Friday, July 15, 2005

To blog, perchance to RSS

I've been doing some research on newsfeeds in general, and RSS in particular, to be added to the next version (V5) of NotesTracker. It will provide easy and automatic generation of RSS feeds from Lotus Notes databases, based on the existing all-purpose "Breaking News" capability (described in items F and G at the bottom of the NotesTracker samples page).

In order to better understand the nature of feeds, and how they are best used, I have experimented with a range of popular stand-alone RSS aggregators such as RSS Bandit. I've a preference for the more convenient RSS feeds directly built into some Internet Explorer add-ons such as the excellent Avant Browser that I use heavily, and also built into the Mozilla Firefox browser. (Not being biased, I swap merrily between these tools depending on what I'm trying to achieve from task to task and from moment to moment.)

I've also researched a range of web sites for info about generating RSS feeds. Most of these sites (IBM developerWorks, to name one) focus exclusively on RSS aggregators and not RSS generators.

I just discovered one RSS-centric site that seems more comprehensive than the rest, and recommend it to you. Visit RSS Specifications and here's their section about creating RSS feeds

I have mixed feelings about the value of RSS feeds. Some of them are poorly set up so making them a little tricky to include in your aggregator. Then again there's the issue that it can easily become quite a chore to keep up with the feeds, and also it's debatable whether much of their content is worth reading in the first place -- which I'd label GOGI ("Garbage Out, Garbage In").

Further, there's The Myth of RSS Compatability (spelling: "compatibility"?) plus a range of other issues raised in Dylan Greene's interesting blog article 10 reasons why RSS is not ready for prime time

No comments:

Post a Comment