Universal Subscription Mechanism - The RSS Blog
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Copyright 2003-4 Randy Charles Morin
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Fri, 14 Jan 2005 02:33:39 GMT
Universal Subscription Mechanism

I've been blogging a lot about the recent movement to settle on a universal subscription mechanism. Everybody should know that I'm in favor of returning a proper media type. Let me explain a bit why I have settled on this decision and what stands in our way of adopting this universally.

I think it's important to point out that autodiscovery of RSS is a must. Most all of us agree that any blogging system lacking autodisco is incomplete. The question is, "How do you subscribe otherwise?" What should happen when you click on the orange XML icon?

Currently, there seems to be three schools of thought.

You might be wondering what happens when you click on a feed (w/ the application/rss+xml media type) on a freshly squeezed XP Home box. Exactly the same thing that happens when you click on a PDF file (where no PDF reader is installed). Exactly what I'd expect to happen. No PDF reader. No RSS reader. Same message. Goooooooooood!

A side note: Just as SixApart got it right, as usual, before anybody else, Blogger got it completely wrong. Their feeds return application/xml. You can try my Blogger atom feed.

There are two problems with the application/rss+xml media type.

We need to address these two issues and quickly.

Reader Comments Subscribe
Phil, aren't you forgetting the whole part where orange buttons suck? Browsers need to allow autodiscovery to be configured.
Why does it have to be a click? Why not just let the user drag-and-drop the link from the browser to the aggregator client? OK, so that won't work for browser-based aggregators. But it's a really nice abstraction that works quite well in my client-in-development, RSXE. Brennan

Drag and Drop is a reasonable solution if the only users are me and you. It's not for my wife and father.

I'll throw a sample project together to show you how, it's pretty easy.


Is there a rush to get this deployed yesterday?  Sounds like fire-drill mentality.  If the Atom solution will work, then put a placeholder out there that says, "when Atom is finalized, this will be official, but here's what it looks like now, such and such newsreaders are supporting it on an experimental basis."

Otherwise, the RSS Link module is deprecated by the RSS/RDF group and as far as I am aware not used anywhere else.  If the need for the extra properties (title and type) is there, I'd wait for Atom's link element anyway, as it will have better long-term RSS 2.0 adoption than RSS Link.  If there's no need for the extra properties, then a simple reference would do.  If it's at all useful, I do think the RSS-DEV group could move quickly to add admin:feed.

Ken (forgot to sign the last one too) MacLeod

There does seems to be a rush to finality on a subscription mechanism. Otherwise, I like the idea of an Atom extension element. Effectively, if we don't push Joe's method forward, then feed: URI scheme wins. If, I revise my proposal to use Atom, can I count on anybody's support? Because I have little hesitation in that direction.


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