RSS Icon

RSS

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format.
16 Stories
All Topics

The Changelog The Changelog #499

Long live RSS!

This week we’re joined again by Ben Ubois and we’re talking about RSS. Yes, RSS…the tech that never seems to die and yet so many of us rely on it daily. Ben is the creator of Feedbin, which is self-described as “a nice place to read on the web.” Ben is also the maker of a new app on iOS for people who like podcasts. It’s called Airshow and you can download it at airshow.fm. Ben catches us up on the state of Feedbin, we discuss the nine lives of RSS and its foundational utility for the indie web, the possibilities and short-comings of RSS, we get deep in the weeds on the Podcast 2.0 spec and the work being done on <podcast:chapters>, and Ben also shares the details on his new app called Airshow.

Matt Rickard matt-rickard.com

Thoughts on RSS

Matt Rickard, yes this Matt Rickard from episode #463 of The Changelog, shared some thoughts (an unordered list) about the forces acting on RSS.

He sets the stage by sharing a swath of think pieces written on the subject.

No technology other than RSS has had more think pieces written proclaiming the death of RSS (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013) and the rebirth of RSS (2009, 2010, 2011, 2018, 2018, 2019).

Here are two points (of several shared) that stood out to me.

Substack has revitalized the blogging movement by giving away free hosting and email lists, and a business model for supporting writers. As email newsletters grow, RSS is a decent alternative to an increasingly cluttered email inbox.

Creator incentives work against RSS. The protocol does not benefit content creators because it doesn’t give them any insight into their audience (number of subscribers, emails, or other data).

What are your thoughts in his thoughts? What’s next for RSS?

RSS github.com

The RSS feed for websites missing it

RSS-Bridge is a PHP project capable of generating RSS and Atom feeds for websites that don’t have one. It can be used on webservers or as a stand-alone application in CLI mode.

I made a very poor-man’s version of this as my first ever Sinatra app way back in the day. It’s cool to see that vision live on, but it sucks that tools like this have to exist. It seems that the author agrees with me on that:

We want to share with friends, using open protocols: RSS, Atom, XMPP, whatever. Because no one wants to have your service with your applications using your API force-feeding them. Friends must be free to choose whatever software and service they want.

We are rebuilding bridges you have willfully destroyed.

RSS quakkels.com

RSS is wonderful

Brandon Quakkelaar:

I am not a big social media guy anymore. Over the last few years I’ve been actively avoiding it. I’m not a fan of each platform’s privacy concerns, and users need to be very cautious to avoid flamewars and infinite doomscrolling. If we aren’t careful, social media’s default state seems to devolve into just destroying trust and goodwill. I prefer society in real life.

However, avoiding social media means that we lose a lot of interesting articles, funny memes, and informative videos that are shared on those platforms.

In case you haven’t guessed it, he goes on to prescribe RSS as the solution to this problem. I have a half-written blog post titled, “RSS is the indie social network we’ve been looking for”… so I tend to agree with him.

RSS github.com

A GitHub Action to create single-show feeds from your Changelog++ feed

One of our awesome Changelog++ members scratched their own itch:

When you upgrade to Changelog++ you’re given access to ad-free versions of episodes however they’re only available in one giant bucket feed instead of through individual show feeds. Though only around 5 new podcast episodes are published weekly, if you’re coming in as a new listener you’ll have a long backlog list with over one thousand shows. It’s easier to sift through older episodes when they’re organized by show, so that’s what this project provides: individual show feeds.

I love grassroots initiatives like this, but it’s motivating me to bring Changelog++ onsite so we can bake the functionality right in to our platform…

TechCrunch Icon TechCrunch

Google revives RSS

Paul Bakaus teased this on JS Party #174, but the announcement landed even sooner than he said it would:

Chrome, at least in its experimental Canary version on Android (and only for users in the U.S.), is getting an interesting update in the coming weeks that brings back RSS, the once-popular format for getting updates from all the sites you love in Google Reader and similar services.

In Chrome, users will soon see a “Follow” feature for sites that support RSS and the browser’s New Tab page will get what is essentially a (very) basic RSS reader — I guess you could almost call it a “Google Reader.”

I sure do hope this is a small step on a longer journey to bring RSS (back) to the masses. It really is one of the web’s most virtuous technologies. Let’s not get too excited, though:

For now, though, this is only an experiment. Google says it wants to gather feedback from “publishers, bloggers, creators, and citizens of the open web” as it aims to build “deeper engagement between users and web publishers in Chrome.” Hopefully, it won’t stay this way.

My only question is: where can we spam submit this feedback that they’re after?!

RSS github.com

A web-based RSS reader running entirely from your GitHub repo

The feed is hosted on GitHub Pages (which means it’s public to all) and is static until it gets rebuilt. Building is done periodically via a GitHub Action; configuration is via a YAML file (It’d be cooler if you could import an OPML instead). Even if it’s not something you’d use, I think this project is interesting for two reasons:

  1. It’s part of a “GitHub as Stack” meta-trend
  2. It promotes RSS, which is one of the web’s great treasures

RSS danielmiessler.com

It's time to get back into RSS

Some of us never left, but for those who did… it is most definitely time to return to the good ole’ days. Why is it more important now than ever? Disintermediation, that’s why.

It was a direct connection between creators and consumers. By adding someone’s feed to your RSS reader you were saying, “Yes, I’d like to subscribe to your interpretation of reality.”

By curating the feeds in your reader, you were curating your view of the world. And that was made up of hundreds or thousands of individual voices.

Swift github.com

A DSL for writing type-safe HTML, XML, and RSS in Swift

It can be used to build websites, documents and feeds, as a templating tool, or as a renderer for higher-level components and tools. It’s primary focus is on static site generation and Swift-based web development.

I’ve always enjoyed using DSL’s like this.

let html = HTML(
    .head(
        .title("My website"),
        .stylesheet("styles.css")
    ),
    .body(
        .div(
            .h1("My website"),
            .p("Writing HTML in Swift is pretty great!")
        )
    )
)

Swift github.com

An app that makes it easier to find and subscribe to RSS Feeds

I’m logging this not because it’s super-useful in its current form (it is not). I’m logging this not because it’s a good example of a modern Swift app (it may be, I have no idea). Nope. I’m logging FeedCompass because it represents an idea that deserves more attention.

Independent websites, loosely stitched together via open protocols, are what make the web great.

Yeah, let’s do more of that.

The Changelog The Changelog #240

Feedbin and RSS resurgence

Ben Ubois, the creator of Feedbin (a simple, good-looking online RSS reader) joined the show to talk about the indie web and developers, how RSS usage has changed over the years – particularly since Google Reader shutdown. We also talked about RSS vs the social web that we’re in now and the idea of an RSS resurgence and taking back control over the content we choose to subscribe to.

0:00 / 0:00