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Why So Many RSS Options?

Bloglines, RSS, Atom, My Yahoo etc. What's the point?



10:28 am on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey guys,

I started researching a topic and I don't understand one thing. Why some websites publish a dozen or more buttons to subscribe to their news. I've read Yahoo and they support RSS. So isn't it enough just to publish one button RSS or at least XML/RSS and Atom. Why there are Bloglines, MSN, buttons? Can't those services subscribe using only one button, so they need special buttons for them? I think not.

Or is it to simply track from where the subscribers come from?

Could you explain?


12:25 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi damlag,

The reason for so many RSS buttons is that each button allows the user to subscribe vai a particular service. For example when you click on a sites Yahoo subscribe button you are taken to the Yahoo (RSS Reader) site where you are subscribed to the feed of the site which displayed the Yahoo button.

The idea is to make it easier for users to subscribe to RSS feeds. In reality unless you are aufait with RSS and are aware of the different brands of readers all of this can be confusing.

It would be simpler if the user could register a default RSS client like you do for yuor email. The only problem with this solution at the moment is that many RSS news aggregators are web based.


4:58 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx for the answer.

So you mean that it's all about web based readers. Desktop Readers, like FeedReader or FeedDemon have the ability to subscribe to Atom and RSS feeds. And for them it's enough only two options Rss/XML and Atom. But for online readers, you have to add their buttons to make it easy for those subscriber to use it. Is that correct?

So if I'd want to offer the broadest choice for my subscribers, I could add every posible button of every possible service to my site? Hmm. Would it be wise adding 20 or more buttons to the site?


11:52 am on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ok. As I keep researching this topic, I get more quesions...

Another one.

Is it possible to have an RSS feed and offer visitors subscribe to it without having a blog?

As I understand blogs are using RSS technology to parse it into HTML and show on website (blog) and also provide the information in XML to Newsreaders.

But if I create an XML file and publish it on my site and offer visitors to subscribe to it, I don't need a blog, right? All I have to do is edit that XML file and upload it to my server, so newsfeeds grab the new information and I don't need a blog.

Is that right?


12:09 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi damlag

You are right that RSS doesn't have to be connected to a blog and can have any content. But RSS aggregators expect the entries to in date/time order - and there is no rule as to how future dates are treated.

As to the button question - most users of online blog aggregators will know how to add an RSS feed to their aggregator - perhaps with the exception of MyYahoo and MyMSN users. I would certainly put those buttons next to my rss/mxl button


7:24 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx Iguana,

I've read an article at:

on how to create an RSS feed. So there is said that date and time will be adjusted automatically for those channels.

"To keep your feed fresh, try to keep your channel items to a maximum of five, deleting older items from your feed as you update it. The dates next to your news items will adjust depending on when content aggregators pick them up."

That's the line from the article.

Now, when I subscribe to some kind of blog feed, I uasually receive all the messages from the very first one to the newest one. So if I will update only one XML file, while deleting older ones, people who are subscribed to my feed will not receive all the messages, but will get the newest ones only. If they uninstall their dektop readers and reinstall and join my feed again, then they won't receive the oldest messages, only the new ones, is that correct?

If that's the only problem, then it doesn't seem very bad having only one file, with 5 items, and updating it by hand. What do you think...

[edited by: werty at 11:33 pm (utc) on Feb. 7, 2006]
[edit reason] Removed URL - Please see TOS #13 [/edit]


10:47 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If they uninstall and resubscribe then they should get all of your messages - certainly on a Desktop aggregator.

With MyYahoo that may not be true - because I think it defaults to "posts within the last xx days" - but it bases xx days on new items IT has picked up. I regenerate my feeds every week but if the title/link is the same as last weeks then Yahoo classes the entry as an old one and ignores my pubDate.

The best thing is to set up a MyYahoo and MSN account and get a desktop aggregator and give it a go. If you figure out how MSN works then tell me it's only works for me on about 1 feed in 20


11:17 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ok. Thank you very much.

Jordo needs a drink

8:50 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"if they uninstall and resubscribe then they should get all of your messages - certainly on a Desktop aggregator."

All of the items currently offered in the feed. If your feed has only the 5 newest items today (that replace the 5 old items from yesterday), then when you uninstall and resubscribe, most aggregators will only display the 5 new ones today, not yesterday's 5.


1:11 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yah. And you can have no more than 15 messages per feed. Whenever you decide to add a new one, you have to remove the old one, so your visitors will see that last 15 items.

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