Sometimes the Solution is Staring us in the Face - The RSS Blog
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Copyright 2003-4 Randy Charles Morin
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Fri, 21 Jan 2005 16:20:26 GMT
Sometimes the Solution is Staring us in the Face

Ken MacLeod: Literally, the XML chiclet. Get rid of it. [cut] Dave's right, it's not a technological problem. All of the necessary technology is already in widespread use — no central server, no 'feed:', no MIME necessary.

Randy: Ken is voting for the Dave Winer solution. Ken, like Dave are talking about magic. Why magic? Cause nobody has ever provided a working sample. USM works today! Dave's solution is a technical problem, because it doesn't work anywhere today. The technology still needs to be invented. USM is not a technical problem, it already works, you just have to use the Web properly; respond with the correct Content-Type.

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I think you're seriously misunderstanding.  I think Dave's technical solution is borked, and, in not so few words, said as much.

As I said on inessential, the issue occurs a the the point where the person doesn't have and doesn't know they need an aggregator.  Even with a proper MIME type, they would still get a useless dialog box if they hit that link that links to a machine-only readable file.

But why do we have that link on the web page itself, anyway?  If you already have an aggregator, you don't need it (auto-discovery).  If you don't have an aggregator, you probably don't know you need one, and the link is useless.

So my point is, if you feel like communicating to both the aggregator-aware and the non-aware alike, replace the feed link with a badge on the page that says the page is syndication enabled (like FireFox does).  For the non-aware, the badge links to a page to help them become aware.

Nick, feed auto-discovery is part of the solution, but even if IE supported it, it would work like Firefox. It would suck! We need a way to bypass the browser and allow applications to work with the browser. USM does that today on millions of blogs that already support it.

Anyhow, I encourage you to continue working with feed URI scheme with Dare. If you can get adoption, then I'd be glad to step aside. Somehow we'll meet at the finish line.

Randy

Pavlov strikes.

For most of the world outside us geeks, explain to me why anyone needs a feed link chiclet on a page when right in the toolbar the aggregator has "Subscribe To This Page," which is highlighted if the page has a feed link and dimmed if not.

Pavlov would suggest that we (and I mean just us in this geek microcosm that think that clicking on a machine-fart file is the only answer) have conditioned ourselves to think, "everyone has this little icon that links to a machine-fart, therefore we must enable that icon to be the uber-subscription button."

Dave is suggesting that too.  I'm not.

I'm saying, let the aggregator do it's job in the toolbar, most, if not all, already do.  Use a badge for those who don't have an aggregator.  I don't need to give any more examples, I'd rather find the ones that don't, and get them on board.

The sites that have multiple links on a page will have to wait for MIME and USM, but as far as the fire-drill is concerned, the fire's out and now we just need to mop up the mess.
So, you're suggesting we all install another toolbar?

Randy

How the aggregator does it is a feature, or two.  I prefer drag-n-drop, myself.

I'm not suggesting "all" do anything.  That's boil the ocean thinking.

I'm stating it's already done.  If a user does not, today, have one-click subscription, it's because they have an aggregator that doesn't have it as a feature, yet.  If there's money to be collected for this fire-drill, then surely let's collect it on a public domain helper app to get them plugged in.

The people who are wanting to do "something" right now, such as replace their links with something that isn't breaking right now, can link to a "how-to" page right now.  If rebranding helps that, more power to us, but we can keep the brand we have and link the chiclet to a howto.

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