Textura Design is a creative force specializing in business blogging for clients big and small.

Textura Design Blog

Talking to ourselves about Atom and RSS

posted by DL Byron on May 13, 2004

Last week, I posted to an internal mailing list about how I lamented offering so many feeds on my sites and wondered what possibly benefit to the user that was (ya know, those little badges of courage). Does Jane blogger need 6 feeds on her site? No, she needs a feed link or button with a format that is read by feed readers. I personally don’t care what standard it is, but do not want to offer multitudes of them. We don’t offer different versions of html on our sites with shiny little buttons.

This is an other example of the blogosphere talking to ourselves too much. We need to talk less about technology and more about the user. How does the average person visiting your site know which feed to choose? They don’t and I haven’t found any information on why Atom is better, other than because it’s not Winer.

Today, the W3C announced their suggestion to the Atom community that they standardize through the W3C.

That's great news and it'll be really interesting to watch how that plays out.

other posts tagged:


May 13  |  Robert Scoble said:

Except how is the W3C going to help here? I don’t see the BBC or the New York Times or Disney or Reuters listening to an organization that came into this whole game about three years too late and didn’t even acknowledge the formats that they have already decided on.

May 13  |  Keith said:

B — No shit brother. This syndication standards debate is so far out of the realm of the real. I don’t care what wins out — RSS or Atom or something else and neither does the user. Pick a standard, tell me what it is and I’ll use it.

RSS is important to my users, but the specifics aren’t. They want to get my feed, period.

Right now I’ve got to give it to them 8 different ways.

May 13  |  -b- said:

What matters to me is one standard. However, I don’t have the same business cases as a news organization. I’d just turn off one format and turn the other one on.

May 13  |  Joshua Allen said:

Keith, you say “Right now I’ve got to give it to them 8 different ways.”

Can you elaborate? Do you actually have readers who would be turned away from your site if you offered only RSS 2.0? Many sites offer only RSS 2.0, and do not suffer in any way. I believe users appreciate this, besides; having 5 different feed icons for essentially the same content is a usability nightmare.

May 14  |  Keith said:

No, you’re right, people wouldn’t be turned away as such. My problem is that I have to offer A summary feed, a full post feed, a quicklink feed, a comment feed, an off-topic feed and right now I do all this RSS 2.0.

I do offer a basic Atom feed, but I don’t think I want to offer two flavors of all those feeds.

That’s all I’m saying. I’d like one standard to go with so I can not worry about the others is all.

May 15  |  pb said:

There’s not reason to have more than an RSS and an Atom feed.

If you’re going to pick one, choose Atom and don’t look back.

May 16  |  Joey said:

I hope Atom does listen to the w3c. I am forced to use Atom on my Blogger account. I believe Atom would be taking a step in the right direction.

May 17  |  Phil Wilson said:

Robert Scoble> If you can’t see Disney paying attention, at least to Atom, then you’re not paying enough attention. ;)

Disney announced their intention to switch to Atom once 1.0 arrives at ET2004 because of its inherent bidirectionality and use as an API not just a feed syndication format.

May 17  |  -b- said:

I hadn’t seen Disney’s announcement. Can you link to that?

May 18  |  Phil Wilson said:

Slide 31 on their ET2004 presentation: http://conferences.oreillynet.com/presentations/et2004/disney.pdf

Plus other commentary from people who were there:

Ross Mayfield: http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2004/02/disney_enterpri.html

Cory Doctorow: http://craphound.com/rssetcon04.txt

there are probably more, and of course, by the time Atom 1.0 rolls around they may well have changed their minds, but we’ll see.

Note: comments are closed.