19 April 2008

“Just a Feed That Works Will Do Nicely”

[…] the nutty practice of offering the same content in two (or three!) different RSS/Atom XML formats. I’ve never understood this — why should would-be subscribers to a feed be forced to choose a specific XML format? It’d be like asking web site visitors what flavor of HTML they wanted: “No XHTML 1.0 Strict for me. HTML 4.01 Transitional, please.”

Well, there’s a historic reason — many newsreaders used to have trouble with one format or another, so you had to know what the application you used was able to process, and choose accordingly. But I agree that the practice is obsolete, and confusing now that almost all browsers have an RSS button. (Doesn’t IE7 automatically subscribe to the first available choice?)

Also, you know there’s a bunch of geeks who would like to have a menu to force some blogs into displaying in XHTML 1.0 Strict.