Journey into RSS, and Firefox bites it.

After spending the weekend at Gnomedex, I’ve been bombarded with publishing, security, and blogging technologies. The biggest of these is of course RSS, which by all accounts is changing the face of online publishing.
I’ve naturally been using RSS for my syndicated feeds, browsing blogs using the Sage RSS aggregator within Firefox.
As I add more and more feeds to my view list, I’m starting to hit some problems. First of all, why is it that folks do not put RSS links on their blogs? This should be a given. “Click here for the RSS feed URL”. Chatting around at Gnomedex, if someone doesn’t have an RSS link on their page, you generally view the source of the page, and look for a ‘link rel=”alternate”‘ entry in the source code, and that will point out the RSS feed.
FireFox 1.0 has a nifty little tool in it for doing something called “Live Bookmarks”. If an RSS feed is detected on a webpage, there is a small box in the tool bar that says [RSS]. If you click on it, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for that site, and updates from that site will show up in your bookmarks folder automatically. I tinkered with this for a bit, and found it cumbersome, not to mention seeming to ‘hack’ the concept of a bookmarks folder, which to me is generally static.
Sage does in fact update bookmarks, but all within a special folder (‘RSS Feeds’), and it doesn’t in fact add bookmarks for postings, simply gives you a quick link to view the feed. Also, the Firefox RSS handler doesn’t summarize the feed, it links directly to the articles, so to view the article or the summary, you have to hit the site directly. Good for click revenue I suppose, but defeats the purpose of an RSS feed in my opinion.
But the really annoying thing is there’s no easy process for bookmarking, into Sage, an RSS feed, unless the person who has the site has added the link into their page. The [RSS] button in Firefox can -only- update the ‘Live Bookmarks’ page, and manually adding a simple bookmark URL is difficult in Firefox (Bookmarks->Manage Bookmarks->Select RSS Feeds->New Bookmark, fill out the info, click [Ok], then close the bookmark editor). What is really needed is a [right click] ‘View this URL’ or ‘Bookmark this URL’ or something similar, so it can be added into the Sage bookmarks folder.
So, in a nutshell, why have the RSS marker in the toolbar, if it’s useless for anything but Firefox’s idiotic implementation of an aggregator?


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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3 thoughts on “Journey into RSS, and Firefox bites it.

  1. A random question for you who are so wise in the ways of RSS feeds … :-}
    Is there any program/utility to turn an RSS feed into an email message? Ideally this’d just say “Page X has changed” and I’d click on the URL and go look, but I’d take an actual text dump of the HTML into my mailbox.
    I know I’m a luddite, but I don’t want to have to check something besides my email on a regular basis.

  2. Woah man I just downloaded Sage and it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever downloaded on a computer. Easy to bookmark, easy to read people’s weblogs who I’ve tired of visiting because of Flash, easy to go from RSS page to web site, easy all around.

  3. Is there any program/utility to turn an RSS feed into an email message?
    So what you’re looking for is an aggregator that monitors feeds. RSS is basically just a summarized view of a webpage. You might want to look at some of the web-based aggregators like bloglines or Yahoo’s new RSS service (I haven’t explored the Yahoo one yet much, but all indications are it’s going to be a winner).
    One other thing is I believe Livejournal has email notification for posts. If you subscribe to a syndicated feed in LJ, and someone posts to it, can’t you get an email nudge that it happened?
    Anyway, just some ideas 🙂

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