35 votes

The Rise and Demise of RSS

19 comments

  1. [5]
    Crespyl Link
    I will keep my RSS feeds until the very last site stops publishing them, at which point I'll go out and make my own scraper to generate the feeds myself. I was recently delighted to discover that...

    I will keep my RSS feeds until the very last site stops publishing them, at which point I'll go out and make my own scraper to generate the feeds myself.

    I was recently delighted to discover that Ars Technica offers, as a bonus to subscribers, an RSS feed with the full text of all their articles, in addition to the first-paragraph version they have in the public RSS feed that I'd been using for years. That was actually the killer feature that finally turned me from merely whitelisting them in my adblocker to a paying subscriber.

    RSS is still, to me, the ideal way to consume a lot of disparate news sources. I don't need to depend on the whim of some algorithmic timeline from FB/Twitter/Google, I just get exactly the things that I've subscribed to, in chronological order, and in a standard format. Nothing else fills that niche right now, and a surprisingly large number of sites still do offer RSS feeds to subscribe to.

    The only thing that seems close to being a genuine successor is possibly the likes of OStatus/ActivityPub, which seem more geared towards social interactions, but has the key similarity of being under the control of the end-user rather than the platform.

    27 votes
    1. Whom Link Parent
      I've recently returned to regularly using RSS feeds, and I feel so free. It's kinda sad, I think a lot of younger people (since the death of Google Reader) don't even realize that the option is...

      I've recently returned to regularly using RSS feeds, and I feel so free. It's kinda sad, I think a lot of younger people (since the death of Google Reader) don't even realize that the option is out there for them. So many people recognize that social media is trending away from showing you what you want to see and are looking for some alternative, not realizing how easy it is to just plug in everything you care about and have it all delivered right to you exactly how you want it.

      8 votes
    2. [3]
      martini1992 Link Parent
      As somebody who uses RSS feeds heavily, what feed readers would you recommend? I have been looking to get into using them for years but never had the patience to find a reader that wasn't old...

      As somebody who uses RSS feeds heavily, what feed readers would you recommend? I have been looking to get into using them for years but never had the patience to find a reader that wasn't old and/or broken.

      3 votes
      1. Tau_Zero Link Parent
        I tried a bunch after Google shut down Reader and eventually landed on Inoreader. Clean, easy to use, no meaningful limitations for free tier as far as I'm aware.

        I tried a bunch after Google shut down Reader and eventually landed on Inoreader. Clean, easy to use, no meaningful limitations for free tier as far as I'm aware.

        5 votes
      2. Crespyl (edited ) Link Parent
        I've been using Feedly since Google Reader went down, mostly just because they had an easy flow to transfer all my feeds from GR. They have a decent Android app and the web version supports...

        I've been using Feedly since Google Reader went down, mostly just because they had an easy flow to transfer all my feeds from GR. They have a decent Android app and the web version supports vi-keys, which is nice.

        3 votes
  2. [2]
    Hypersapien Link
    RSS is still how I read my webcomics.

    RSS is still how I read my webcomics.

    5 votes
    1. Exalt Link Parent
      I actually learned about RSS when writing my web serial site. It seems pretty ideal for that sort of infrequent but regular thing.

      I actually learned about RSS when writing my web serial site. It seems pretty ideal for that sort of infrequent but regular thing.

      1 vote
  3. Neverland (edited ) Link
    A bit of an aside, but the HN thread on this made me find a neato tool via a comment by the founder of feedity.com. It turns webpages into RSS feeds, we may try to integrate this into our wannabe...

    A bit of an aside, but the HN thread on this made me find a neato tool via a comment by the founder of feedity.com. It turns webpages into RSS feeds, we may try to integrate this into our wannabe product, but I hit a stumbling block.

    Does anyone know of anything else that does this but somehow also crawls the pagination of tables/grids?

    4 votes
  4. [3]
    balooga Link
    Another RSS fan here. I actually maintain a PHP-based feed aggregator app but I'm pretty sure I'm the sole user of it. It's the beating heart of my podcast consumption though, so I'd be crushed if...

    Another RSS fan here. I actually maintain a PHP-based feed aggregator app but I'm pretty sure I'm the sole user of it. It's the beating heart of my podcast consumption though, so I'd be crushed if people started dropping RSS en masse.

    I have yet to encounter a podcast without an RSS feed, though some shows make theirs conspicuously hard to find. It's an unnecessary annoyance, just put a link next to your iTunes widget or whatever.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      zaluzianskya Link Parent
      Do you have a link to your app?

      Do you have a link to your app?

      3 votes
      1. balooga Link Parent
        Standard FOSS caveats apply, it's very rough around the edges, poorly documented, and I’m in the middle of completely rewriting it, but anyway here’s a link to the current version. The main...

        Standard FOSS caveats apply, it's very rough around the edges, poorly documented, and I’m in the middle of completely rewriting it, but anyway here’s a link to the current version.

        The main concept is that you define all of your subscriptions in the config.json file and point your podcast client at the index.php endpoint. It will fetch all the remote sources and stitch them into a single feed. Maybe not super useful but it met a need I had a couple years ago and I’ve used it ever since. The new version will have more features geared toward performance and managing a higher volume of content sources.

        2 votes
  5. [6]
    callmedante Link
    Has anyone heard of using RSS to push content to client websites? As in, the RSS feed content is displayed on the site as if it were a native element of the site. A teladoc-style "healthcare"...

    Has anyone heard of using RSS to push content to client websites? As in, the RSS feed content is displayed on the site as if it were a native element of the site. A teladoc-style "healthcare" company tried to convince me that this is totally normal.

    1 vote
    1. Deimos Link Parent
      I wouldn't say it's particularly widespread, but that's certainly something RSS is intended for. It's considered a syndication format, and that's basically what syndication is:...

      I wouldn't say it's particularly widespread, but that's certainly something RSS is intended for. It's considered a syndication format, and that's basically what syndication is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_syndication

      8 votes
    2. [3]
      balooga Link Parent
      Where would the feed originate? It's not out of the ordinary to have a "headless" site wrapping content from a CMS like WordPress, and there's no real reason RSS couldn't be the middleware.

      Where would the feed originate? It's not out of the ordinary to have a "headless" site wrapping content from a CMS like WordPress, and there's no real reason RSS couldn't be the middleware.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        callmedante Link Parent
        The feed was to come from the healthcare company's site. They said it was for regulatory compliance reasons, to ensure that the information displayed was current. Their idea was to have a page...

        The feed was to come from the healthcare company's site. They said it was for regulatory compliance reasons, to ensure that the information displayed was current. Their idea was to have a page that showed the feed, which they would update as necessary.

        As I was unfamiliar with using RSS in that matter, combined with the red flags around their own websites (including mismatched certificates), I backed away from them. Perhaps the RSS thing was legit, but the rest of their outfit didn't strike me that way.

        Thanks all for teaching me.

        1. balooga Link Parent
          Sure, you may have been right regarding the certificate issue, that can often be a good indicator that other things are amiss. But yeah, I think that's a valid (and even interesting) use of RSS,...

          Sure, you may have been right regarding the certificate issue, that can often be a good indicator that other things are amiss. But yeah, I think that's a valid (and even interesting) use of RSS, on its own merits.

    3. Crespyl Link Parent
      It's a bit unusual, given that those publishing RSS feeds are usually heavily incentivized to bring users back to the original source rather than staying on the RSS reader/client side. I don't see...

      It's a bit unusual, given that those publishing RSS feeds are usually heavily incentivized to bring users back to the original source rather than staying on the RSS reader/client side.

      I don't see any technical reason it shouldn't be done though, and all things considered I'd probably rather pull an RSS feed and apply some CSS to make it look native, than jump through hoops to implement some bespoke API or scraper to get the same information.

      2 votes
  6. eka Link
    I've gone back to using rss as well. I grew tired of my social media feed (Twitter is still kinda ok, I follow news accounts). Currently using feedbin. That's the only good one with the ability to...

    I've gone back to using rss as well. I grew tired of my social media feed (Twitter is still kinda ok, I follow news accounts).

    Currently using feedbin. That's the only good one with the ability to fetch full articles I've found so far. If you know alternatives please let me know.

    1 vote
  7. Deimos Link
    The author published an updated version of this article today: https://twobithistory.org/2018/12/18/rss.html

    The author published an updated version of this article today: https://twobithistory.org/2018/12/18/rss.html

    This post was originally published on September 16th, 2018. What follows is a revision that includes additional information gleaned from interviews with Ramanathan Guha, Ian Davis, Dan Libby, and Kevin Werbach.

    1 vote