Matthias: blog
Das Logfile über mein Leben im Netz.

Freitag, 20. Februar 2004, 20:37:09

As I was working on, I thought it would be nice to have a feed for my own humble blog. Publishing would be easy enough: Just take the latest blog entries from the database, format them according to the RSS specification, and publish the result on the site. Simple as that.

Or so I thought.

The troubles started when I went looking for the RSS Specification. There is not only one. There are not just two or three. There are 9 different RSS standards. And they are all incompatible with each other.

Oh no! What's a poor simple guy to do? I took the easy way out and came up with a list of things I'd like to have in my feed.

  1. a little logo
  2. the title
  3. the blog entry itself
    • in plain text
    • and also in full HTML
  4. the date and time of the entry
  5. a link back to the original blog posting in case people can't read the HTML version

Pretty straight-forward, nothing fancy. Right?

But when I looked at the different Specs, I realized none of them does exactly what I want, and only what I want. So I would have to either revise my list, or take a Spec that can do more than I want. I'm a minimalist at heart, so this option didn't feel right. But it looked like I had no choice.

RSS 2.0 seemed a likely candidate. Although Mark mentions that there's no official 2.0 version, I thought I should give it a try; after all, lots of people use it.

But the deeper I dug, the more I didn't like it: It doesn't do what I want without using namespaces. But namespaces look suspiciously like duct tape to me.

And then I found Atom. Yet another syndication format. Damn.

OK, since all the smart guys are using Atom, it must be great. And there's even an updated parser for MagpieRSS. So far so good.

Or so I thought.

A quick test with the new Magpie parser wasn't successful (I don't blame Magpie - it's probably because I missed something important!). And Atom looks complicated enough to make a grown man cry. Plus, most of the feedreaders currently in use probably can't read Atom.

So it's back to square one. I'm tired, I'm fed up, my eyes are burning, and it's Friday afternoon. I'll give that feed thing another try next week. Or next month.