tag instead if you'd prefer not to display a link. More information can be found over MDN[0] and I also created a blog post on the 5 most important things all blogs should do.[1]



D'oh. I thought I had already done this. Thanks for letting me know.

> In my perfect world browsers have RSS support built in and aggregators like Facebook would allow RSS feeds to be published in timelines.

We had this too...Firefox Live Bookmarks, yanked away because their metrics said no one used them...forgetting the kind of person who is techie enough to use RSS feeds is probably techie enough to turn off telemetry :/

I use them to this day in Waterfox, tried the Livemarks addon but its not the same.

Nobody did use them though. They belong in an extension, it's the perfect use case. Pick any of the hundreds. Like this great one: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/awesome-rss/

Also why would you use Waterfox. It's like Firefox ESR, with a few changed settings and much slower security updates.

Why - they work fine, they dont change, they dont add a burden to the existing product?

Taking something that works out of your product doesnt ever make people happy, and its never "the perfect use case" to remove features that work.

Its a "well that's ok that we wont take this on anymore and let those users manage their own problem" use case.

> they dont add a burden to the existing product?

I assume you work in tech, maybe even as a developer. So you know full well that every single unused line of code, let alone an entire feature, adds a maintenance, security, documentation and testing burden.

> and its never "the perfect use case" to remove features that work.

It absolutely is, if it makes those features better and gives them a focused place to develop outside of the core browser.

If you're so upset about it literally go and press one big blue "Add to firefox" button and have all the previous features, and more, back in under 10 seconds.

Yet Pocket is a core part of Firefox instead of an extension.

And many times have I thought that Pocket should also be in an extension and wondered why Mozilla is taking on the first party responsibility for it - maybe they get some partnership money?

Mozilla owns Pocket.

And yet the server-side part is still closed-source.

Mozilla's manifesto is just marketing now — it's obvious they don't really believe it any more.

That's because Mozilla literally owns Pocket, and sure, it's also perfect for an extension. So you can see why they might be willing to take on that maintenance burden for an uptick in usage.

And I'm not sure how that invalidates anything I said above, or really is of any relevance at all.

The relevance is that you said

> Nobody did use them though. They belong in an extension, it's the perfect use case. [...] every single unused line of code, let alone an entire feature, adds a maintenance, security, documentation and testing burden.

And the same holds true for Pocket.

It's not the same thing. At all.

Pocket is used by people and is a feature Mozilla want to prominently integrate with Firefox. This is due to the financial gains they directly get when someone signs up for Pocket premium.

It's not an unused, dusty feature that's adding a burden to the platform and is a net time + money sink. It's something that makes them money.

As I said, in the comment you just replied to, even if nobody did use pocket then this would be a burden they are willing to take. So, comparing RSS feeds to pocket on the fact that it can be implemented as an extension alone is a nonsensical point.

Pocket directly competes against the open web (in the form of RSS/Atom). If Mozilla was a values-based organisation they would be promoting the open web at least as much as they promote their own proprietary system.

If Mozilla offered a browser that people could pay for without having default settings to maximize revenue, the open web could be maintained.

The relevance is that at browser scale, it's the browser that drives adoption, not the other way around. Removing RSS support from the browser makes people use it less. Mozilla understands this, otherwise they wouldn't promote Pocket to browser core.

I’m personally not upset just worried about the fact that security is now a huge risk because you’re having to trust an extension creator that has access to your entire browser history or worse and who is one auto-update from turning to spy or malware.

You also have a discovery problem having to wade through multiple options increasing your surface area to malware exposure.

IIRC this isn’t even theoretical it’s happened with ones that replaced user style sheets, another “unused” feature that was gradually deprecated.

Maybe the best way forward is to take an apple iPhone approach and have official extensions, similar to the apps that come with the iPhone like the podcast one.

Then when these features are removed they are instead moved to an official extension. Thereby mitigating the security risk and alleviating the discovery problems.

The community can take over these extensions and you have a starting point to personally adapt and fork them that is a lot simpler and faster than trying to maintain a browser fork.

Further the browser maker can more directly see usage of these feature replacing extensions

And finally, when removing features ensure the extensions api has the power to support their replacement.

> they dont add a burden to the existing product?

Of course scope creep adds a burden. It's one more thing Mozilla developers have to tend to.

> Also why would you use Waterfox. It's like Firefox ESR, with a few changed settings and much slower security updates.

Waterfox preserves Live Bookmarks, doesn't do telemetry, was unaffected by expired certificate killing all addons (my FF mobile was affected so I basically had no mobile browser for a few days), among other reasons.

I know after a while I will be forced back to Chromified Firefox when development of Waterfox comes to an end, but at least for now, I can stretch out the moment of a non-Googly browser + Live Bookmarks a few more months or years like whats-her-name in Doctor Strange.

Want My RSS is also a pretty good Firefox extension to detect, display and subscribe to RSS feeds https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/want-my-rss/

That’s one of the reasons I have Telemetry turned on. Just to show what I am using, so there’s less reasons to remove something.

Do you think that's what telemetry is actually used for?


But did technie users employ live bookmarks? I love RSS, but I prefer to use readers that keep track of what I've read, mix more than one feed into the same chronological list, and have better presentation than a freaking drop-down menu.

I've used them continuously since 2005. The dropdown menu is just fine to answer the question 'has Twin Dragons webcomic added another post yet'? or 'whats new in the liliputing.com world'? without any context swaps to -> open a new program on desktop or phone and scroll through a (granted, owned by you, not FB) newsfeed for an hour.

Why would I want to turn off the telemetry?

> Mastodon, or whatever, is fine but RSS is the backbone of blogging.

Just for the record, each mastodon-user has its own RSS-feed: https://INSTANCE/@USER.rss

The main difference between web push notifications and RSS is that as the name implies, notifications are pushed to you on the publisher's schedule, whereas you pull down RSS on your own schedule.

Push has several advantages - one is background power consumption (less work for the device to just sit around and wait, vs constantly firing up the network and polling a server). Another is that you get your notifications in real-time.

However, I think push is way overused. Think about all the notifications you receive (way too many, probably). How many of these did you really need to see immediately? An impending food delivery or Uber arrival, sure (but we could also just use phone calls and SMS for these geoimmediate use cases). Online chats, maybe some of them. CNN publishing "breaking news" that's probably wrong anyway because the event is 5 minutes old? Loan offer #257 from the PayPal app? No thanks.

I'd much rather have the latter class of "notifications" batched up and pulled down once every hour or three, with no sound, vibration or visual interruption.

RSS is actually a great solution for that and I think the mobile operating systems should have built it in from day one, with "harass me via beeping and shaking and pushing" as an escalated level of permission that apps need to request specifically.

They didn't because no one is trying to develop user friendly experiences, not Google, not particularly Apple, least of all the people who have been building the browsers. There is a long history of large companies trying to cram push notifications down our throat, starting with Active Desktop and Active Channels in Internet Explorer 4.0. Publishers have wanted this since the dawn of personal computing, because their ultimate dream is to push advertising into your eyeballs without your explicit grant of permission.

Apple, Google, and the people developing the modern Web platform have all failed utterly at preventing them. (Truth be told it has never been a priority, they have always focused on "empowering developers," which really means empowering the publishers that those developers work for.) With phones and garbage like the ads in the Windows 10 Start menu, they finally achieved their dream and we're living in their dystopia today.

You know what they call advertising where the user decides when they receive it? QVC and junk mail. We have a century of advertising practice that is based on interruptions, and giving people control over the (commercial) information they receive is anathema to the entire industry.

> Apple, Google, and the people developing the modern Web platform have all failed utterly at preventing them.

Safari has a preference for "allow websites to ask for permission to send notifications" (you can also set it on a per-site basis.) iOS is scrupulous about requiring permission for notifications and allows you to configure their annoyingness (plus current iOS asks you if you still want notifications for particularly busy senders.)

> Truth be told it has never been a priority

I mean, it seems to be a priority for Apple in Safari and iOS.

I'd agree that Apple is the best of the pack right now and Mozilla is also making some improvements.

I think the web platform has a long way to go however -- considering what a low quality experience surfing the web can often be these days, it may already be too far gone.

I have heard it said that normal people don't use RSS but many power users still do.

I'm now on Netnewswire 5: https://nnw.ranchero.com/ and write a blog: http://jakeseliger.com that includes a lot of link posts. I still use RSS for all the original reasons, even if most of my friends look puzzled by the acronym "RSS." RSS still solves the "too many sites, too little time" problem extremely well, especially for occasionally updated blogs.

Heck, I only read your blog through RSS. Presumably at some point in the past I saw it, thought it was nifty, and added the feed. Haven't visited since.

Same goes for me for at least a 100 sites. I love the RSS feeds: would never consume the content without it.

Has NNW fixed the problem where the cache grows to several dozen gigs? If you're not sure, you may want to check to see how large your cache is.

Are you talking about the old version, the beta of the completely rewritten version, or the final release that was released 2 days ago?

The biggest problem with this model is a lot of RSS feeds only return the latest 5 or so items. So if you haven't opened your RSS reader in some time you might miss the other 10 items they published since you were last on. Google Reader was awesome because it solved this problem, but like all great things from Google it came with an expiration date.

There are some useful replacements to that Google Reader shaped hole in your heart. I'm a happy user of Newsblur, but I've heard nothing but good things for the others in the space like The Old Reader and Feedly.

I’m using TT-RSS to replace Google Reader. It’s easily self hosted and there are several compatible apps on Android and iOS.

I'm building a service that uses RSS. My solution to the problem is just to store every unique item in my database so I'll have a contiguous stream of articles.

Can you add Json RSS too please! :)

Possibly. JSON RSS is such a strange format though imo. A solution looking for a problem.

A Feed reader "requires" a server component, it's true that client-side only feed readers are very limited, unless you never leave you computer offline.

I'm a happy user of Miniflux (hosted myself), but there are many alternatives. https://miniflux.app/

I use Brief, a Firefox extension. It downloads items in the background while Firefox is open, which seems to be often enough that I don't miss anything.

Is there a way to auto-reject "show you notifications"? I don't ever see myself saying "Allow" to that pop-up.

Firefox has the option to "block new requests asking to allow notifications". Just check under Preferences > Privacy & Security > Permissions.

Most sites will show a custom box first, and only if you agree to that box, will they ask the browser to enable notifications. They do it so that they can ask you again if you deny, because responding “deny” to the real browser prompt blocks any future attempts.

Done, thanks! Glad I recently switched over from Chrome to Firefox on most of my systems. :-)

I don’t know about other browsers but you can turn that off inside Firefox‘s privacy settings.

> forgetting the kind of person who is techie enough to use RSS feeds is probably techie enough to turn off telemetry

More like they have no choice but to ignore them because these are users who explicitly chose to be ignored.

If you want your usage patterns to affect product decisions in a product you use, then don't disable telemetry for that product. You can't have it both ways.

FWIW, there are very few companies who go to as much lengths as Mozilla to optimize for user privacy in their approach to telemetry: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2018/10/testing-privacy-preserving...

Or, hear me out because will sound like crazy talk nowadays, you could simply listen to your users.

Most successful companies do both. Listening to your users is of course important, but it can't be a wholesale replacement for data driven aggregate behavior analysis because people have their own biases can forget things (and sometimes lie) and individual feedback can't be easily generalized to your entire population of users past a certain scale.

Web server logs, API call logs, etc don't go anywhere, though, even with 3rd party cookies and mouse movement tracking disabled.

Hmm, I wonder if a browser extension could redirect a web site's notifications to an RSS feed? This might be a good way to revive RSS.

I'm reminded about how some RSS readers support converting email newsletters to a feed.

Opera 12 had RSS built in and I used it a lot. It provided an icon in the address bar whenever a site included an RSS feed in the site's meta tags.

Having struggled with RSS in the past, I will give a few reasons of why I ended up removing RSS from my blog:

1. RSS traffic trickled down to almost nothing. Hardly anyone uses RSS any more as a daily reader^1.

2. Spammers were using my RSS feed to wholesale copy the content from my blog. Identical copies of my blog went up in several different locations, each with their own copy of ads from the scammers. Some of these blogs ranked higher than mine for certain search terms. Google would eventually catch on and remove them, but it was like playing whack a mole.

3. We did not make any money from the RSS feed. Even if we did find a way to monetize it (injecting ads into the feed, for example), see #1.

As a techie, yes yes yes I would like to have an RSS feed. But from a business standpoint, it doesn't make any sense these days.

^1: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=r...

To address #3, provide only the title and a very brief excerpt in your feed with a link to the full monetized post.

Yup. I wouldn’t subscribe to the Athletic without an RSS feed. I stopped reading Players Tribune when they axed their feed. Give me title, tags, and first two sentences so I can categorize the feeds and I’m a happy camper. I got rid of my reddit app on my phone. I was needlessly checking reddit multiple times a day. RSS provides me the same information without having to argue with people who are “wrong online.”

This solves #2 as well, to the extent that copying your content wholesale becomes almost as hard as it would have been had you not had an RSS feed in the first place.

Except now your readers have to click out of the RSS reader, rather than stay in there and read. I find it jarring and obtrusive to do that, and prefer just to visit the site instead if they RSS did this.

I usually prefer that as well, but if the choice is no RSS and headline+excerpt RSS, I’m absolutely fine with the latter. Without RSS I won’t read any regular content.

Most readers embed a browser making this pretty simple.

I prefer content embedded in my reader, but I don’t mind clicking through if it helps the author. Though, in my case I doubt it will since I’m blocking any kind of trackers, which includes many ads.

> RSS traffic trickled down to almost nothing.

Could you elaborate how you measured that?

While Google trends depicts decline in search frequency so it may correlate with actual usage, it could as well mean that the "RSS market" is stable and saturated ("everybody know about it, so no need to search for it").

If you came to this conclusion while looking at your access logs, keep in mind that single request from some web-based reader could "feed" hordes of subscribers. In scenario desktop RSS readers were completely abandoned and everybody used web-based RSS reading services, there would be just ~ services count × their check frequency requests, from which it would be really hard to abstract subscriber count, I guess.

Maybe there is exact way to determine this usage I'm not aware of? Are those services telling back subscribers count in their requests? Or do they publish this information in some standardized way? I really would like to know…

Back when RSS was a thing cloud based readers pass on the number of readers when requesting the feed. Analytics software would use this.

I'd be surprised if this has completely atrophied away.

Which analytics software uses this? We primarily use Google Analytics, the user agent from the web server log file isn't getting passed back to them.

No Javascript analytics software can do this. It has to be log based.

While it's true that RSS has died, I'm using it more than I ever did when Google Reader was around. Many people are using Feedbin or mobile RSS readers. I've been idly working on my own RSS reader that actually answers some of your concerns. It doesn't excerpt blogs, but just gives me an overview of what's happening out there: https://www.kickscondor.com/images/fraidycat-aug2019.jpg

My problem isn't a business issue - it's that I find news feeds chaotic and want to read blogs directly - with their design and layout, focusing on the writer directly, rather than amid a pile of distractions. (To me, even Google Reader had that problem.) But I think it's cool that our separate concerns are both answered if RSS is used for notification rather than for syndication. RSS notifies my reader tool and then I can see an overview of what's happening out there when I make time to read.

I don't think we've quite explored the possibilities that RSS opened for us.

I agree this could be the case. I would love for there to be a 'better way' for everyone to consume RSS feeds, just haven't seen them yet.

You're judging RSS adoption by the number of people who search google for "rss feed"? This seems incredibly wrong. What am I missing?

I mean, if you remove your feed, you probably lose me as a reader.

They explained that RSS traffic was minimal, and what there was couldn't be monetized, so they probably don't care.

Wouldn't lose me though. I don't use RSS, and never have.

"I belong to the common case" is not a very useful or interesting thing to point out without elaboration.

> Identical copies of my blog went up in several different locations, each with their own copy of ads from the scammers.

Tangent but: Does google have any official way to combat this?

It seems like an easy enough problem to solve. As the content-creator, you could submit your content first to some kind of registry, so that google could identify you as the true author. Does anything like this exist? If not, why not?

It seems like this could be open to abuse. Not all content-creators will register their content, so find some unregistered content to copy, and then register it yourself.

This is an old problem and the primary solution is to delay the content in your feeds/sitemaps by X number of minutes so that Google can spider the content on your website first while flagging the spam site as duplicate content. Another tip is to add a canonical link back to your article in the content of feed articles. e.g. rel="canonical"

> RSS traffic trickled down to almost nothing.

How do you meaure this? Since so many people uses online reader, it is very likely that one single request made to your server is in fact some online aggregator which may redistribute it to an unknown amount of readers...

Do rss aggregators report number of subscribers in the user agent? I know that several podcast aggregators do this.

When I looked at using RSS to follow a bunch of blogs, I figured that out "RSS with whole blogpost used by blogspammers".

I tend to read my RSS feeds on the London Underground, where signal is non existent in the tunnels, and patchy in the stations. My app of choice (newsblur) lets you sync your feeds for offline browsing so I do this before heading home.

Unfortunately a lot of feeds I subscribe to tend to truncate their articles with a summary or maybe just the first paragraph, with a link to continue reading the full article.

I get why they do this, getting people onto the site gives a greater opportunity to show ads etc, sites gotta be funded somehow.

A few years ago I wrote a tool that ingests these truncated RSS feeds, visits each new link in the feed, and then uses a text extraction library to pull out the full text. These full text articles are then supplied as a brand new RSS feed for my client to subscribe to.

I felt really guilty about it though and wasn't sure about the legal implications of it

As someone who hand-codes their RSS feeds and doesn't include article content at all (just a title/link/description), what's the recommended setup for this?

Can I just spit the raw HTML at you? Do I need to inline images? I'm assuming that someone who's consuming a full feed isn't going to want any CSS included.

I'm not against this, but I'm also hand-coding all of my blogs, and this seems like a problem that would be more easily and more consistently solved by a user-run service like the one you've made. I don't know what readers currently support, and I'm looking around quickly on DuckDuckGo and not seeing many resources about generating full-text feeds that don't boil down to, "click the button in Wordpress."

Again, I have no problem supporting this, but if I'm going to put the time in to change my blogs, I kind of need more prodding than just one or two people saying it annoys them. I don't have any specific reason I wouldn't want to accommodate people like you -- I'm not advertising on my blogs and I don't have any analytics, so I don't care where you read. But I don't want to invest a lot of time into building a completely new content pipeline.

You can just put raw html and normal img tags. Just think of it as an unstyled version of your normal website, just rendering the article portion.

Also look at other pages’ rss feeds that include full articles.

Definitely understand the hand crafting etc has value if your post is complex and has interactive elements or lots of graphic design, and would be a shame to go to waste.

I guess the main thing you need to provide really is the text and images, <p>, <strong>, <img> tags etc. If you look at your site in Reader View in Firefox or Safari and it looks OK - that should be good enough

> I'm not advertising on my blogs

Perhaps you should, I enjoyed finding stuff like this : https://danshumway.com/blog/gamasutra-vulnerabilities/

I'm really glad you enjoyed the article :)

I realize that there are some ways that people serve ads where they vet them and make sure they're not tracking readers. But even if it was easy to set something like that up, I wouldn't feel good running sponsored content or ads on my platforms -- it's not the relationship I want to have with my readers.

I take a much more negative view of ads than most other people I know. I don't just dislike ads that track users or that are poorly vetted. I dislike the psychological effect that ads have on people, I dislike the attention that they take, and I am very cautious of monetization schemes that are too closely integrated into the consumption of content. I can't think of a way I could run ads that wouldn't make reading my blog a worse experience.

I know that's a somewhat extreme position to take. But it's not that advertising is inherently evil, it's just that it has more consequences and costs than most people realize. It's not only about privacy, security, or money.

Given how large the current advertising industry is, where possible I try to block it and harm it indiscriminately. I encourage people to block ads even on websites that they would otherwise support. I think it would be good for society if the advertising industry got a lot smaller, even if that makes funding online content harder.

Perhaps they enjoy not having their website marred by online advertisements?

Agree that that is an awesome article.

Suggest you include the posting date on that page, as reading it, I wasn't sure how recent the info was. I was then shocked to find that these vulnerabilities were identified late last year. Some of these are security 101!

I didn't realize I wasn't attaching dates to posts, I will add those under the page headers.

This is off-topic at this point, but I still stand by the ending to that post -- Gamasutra did reach out to me and did work with me for a little while to fix some of the issues, but eventually communication fell off.

I didn't re-check to validate that the issues were fixed because I felt like I had done everything that could be expected of me at that point and because, honestly, the whole thing was really stressful. Even when companies are being nice (and UBM was really nice about the whole thing), public disclosure is still scary. You just hear horror stories.

I still recommend that people be cautious using Gamasutra. I only wrote up specific vulnerabilities that I found accidentally, I didn't pen-test the site. My point with this article was that the site needs to be pen-tested. As far as I know, that's never happened.

Sounds like an automated version of Pocket, which has been around for ~10 years and is now owned by Mozilla; so the legality aspect of it shouldn't be an issue. I use it daily, although recent versions of the app send you to the original article page, ads and all, should you dare to open it with data/wifi active. Airplane mode still pulls up a text-and-image only version of the article.

FiveFilters.org does this: https://fivefilters.org/content-only/

The free version has some limitations, like only three articles per rss feed. They offer a self-hosted version for a one-time 35euro fee (although software updates only for one year), which I really appreciate.

Sorry, I do this (provide only truncated text) in my RSS feed because I couldn't figure out a way of keeping the special formatting my site is designed around.

Its a cop out that I still feel bad about. Maybe I will fix it sometime.

If it makes you feel better, you can run your extractor against sheep.horse as much as you want.

I also like reading in my feed reader, which is basically like a automatic offline "reader view" with automatic "read this article" marks. Because of that I quite early decided to never subscribe to a feed which doesn't give me the full article. So I don't ever have this problem. I basically feel that there is so much good content to read out there which I can get delivered to my rss reader directly that I don't really need to jump though the hoops and clicking on 'read more' links and adapting to badly designed websites with really small fonts and gray on white text colors.

Rather than extracting the text, could you just render a cached copy of the full web page? I don't see how anyone would have a problem with that. Many times you will end up missing parts of the article anyway if you try to pare it down.

Could you use a full web engine to scrape the info which would also load the ads?

That's a great idea. I would definitely use a service like that.

Posted this in another reply, it's a project I've worked on for a while, works essentially the way djhworld describes: https://fivefilters.org/content-only/

Source code of a slightly older version available at: https://bitbucket.org/fivefilters/full-text-rss/src/master/

I think other people in this thread are running services that do a similar thing.

My crisis of conscience was around storing the full text of the articles on my own server and then presenting them as a new feed on my domain, e.g. https://mydomain.com/feeds/eurogamer.xml

Everything in the feed is that gets generated is exactly the same as the original feed (canonical link to the actual article, publsh date, author etc) the only difference was the text in the body of each entry.

It's likely that unless you can claim status as a library or some other exception to copyright protections, as a commercial entity providing that service without compensating publishers, such a straightforward violation would get a bunch of takedown requests and eventual lawsuits for failure to respond to those requests, along with more suits if publishers have no easy way of opting out.

As a personal tool you built for yourself and your friend(s) nerdy enough to understand it, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, as long as no search engines index your site and no one finds out about it.

And others would definitely sue a service like that. (I'd use it, too, but I understand why it won't happen.)

I do this with huginn

RSS seems to have died off as social networks decided that they wanted to capture the users and vertically integrate. RSS turns them into commodities, and that's the opposite of what they want.

Plus it's difficult to monetize an RSS feed.

RSS isn't dead.

Smart bloggers will always expose an RSS feed, because readers following your RSS feed are more likely to read your blog than traffic from other sources. Having an RSS feed is the slightly weaker version of the mailing lists. Mail which is also going strong — and the easiest way to build a mailing list btw, is to connect your RSS feed to Mailchimp.

And RSS feeds are mandatory for podcasts too.

Some blogs choose not to expose RSS feeds of course, but they do so at their own loss. This is because some people are not interested in expanding their audience, they just want to publish some stuff from time to time. And that's totally fine.

> Plus it's difficult to monetize an RSS feed.

An RSS feed can include just summaries that redirect users to your website. And I actually prefer summaries because I don't want to mess with CSS stuff.

Of course you can monetize it, from where did you get the impression that you can't?

Re: monetizing: Probably means you cant execute random JavaScript in an rss reader? I might be wrong on that.

At least the Vienna RSS reader (open-source for Mac), which I use, carries a full-fledged browser, and I think it displays full HTML—images and such. I'm not sure if I see any entries that execute serious Javascript, but I imagine it would work.

And even if the RSS feeds are not used a lot by the majority of the audience, I wouldn't be surprised if it helped bring in other audiences. I feel like RSS users are more likely power users and may be more a bit more interested in the site than most users.

I personally know that a lot of the RSS feeds I am subscribed to I also end up sharing articles with friends. I see these articles early and quick and help create early discussion about them and comment early on them often first. I feel like overall RSS feed users may not directly look hugely beneficial to a site, but can have other impacts hard to track.

> And RSS feeds are mandatory for podcasts too.

Tell that to Stitcher. They have paid Stitcher Premium podcasts that you can only play in their (terrible) app. A third party developer ended up creating "Unofficial RSS Feeds" for them, but who knows how long that will last.

A summary of the article would be nice, but most of the time it is an information-less lead to get you to click.

RSS died when Google Reader died.

Not really. RSS is still on nearly every WordPress site. I simply switches from Google Reader to Feedly.

RSS switched from life-support to being alive when Reader died. Before there were a few apps and sites. With Reader’s death we got a resurgence and many new tools.

True, it is sad. What I don't understand is why Google didn't continue to push for RSS like they used to in ye olden times with Reader.

High quality blogs both produce content and link to other high quality content - both things that Google should be interested in to improve search. Instead they decided to capture that information (and eyeballs) with Google+, a calculated gamble that they lost.

If I was king of Google, I would be trying to foster a strong, open blogging community as a backstop against the Facebook's of the world swallowing content inside their non-indexable event horizons.

Google wants you to go through them, not direct to the source. The more you go through them the more data they can track and ads they can sell you.

In ye olden times, there wasn't Medium. Sites where everybody could write whatever they wanted. And so sites like Medium could run their own feed of sorts, and send me a digest email with what they think I want to read.

The King(s) of Google do have a strong blogging community in Blogger, but it was never supposed to be, nor never will be, a backstop against Facebook. It would be better for Google to work within Facebook on this, as bloggers in WordPRess, or MEdium, or whatever announce on social media, guess whose ads are running on the blogs? And I myself as a dev, I'm still searching for the best articles for development practices and more. They don't see that need for us to subscribe to RSS. It's the King(s) of Facebook, Twitter, etc., that need to listen. Giving us a way to watch our subscribed RSS feeds in their own ecosystem will give them the edge on content aggregation.

Back in the days there were several blog-search engines like Technorati which would use the RSS feeds from blogs to get updates quicker than Google did, because they indexed every 15 minutes and Google every couple of days.

I subscribe to a bunch of webcomics via RSS, and a few have changed over the years from embedding the comic into the feed to just having the feed be a link to the comic page so that they can still get some ad impressions.

I also subscribe to email newsletters that have sponsored links/blurbs in their content, and I'm sure that one could monetize RSS content similarly.

I was so annoyed at the fact that I couldn't see the web comic in my feed reader that I wrote plugins for TT-RSS which would on the fly replace them with the original size pictures: https://github.com/jeena/tt-rss-plugins/blob/master/jp_stutt...

I don't know where exactly xkcd lands on the web comic popularity scale, but let's be conservative and say Top 3. The xkcd RSS feed embeds the image (and alt text) into posts. That is very clearly a deliberate decision. The comics themselves are also CC-licensed.

I feel like Randall Munroe is doing well for himself. The math is probably different for smaller players.

I’m not aware of any news site or blog that doesn’t still support RSS.

As far as difficulty in monetizing, John Gruber has been making quite a bit of money for years selling one RSS entry at the beginning of the week and a thank you post at the end of the week.

> I’m not aware of any news site or blog that doesn’t still support RSS.

Bloomberg is one of the largest new sites; a top 1000 global site and top 200 US site by traffic. It has no RSS feeds.

Google: `bloomberg feed filetype:xml`

A little difficult to parse some of the results, but they're there.

they don't have full text, but I know I'm subscribed to several bloomberg feeds.

I just searched Feedly for Bloomberg and found multiple RSS feeds.

RSS is rarely shown to end-users any more, but I know a lot of people who use tools like ITTT to push their RSS feed to Twitter automatically, and services like iTunes use RSS to import podcasts into their walled gardens. RSS is not dead; it's just become invisible infrastructure.

There is no “walled garden” around Apple’s podcast. They crawl and index RSS feeds just like Google crawls web pages.

Once you subscribe to the podcast, the app itself polls the podcast’s feed and the audio is played directly from the host’s website.

You can also add a podcast directly if you know the feed url.

On top of all that, there has been a freely available API to the podcast directory for years that other podcast players use.

If you want to see a wall garden for podcasts, see Spotify, Google, etc.

I think you are currently right, but that's probably ending soon as Apple looks to fund their own exclusive podcasts too [1]. I hope podcasters and their cooperatives/companies can resist the siren call.

[1] https://venturebeat.com/2019/07/16/apple-will-reportedly-fun...

I would be okay with that if Apple introduced a standard in the RSS feed that allowed subscription, paid for podcasts that worked across apps. I’m all for a business model that lets me give companies money and they give me stuff as opposed to advertising.

FWIW, Giant Bomb (and I assume other sites) have premium podcasts that you can only access if you are a paid member[1], and you just subscribe using:

https://www.giantbomb.com/podcast-xml/premiumbombcast?api_ke... (you just copy it from the RSS button on their site)

(previously it was https://username:password@www.giantbomb.com/podcast-xml/prem...)

Seems to work across most apps. I don't see why it would be that hard to build a standard around something similar.

[1] primarily ad-free versions of their main podcasts, but they also have premium-exclusive podcasts

That's a weird feeling, reading about how RSS is dead via RSS reader. Initially I wanted to stop checking HN every 20 minutes, and solution was that simple https://hnrss.org/newest?comments=200&amp;count=100

I agree definitely mostly dead and slowly dying off in exponential decay. Used to like my summaries but over time sites dropped it or only updated once in a blue moon. Mostly moved on to just bookmarking my favorite sites and making due.

The social networks weren't the ones who made RSS die off. The base of publishers and users just wasn't there. That said, RSS is not dead, just not as visible as it used to be.

Social networks did not decide to capture users. Users have decided that social networks are what they prefer and then the site publishers optimised for where most people are.

Just as importantly, please add a meta tag that links to the RSS or Atom feed correctly so feed readers can discover it. Medium (which I hate and you should feel bad if you're using) finally added RSS feeds, but I still have to try and figure out what the hell they are every single time because they're not linked from anywhere and can't be discovered by my feed reader.

I have the problem that those meta links are kind of useless nowadays because Firefox removed the possibility to use Navigator.registerContentHandler() so I could redirect from the Feed button in the Firefox UI to TT-RSS. Now the button in the UI let's me download the Feed resource which doesn't make sense.

I use an external feed reader, inoreader (and am thinking about using Gnome Feeds or whatever its called when it's a little less buggy), so it's useful for that anyways. I can just paste the home page in instead of digging around for a feed link in footers and what not. But I take your point, Firefox removing support really hurt me at the time too.

I believe the rss:// protocol could (still can?) be used to shell out to your reader.

Nobody uses the rss:// protocol in their <link>.

That means you too, @kevq! Please add RSS support to your site! http://www.rssboard.org/rss-autodiscovery

For instance, it took me a while to find the feed of the site in the site linked. It's in the post, but if you go to the home page it is tricky to find.

Medium has RSS feeds for pretty much everything, from users to tags to publications, to tags in a publications, to stories clapped on by a given user....

yes, that's what I said. For the longest time they only had comments though and not the posts themselves (or at least, they didn't advertise it if they already did). Now they have it but they don't have a proper meta tag and they don't link to it anywhere that I can find.

I don't subscribe to anything via any other means. No need to give any personal info; no risk of spam filtering; I can apply my own filters to content; everything in 1 place.

I've seen some site owner say it allows nefarious players to grab their content, post it as their own, and get it index by Google before they do. But that problem should be solved by Google, we should't cripple the web because of it.

I wonder if it's also because reading content on an RSS reader doesn't generally allow ads and tracking to be added.

I don't think that's it. Almost every major site has RSS, but it's usually just headlines, which I think is fine.


Does Lobsters have some sort of comment cross-posting feature now?

I think this is what John Gruber does for the Daring Fireball RSS feed.

I use RSS for everything and anything which isn't an RSS feed gets ignored. Life is too short.

Funny how RSS managed to take off originally by focusing on discoverability (education about meta tags, the infamous orange “broadcasting” icon, etc.) and these days it’s still plagued by lack of discoverability or misunderstandings as to its use and reach.

All the blogs/sites I ran/run/manage have RSS feeds, and I still sift through roughly a thousand items a day over breakfast using Reeder and Feedly. RSS is very far from dead - it’s just not a common enough use case to be the default way for non-technical (or, rather, “non-motivated”) people to read their news and other info.

When you have the motivation and interest in following specific topics or sites, it’s not that much of a landing curve to pick out an aggregator (Feedly seems to be the most popular).

I’d say that RSS is in extensive use by humans, and that most shortcomings in comments up to now have fairly trivial workarounds (like truncated feeds, which can trivially be worked around by a client like Reeder, which can fetch the original homepage and render it in a format similar to “reading mode”).

In general, I think RSS has tremendous return if you a) pick your sources carefully and b) spend a bit of time figuring out how to get a good UX.

Twitter, Facebook and Reddit have become the new RSS readers for the masses. I get it, having an open distributed web would be a great thing but that ship has sailed, walled gardens are the new web for 99% of internet users. If your blog post is interesting enough to get picked up and shared via social networks, people will see it in their feed and hop over to view your post.

After someone has finished scrolling down their Facebook, Twitter and reddit feeds, they’re ready to start that loop all over again. There isn’t a place in most peoples mental bandwidth for adding an RSS reader to that mix. And I was a heavy consumer of RSS via Google Reader and then Feedly when GR was axed. This post just reminded me that when I got a new phone I never even bothered to install Feedly again. Totally off my radar at this point, and if that’s the case, there’s no way someone less geeky than me is going to start picking it up.

Hypothesis: most users on social media wouldn't publish or share content, let alone leverage RSS, if those platforms didn't exist.

Social media emerged alongside existing technologies. And they attracted a whole new audience. Of course, there's been a migration from former self hosted users towards those social media.

An apt comparison is IRC. It existed for decades now, but the concept of an office group chat never quite got successfully poured into a business model until Slack came around. Organisations using Slack didn't necessarily shift away from IRC or other options. They simply didn't use chat until they jumped on the Slack bandwagon.

I do recall criticisms when GR was unveiled: why use a centralised online service in order to consume a distributed network of content? At that point, GR did overtake the market of RSS clients.

Axing GR was the exact turning point for RSS as that happened exactly during the meteoric rise of social media, leaving many with little alternative to turn towards social media. Remember that at that point, Big Tech was perceived as the "Good Guys" and many touted that this was just the natural state of affairs.

I used to be a heavy RSS user, but when GR got axed, that pretty much fell away overnight. I never quite got back to using RSS via an alternative.

I follow many blogs, many of them of individual developers and if you're not on Wordpress or Medium (ugh), then the next common choice is a static website generator like Jekyll or equivalent.

Some of them don't have RSS feeds.

But I just contact them privately and kindly ask them to add an RSS feed.

Most of my requests had positive results, since you just need to integrate a plugin [1] or copy a pre-made atom.xml template, like one of my own [2] but any one will do.

Of course you can go down a rabbit whole in optimizing the CSS, like I usually do, until I decide that a freaking summary of those articles is enough in the RSS feed and be done with it. But that's totally optional.

And if you're doing it manually, don't forget to add a meta tag in the <head> of all your pages, like:

    <link rel="alternate" href="/atom.xml" title="Atom feed" type="application/atom+xml">
[1] https://github.com/jekyll/jekyll-feed

[2] https://github.com/monix/monix.io/blob/master/blog/atom.xml

From my experience (as maintainer of a Planet Clojure), some sites have feeds, but simply don’t expose them via links or meta. I’m usually trying some standard paths before contacting author: /rss/, /feed/, /atom.xml, etc.

If you want to go the extra mile... For blogs that are open source, as many GitHub Pages are, you could even submit a pull request to add the RSS feed! Or write up a blog post of how to add an RSS feed to Jekyll site and submit a ticket w/ the link to your post.

Kind of ironic because I can't find any RSS feed linked on this site (apart from in the blog post itself). Not even my RSS reader picks up that he even has a RSS feed. Bit odd to be commenting on others not having RSS on their site if his own site doesn't properly support it either.

looks like he added a link to his RSS (https://kevq.uk/feed) at the end of the article, but like you, my RSS reader was unable to locate it naturally.

It's because he doesn't have one of the rel="alternate" tags that RSS readers look for: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Archive/RSS/Getting... (not sure why this MDN page is marked as "obsolete").

Maybe because mozilla removed built in rss support from firefox?

That's not a Firefox thing, all RSS readers look for that. It's what allows you to paste the url from, say, a YouTube channel and the reader is able to find the feed for that channel without knowing anything about how YouTube fashions their rss urls.

That and Firefox never made it particularly easy to find, and even if you notice it, you might not know how to trigger their auto-detection.

In any case, I sent him an email with info on how to add it.

Without that manually added link in the one article, there's no way to locate his feed. His blog could have been one of the ones he's complaining about.

Yeah I saw the link there but unfortunately that is not very helpful as if he isn't doing that on every single article you'll have a hard time finding it.

Exactly! I wonder if this is the reason behind them not being able to find a lot of the RSS feeds originally.

If you use Hugo, here's how to add an RSS link to your site. Just add the following to your <head> area in your template(s):

    {{ with .OutputFormats.Get "rss" -}}
        {{ printf `<link rel="%s" type="%s" href="%s" title="%s" />` .Rel .MediaType.Type .Permalink $.Site.Title | safeHTML }}
    {{ end -}}
Related link: https://gohugo.io/templates/rss/#readout

Widespread RSS support is crucial to pushing the open web forward and allowing the ecosystem to compete with mainstream social networks.

RSS isn’t perfect and can be fairly technical but the majority of the issues with it can be mitigated with tooling.

Regular people can use RSS; Podcasts have proven this. One thing feeds don’t have is an ITunes style directory.

I run Pine.blog, a Twitter-like, easy to use Feed Reader for iOS and the web that’s trying do do exactly these things: make Feeds easy to consume and discover so the open web can flourish.

Pine.blog has a free feed directory that helps users discover new sites and feeds to follow. The directory is human curated and moderated and it has an API for other developers to use for free (as well as a paid version for commercial applications).

Feedback always welcome!

Feed Reader https://pine.blog

Feed Directory https://pine.blog/search

> RSS isn’t perfect and can be fairly technical but the majority of the issues with it can be mitigated with tooling

Or by using Atom instead of RSS!

Atom is very well supported too. Actually, we sometimes say "RSS" to refer to a feed whenever it is RSS or Atom.

I typically say “feed” since JSON Feed, Atom, and more fit into that category.

I've never really understood how one is supposed to use RSS.

Do authors include the whole article in the RSS article "body" or only a glimpse? I think I've seen both things and don't know what to do. Are readers expected to read the article in the RSS reader itself or open it in a web browser?

I've read a couple of tutorials and tried to use it, but I never quite understood it, and I didn't like any of the clients I tried.

Behaviorally, it's a dead practice.

As individuals, we used to look at all content ingested by readers (programs or Google Reader/feedly) and ourselves cherry-pick the articles, posts we wanted to see. Like an old newsgroup reader. Gradually that function has moved into programming beyond your control showing you suggested content filtered via models that show you only what they think you want to see. Buzzword: AI. Roll your eyes.

Some sites would provide a teaser, others full content, some would put an advertiser's message in the body and a catchy title. It was up to the content maker. Typically there'd always be some reduction in the actual markup/content itself. Interesting things you really liked you might have clicked into and seen on the original site for a full experience, fed those people's ads and analytics. But the bottom line is it all largely interworked.

One of my favorite things was using iGoogle or netvibes because those two flagships took RSS widgets. Using either custom programming or something like Yahoo Pipes you could cobble together something useful. Like make your own google homepage or dashboard containing both your calendar appointments, filtered gmail, and quirky things like server uptimes, alerts, API usage limits widgets, fun webcomics.

From a publisher's perspective, RSS is still used to connect disparate publishing systems together since it's a standard. From one content management system you can pipe material to a blog widget, to a mobile app endpoint, to a partner site, to an affiliate. Direct site hosting is down but even now we use RSS to feed media partners like Facebook instant, Google News producer, Google News on [Voice] Assistant, twitter (via publish vendor), Apple podcasts (actually that might be JSON, but maybe wasn't always?), etc.

There are tons and tons of clients out there and resources to make your own. You can read rss in your terminal if you like. It's by far the most efficient way to skim through the web. I found this thread from my rss feeds in fact.

As far as what gets pushed to the rss feeds is entirely up to the particular website. Some are generous and provide full content and images, and others are fickle and make you click the headline and view the article on their site.

I wrote a frontend https://github.com/jeena/feedthemonkey for TT-RSS and I only subscribe to feeds with full articles which I can read offline.

I think the worse RSS isn't in not having RSS, it's when they say "Hey here's a preview of what we wrote."

I really enjoy reading content on my terms on not having to go everywhere to get it. It makes my life much more peaceful.

Luckily some readers also include a "always fetch full content" feature that pulls the linked page and runs it through a "reader mode" to remove the garbage. These kind of feeds really annoy me.

> I really enjoy reading content on my terms on not having to go everywhere to get it.

Unfortunately, I like to write my content knowing how it's going to have a certain appearance and layout, and because this doesn't scale to the narrow set of HTML allowed in the <description> tag, I don't have anything in there and just have a link to my site.

There are definitely RSS feeds without content so you have to go to their site and have adverts thrown at you, yeah, but it's not as simple as flipping a switch and having readable content in your RSS feeds.

...and then I feed it into Reader mode on my phone, or something similar, because fuck stylesheets in general.

I work on a project that can transform many of those feeds into full-text versions: https://fivefilters.org/content-only/

Another solution for sites that don't offer their own feeds: http://createfeed.fivefilters.org/

Previews in RSS isn't perfect, but I'll take it.

One of my favorite webcomics updated very sporadically and didn't provide a RSS feed for the longest time; it was difficult to keep up with updates. The current feed is just a link to the comic and is a significant improvement.

The author was resistant to RSS for the longest time because they thought they _had_ to include the comic in the feed and was worried about losing ad revenue.

A bit of that is that RSS simply doesn't have great character support. You have to escape a whole bunch of stuff that is useful to have in the final product - because for most users the RSS is a notification feed, not the endpoint they go to.

If the site is ad supported I can see why they're doing it. Can't serve ads in the RSS feed (some RSS readers reserve that right for themselves).

You can use basic HTML and embed images, there's nothing stopping you putting adverts in a feed.

I don't get why everyone here is complaining about RSS dying. It still exists. Almost every blog platform and news/content website publishes RSS feeds. There are some great apps for reading feeds on desktop and mobile (including features like offline syncing). There are a bunch of RSS add-ons for Chrome and Firefox. Slack natively supports piping feeds into a channel. You can even build RSS workflows with Zapier or IFTTT.

Yes it isn't the hottest thing in the tech world today, but it doesn't have to be.

Agree with you - I think the problem isn't the lack of widely available feeds but the harmful sentiment that RSS is somehow obsolete and unnecessary so many newer well meaning apps don't spend the effort to add it.

Without being in the zeitgeist, it's liable to disappear as time goes by.

Easy enough to support this article; RSS is good for the open web and relatively trivial to support: took me maybe an hour for my personal blog, compared to the enormous effort I've put into CSS and formatting for the website proper. I'd love to get a feeling for how many folks here have a blog with RSS support and what the relative level of traffic is between RSS and other forms of traffic. Does anyone have statistics they'd care to share?

> But I was surprised to learn that many of the blogs that Jan had linked to didn't support RSS.

I went through them all, and of the 32 only two didn’t provide a feed[1]. Not all of them linked to it on the page, but Reeder[2] found them with ease from the home URL.

Funny enough, the feed for blog of the linked post was hard to find — Reeder didn’t catch it, and from a quick glance on the blog’s home I found no reference to it. If I didn’t think it odd that the author wasn’t providing a feed, I wouldn’t have found it.

Blog platforms tend to provide support for RSS feeds because blog platforms are built by people who care about such things, so even if the writer doesn’t care, the feed will be there. I’m more worried about the lack of RSS support in big popular platforms that have no reason to not provide one, such as the News page on the Epic Games Store[3].

[1]: It may be that some were auto-generated and provided wrong info; I didn’t verify them in depth.

[2]: https://www.reederapp.com/

[3]: https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/news

I think he doesn't know how the automatic discovery of RSS feeds works, and just looks for a visual link to one.

Like you said, he missed a lot of them, and isn't linking to his own feed properly on his site so that RSS readers can find it (with rel="alternate" and/or type="application/rss+xml").

Sites don't offer RSS because

- they are developed by hipsters who were in elementary school when RSS was in its heyday and don't know what it is.

- sites operators want to human users to interact with their site specifically, and not be able to skim the highlights through a remote interface. They want users to view all of the content (including advertizing) in its fully rendered form, and not some clipped version that has been commoditized and aggregated.

Basically RSS is a form of voluntary self-scraping. Through a modern perspective, RSS looks like "robots will scrape the site anyway, so why not do it yourself and offer the scrape as XML". Webmasters today deal with issues such as, for instance, Google clipping their content and incorporating it into search results, so that users do not "click through" to the site. When you offer RSS, you're basically doing sort of the same thing to yourself.

But, of course, RSS is great for end-users, just like a Google result that has the condensed info right there.

Dear site operators: enjoy obscurity

RSS can be used for more than traditional blogs, too.

The CII Best Practices badge has a "projects" page that lists all projects working on or achieving a badge: https://bestpractices.coreinfrastructure.org/projects . You'll notice an RSS symbol; if you click on it, you'll be led to https://bestpractices.coreinfrastructure.org/feed (in your preferred language) that will show you projects listed in reverse-latest-edit order (so you can see who's made the latest changes to their badge info).

Once you start thinking of RSS as a way to tell people "what's new" in a simple common format, there are lots of interesting uses for it.

I run a SAAS for forwarding email addresses in order to protect email addresses by handing out individualised burner addresses that you can block if people start to abuse them with uninvited mail.

For a weekend project, I added some functionality to publish the blocked emails as an RSS feed - and now I think it's one of the best features of my service.

I use a separate address for things like linkedin, facebook, twitter, steam, github etc. and I turned on the email notifications. Then I blocked those addresses and subscribe to them as RSS feeds instead. Now I can read that stuff during my normal RSS reading flow instead of having it end up in my inbox.

There's a link in my bio to the service if you want to check it out (not sure about HN rules about recommending my own service). Yes, you can use your own domain to avoid being locked in to my service.

> not sure about HN rules about recommending my own service

If it's relevant - and I mean, it actually adds to the discussion, and not just matches the keywords for which you try to adveritse it - then it's fine to mention your service. We're all interested in discovering new stuff here.

Speaking of RSS feed links, shame on Apple for hijacking feed links on iOS. They open Apple News but just generate a dialog that says "This content is not available on Apple News"

iOS these days has a major problem of allowing webpages to redirect automatically to the app or worse, to the App Store.

Every now and again I have to fight Amazon to let me open a link in Safari instead of the Amazon app. Generally it's because I cannot purchase the item inside of the app (digital content like movies and Kindle books), but they still automatically open the app and make me do a dance to get it in Safari. Same thing with Yelp, under no circumstances am I ever able to get a Yelp link to open on their website. YouTube does the same thing, and I've had Gmail do it a few times too.

It's one thing to show a banner at the top letting me know you have an app. But I never want to be directed from Safari into an app. If I wanted to use the app, I'd have opened the app. Since I'm in Safari, it means I want to use the web site.

Why have the apps installed at all? There is nothing I can do in the apps that I can’t do on the websites. Usually the apps are worse.

Watching ESPN in the browser is a worse experience than ESPN’s app. I have the app on my phone for this. There are reasons to have apps on a phone. That said, it is infuriating that when I click an ESPN link on twitter, it opens in the ESPN app and not a web browser.

Depends. The ESPN app is actually pretty shit. On my Smart TV it is a juddering, frame dropping mess. I actually get better streams by opening the ESPN site in Chrome, and casting the tab.

All Smart TVs suck except the ones with integrated Roku.

It’s not the TV. I stream 4k60 from YouTube quite happily.

It’s the “smart” part that I was referring to. The Roku TV’s panels are just average.

It's the "smart" part responsible for decoding the incoming bytestream.

Often for video content, there isn’t a choice but to have the app on mobile. But for non video content, the app is usually worse.

Also, I much rather go to the Youtube site on mobile than use the app.

Yeah, the user experience for this is awful. Apple News (and Safari!) both used to support RSS feeds and then they removed the feature from both.

They were just trying to make it user friendly because they know everyone really wants to go to Apple News instead.


I love RSS so much. I use inoreader but there are many free RSS readers available (like feedly). I don't subscribe to anything via any other means - RSS completely covers my daily news needs. Please keep it alive!

Curiosity question, will most modern RSS-readers be able to find an RSS link on their own, or is it a good idea for me to include a link on a homepage that users can copy-paste?

I've never advertised any of my rss feeds, I just leave them up at <domain>/rss.xml. I was under the impression that RSS feed locations were mostly standardized, but I'm noticing that the feed location for this blog is at a different URL.

They should be able to find it as long as you have a <link> or <a> tag with the correct attributes/values on them.

See this section and the one below it: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Archive/RSS/Getting...

You need to advertise it in the head section of your html. Then any reader will find it.

Usually they are able to find it, I never had the problem that it couldn't be found if there was a feed URL in the source code. (Using the selfhosted version of Miniflux). It's too bad that browsers removed the RSS icon in the URL bar.

An RSS link on homepage AND a RSS Autodiscovery link in the source code is for me the best solution. RSS Autodiscovery make it discoverable by any RSS reader

I stopped using RSS when Google Reader went away, but I don't really miss it. I just use HN instead, which is like a curated list of the best stuff and I don't have to already know it exists and be subscribed to an RSS feed.

I suppose if someone made something that summarized a bunch of stuff in an RSS feed or somehow prioritized for me, maybe I'd use that instead.

I have a hn rss feed. I have it set where only articles >100 points are pushed to it, otherwise it's a fire hose.

Instead of just reacting to the instantly agreeable title, out of curiousity I read the blog post and checked the blogroll the author cites as the cause for him to comment on adding RSS support.

It lists 33 blogs. However, out of 33, only 2 of them lack an RSS feed. cdevn and mikebabb. Neither has much content.


Are we talking about RSS specifically or a syndication feed generally (i.e., "RSS" proverbially)?

Would Atom and JSON Feed be the best two to implement?

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_feed

People use Atom and RSS almost interchangeably. Generally, it doesn't really matter which one of the two you support, nearly everything does both, I'd personally tend towards Atom.

IMHO, JSON Feed is basically irrelevant: It adds little to no functionality, development seems to have stalled after a short initial burst of enthusiasm and as far as I know nothing supports it but not Atom.

Thirteen years ago, some podcast readers coped with RSS but not Atom, but everything else coped with both just fine. Since then, I think the podcast situation improved so that everything supports Atom; but it’s very difficult to find any information at all about feeds after 2007: the problems were solved, and so no one talks about it.

Atom is technically superior to RSS, most concretely in how it specifies the format of fields like title and content, whether they’re plain text or HTML. This means that I can use things like <em> and <code> in my blog post titles and have it work (clients will either display the HTML unaltered, sanitise it, or strip tags, leaving the correct text), and have blog post titles with text like <_>::v::<_> (real example!) not get mangled horrifically.

I do not recommend that anything use RSS now.

If anyone is looking for a quick comparison of Atom and RSS formats: http://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/Rss20AndAtom10Compared#...

I would also encourage Atom over RSS, the specification is simpler and less ambiguous.

Just the other day I wrote an RSS (well, Atom) feed generator for my site in Racket: https://thelocalyarn.com/code/artifact/e414aebe97ea8e9f

Yes please. We need to keep the web open and federated.

I am surprised when people keep saying here that RSS is dead. I am using it more than ever, every site (including hn news) configured by topic in Inoreader. I even have reddit feeds within it via inline reddit. This way I can see my read/unread counts and mark favorites. I can also quickly export my feeds. It works cross device and it's the only source I use for news, articles or anything else I read on web. If site doesn't have RSS that's shame and I probably never visit it again.

Just because you have kept using RSS doesn't mean that the community has grown or even that it has stayed constant in size. Interest in RSS (or at least the best proxy I could find, Google searches for "RSS") has been steadily declining since ~2006[1].

> If site doesn't have RSS that's shame and I probably never visit it again.

Assuming RSS continues to decline, I imagine that more and more sites will stop supporting it.

[1] https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=rss

Disclaimer: Googler if it matters. All opinions are my own.

Google Trends is not an answer. It's more likely that people will soon be fed up with enormous unrelated content and infinite scrolling, and will revert back to what's actually useful: specialized and managable content.

And if you're searching for trends only, you'll be able to find that it's already happening. Community discovered that social networks is not an answer, the content is mostly garbage in there and nobody wants to 'scroll to infinity' anymore.

Look at Lisp trends at different time periods in the past 60 or so years. And then at Clojure or functional programming in general now.

Re: 'googler' - no it doesn't matter. Just because you're 'googler', doesn't mean that you're right.

Lets revise this in 10 years. My bet is: if not RSS, then better RSS ;)

Love Inoreader as it's the closet to Google Reader IMO.

For a small competition when I was 14, I worked on a hand rolled CMS system in PHP, MySQL. I remember trying to determine what RSS was and Atom, what it all meant. I thought it was cool and a handy feature I could hook into that little RSS app I found on Kubuntu.

Didn't win the competition, but expanded it over a few years and kept using it as my main blog until it fell aside when I went to university.

But unfortunately since the death of Google Reader, RSS hasn't found a way back into my life.

What do people use to read RSS feeds? I stopped following RSS feeds ever since Google Reader shut down, and wondering what a good free replacement is.

The very best RSS reader in my not-so-humble opinion is the FOSS [Newsboat](https://newsboat.org/), the spiritual successor to Newsbeauter.

It can pipe article links and text through other programs. I can pipe YouTube videos to youtube-dl, article text through pandoc and w3m, podcast files through podboat (newsboat's sister podcasting program), and links through a bookmarking program. You can also pipe article text through something like urlview to select links by pressing a key. I can also reload each of my 200+ feeds in a different thread to speed things up.

Feedly. On iOS it uses the SafariViewController to show the actual web pages in an embedded web view - meaning any content blockers you have installed also work within Feedly.


NetNewsWire 5 just released for MacOS. I believe it's also coming to iOS eventually.

QuiteRSS. It handles my 1MB opml list of RSS feeds fairly easily. Native clients for many OSes.

Personally I use the "Feedbro Reader" addon for Firefox.

Works perfectly fine.

Selfhosted TinyTinyRSS


RSS feeds are designed for an offline first usecase. Almost no one subscribes to this usecase anymore since mobile internet is just REALLY good MOST of the time.

When it isn't - subway rides, long commutes passing through areas with weak signals - i just listen to podcasts instead of the frustration of reading an article and not being able to search anything instantly.

I'm using RSS feeds daily (even for HN), so it was a no-brainer to add RSS support to my blog as well. I've also created Tip of the Day [1] - while the daily tips can be accessed via an HTML site, I have written it mainly with RSS in mind.

[1] https://tips.darekkay.com/

What the heck is a good free or paid RSS reader these days? I paid for Reeder, and a few months later they discontinued support.

If you're on a Mac, NetNewsWire just released a new version after many years. Plus, it's open source.

NetNewsWire is a wonderful piece of software. I remember it being a part of my daily routine back in 2005ish but then it got bought and bought again and I couldn't afford the price of it (thanks Great Recession!) so I stopped using it. It has been graciously returned to the hands of Brent Simmons, its original developer, who has himself graciously made it Open Source and as fantastic as it ever was.

Nearly perfect for me but I can't stand three column layout apps. Give me a nice condensed list view a la apple mail, and an option to hide the article pane and defer to pop ups (or open in line like inoreader).

I'll check that one, looks like the only one that doesn't require some type of online account. I just want a desktop client.

I'm a Feedly subscriber, but recently switched to Newsfold on Android as my reader - it's from the author of the Fenix Twitter client:


I'm using NetNewsWire, they recently shipped 5.0. RSS is slowing getting back. https://inessential.com/2018/08/31/netnewswire_comes_home

I just use Emacs/elfeed[1] It's simple and fast with good tagging/searching. Thunderbird also supports RSS feeds.

[1]: https://github.com/skeeto/elfeed

How so? I am running the latest Reeder on iOS, and it works great (always has, never found anything that was better overall in terms of reading experience).

I’m using Feedbin (and their website) in the browser and Reeder 4 on iOS. I think it’s a pretty solid combination.

inoreader, Newsblur, The Old Reader, NetNewsWire

bazqux, Feedbin


If your main concern is people scrapping your blog or only reading the RSS without visiting it directly, at least put the first paragraph in the feed. I prefer seeing the whole article, but at least having a preview let me decide if I want to keep reading, and it let me knows something new came out.

Totally! It makes content so easy to track. I try to use Twitter a little bit for this, but most accounts post lots of other tweets in addition to "new post", so I have to spend time trying to guess which hashtags they might use to denote actual posts.

Separately, I really like JSONFeed https://jsonfeed.org/2017/05/17/announcing_json_feed. It's the same idea as RSS, but in JSON instead of XML. I find it a much easier format to work with and I really wish JSON as a feed structure had caught on more.

RSS is dead... long since dead. There are a myriad of reasons why it died.

1. People don't want you to use RSS. They want you to visit their site so they make money from ads.

2. Only a small percentage of users care about RSS.

3. DRY (don't repeat yourself) principle. The RSS feed often breaks an no one really knows about it.

Source: Me... I was one of the inventors of RSS and run an feed SaaS platform which only has sunset support for RSS


RSS is very much alive and kicking. It has only lost its status among mainstream users.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of RSS are greatly exaggerated. :)

RSS is “dead” as far as users, but who cares?

Every site I frequent has an RSS feed - even Reddit. As long as content producers support it, it’s not a problem.

As others have mentioned, there is a fear that if RSS users aren't viewing ads and RSS users keep decreasing in number, eventually, content producers will stop supporting it.

Very few sites have the full content in the RSS feed. Some even just have the titles. It doesn’t really effect ad views.

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