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    RSS is an ancient technology from Web 1.0 (“the naïve Web?”)

    I’m sorry, but blogging, as an early social network based on RSS, was the hallmark of what people started to call “Web 2.0”, as opposed to “Web 1.0” which consisted of simply human-readable web sites.

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      Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. The RSS was the new stuff. Old stuff were hyperlinks and CSS menus.

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        Wasn’t Web 2.0 about AJAX and XMLHttpRequest? i.e making the web page interactive with asynchronous requests? I would consider gmail to have started web 2.0 in 2004, which was much later than RSS

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          I don’t think there was ever a definitive definition of Web 2.0. Part of it was the flashy client parts, but part was also APIs that made it possible for others to interact to services.

          For me, the quintessential Web 2.0 site was/is Flickr, where you have a content organizer, rich API, tagging, and social features. And there’s RSS too, I still subscribe to some seldom-updated streams in my feed reader.

          We’ve moved past that now. The site/service that defeated Flickr is Instagram, which disables a lot of stuff that Flickr enabled - except tags. You can’t organize your images in folders, you can’t even decide in what order to show them, and you cannot upload other than through the app. The app is the service, the web view is basically read-only.

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            That is true as well! Here’s what I vaguely remember.

            Even though RSS as a format was invented earlier, the “blogosphere” exploded in popularity at about 2005-2006 (with popular services like Wordpress, Technorati). And at that point people loosely used the moniker “Web 2.0” for everything that elevated the Web platform above the old boring (D)HTML tag soup:

            • separation of (X)HTML and CSS
            • AJAX and first Web apps
            • Content aggregation through RSS/Atom
            • Microformats
            • “Semantic Web” (nobody knew what that was, and it never materialized)

            (Now we back to the tag soup, although it now includes all of HTML, CSS, JS and a lot of ads.)

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          “people farmers like Google and Facebook.”

          People farmers. I like that phrase.

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              I like that. Thanks. Only thing missing was an alternative that sent more proceeds to the sharecroppers or even a lottery for some of them. They often do get value in terms of new functionality, though.

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                To put it a different way, the sharecroppers [sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.] operate happily in an attention economy while their overseers operate happily in a cash economy.

                Very neat metaphor. For some (music producers, “influencers,” artists, etc.) attention itself may be valuable, but for most others it’s just a social thing.

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              I find this article very odd. Who is the target audience? People with their own websites who happen to have an RSS feed they haven’t discovered yet so they need it explained to them? On the other hand they should be able to put some custom HTML there? Maybe I am out of the loop but I’d say either people are aware of and use RSS, then the whole thing could’ve been shortened to two sentences like “Use and promote RSS! It’s good!” or on the other hand the explanation is too technical and the readers will space out anyway.

              On the other hand I might be biased because I actively stopped reading Aral’s content years ago because of indiephone stuff.

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                I’ve noticed a trend in (mostly Wordpress?) blogs where there was an RSS or Atom feed, but it was not visibly presented anywhere on the web site. I would have to dig into the HTML sources to find the actual feed (which is usually in the <meta> attributes in the main page’s sources). So I think “people using bad Wordpress themes” is the target audience?

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                  Most feed readers will do that for you if you supply the URL to the site.

                  I think people found the big flashy “RSS” gifs a bit cheesy and removed them.

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                    I miss the thing where Firefox used to display a tinytiny RSS icon in the address bar when a feedfeedwas available.

                    Ah well.

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                      They they removed the built in live bookmark/subscription not too long ago. Even though it had fallen out of use, it was still easy to give Firefox a live provider and I think that’s what Feedly/Newsblur/et.al. would do to make subscriptions easier.

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                        Yeah, it’s a bit sad - but iirc the usage stats were abysmal, like way below 1% of users - I’ve known the feature for a long time, but I’ve been using dedicated RSS readers for longer than Google Reader existed, so I never used it myself.

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                          Live Bookmarks were terrible, because who wants to read their news timeline in a drop-down menu?

                          Drop-down menus are terrible for reading the news; the font is too small, there’s no pictures, the description is under a time-delayed tooltip, it forces you to keep the mouse in a particular spot to avoid accidentally switching somewhere else, and it violates the conventional meaning of a drop-down menu. Live bookmarks also forced your news sources to be in separate lists, instead of mixed together like lobste.rs, planet, thunderbird, classic reader, and other sensible news aggregators do.

                          Live Bookmarks didn’t fail because RSS sucked. Live Bookmarks failed because live bookmarks themselves suck.

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                    I can guess this post works with a young crowd of new programmers/tecchies but I agree with what you say.

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                    I feel like I’ve read a thousand developer blogs that say the same thing. “RSS was good, we should use it, here are some resources”. I agree, but what’s there to actually do? Most blogs do still natively support RSS if they use any popular blogging framework.

                    Podcasts are a platform that use RSS almost exclusively and they’re going strong - there are tons of high quality well-funded podcasts. Apple and Google continue to attempt to hijack the platform with something proprietary but RSS goes strong.

                    So, what’s the point of this writeup? RSS exists, is good, and is in use. It’s also old and so unremarkable now that we take it for granted.

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                      I think the aim here is to educate the masses that there is a better way to consume their favourite websites. We should be evangelists and tell everyone we meet about how to setup an RSS client on their PC/Mac or phone (well not quite, but you get the idea).

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                        Most blogs do still natively support RSS if they use any popular blogging framework.

                        Its use among content authors is deceasing. A number of websites I would like to syndicate don’t have RSS feeds. Examples include the Hamburg data protection authority’s website, my university faculty’s website, and, which I regret most, the European Commision’s website. All three of them publish news apart from their website only through social media. They are examples of why we need to keep Atom/RSS in mind of content authors.

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                        A while ago I wrote a similar writeup (targetting content authors) at https://mg.guelker.eu/saverss/ (was also on Lobste.rs) that isn’t as focuesd on “censorship” as the OP, but focuses on choice, relevance, and privacy. Let’s spread RSS/Atom again.

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                          I know this might be common knowledge here but still, I wrote this post couple days ago and think it might be useful for people who are using the Web through SaaS services only and are wondering about alternatives for RSS reading: http://andregarzia.com/2018/11/reading-blogs-with-thunderbird.html

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                            Thunderbird (and, appearently even MS Outlook as mentioned in another comment) have the advantage of being known to many users and often being installed on their systems. In particular, MS Outlook is part of MS Office and thus installed on many Windows systems. No additional software needed, unless you only use a web mail client. This should, indeed, be advertised much more and could be the starting point of moving RSS more into the users’ view again.

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                            If you’re looking for a good native FOSS MacOS client, I highly suggest Vienna. It’s a bit spare, but it’s FOSS and works with cloud readers that implement Open Reader.

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                              if anyone feels like helping making it more user friendly: https://github.com/getstream/winds

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                                For those that still believe in RSS, and are looking for a nice client, I suggest… your email client

                                I built Feenbox a few years ago in between jobs but never got to releasing it. It’s kinda slow, started as a multiuser layer on top of rss2email but now it has its own codebase.

                                I’ve been using it in production along with a few friends without a hiccup on a very cheap machine on Digitalocean. I still hope to release it someday with a quick stripe integration for a couple bucks a month, just to pay the machine and make some beer money.

                                Anyway, if you want an invite let me know. It’s free right now and will continue like this until the day I launch the service, which may be never.

                                Please don’t post it on HN or Reddit, I can’t manage more than 5-10 new users as I’m super busy at my current job, the system doesn’t scale yet, and I’m not ready to receive payments due to taxes, GDPR etc. Feedback will be welcome – though keep in mind it’s a simple solution to my own itch.

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                                  I too think that email clients make a wonderful RSS reader. In the case of Thunderbird, it supports RSS natively as I mentioned in another comment

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                                    As does MS Outlook (if you are a Windows user)

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                                      I didn’t knew that, thanks for sharing.

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                                    Personally, I consume news feeds quite different from e-mail, so something like that does not work for me. I’m an elfeed user and make heavy use of its tagging feature so I can manage dozens of feeds by now, using the tags to show those entries that belong to what I am currently at. I’ve never been so happy with feed reading before.

                                    I’d actually need the inverse from rss2email: an email2rss gateway. There are websites that don’t provide an RSS/Atom feed, but only an e-mail newsletter. That conflicts with my way to consume news. Is something like that available?

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                                      Interesting. I built something similar for personal use (using offlineimap and a scraper).

                                      Does Feenbox do anything to handle partial feeds (that is, feeds that truncate articles, making you go to the site to get the rest of the content)?

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                                        No, it provides the feed content as-is (plus attachments), but that’s a great feature request!

                                        However, I’m not sure how to solve that. Compare the CDATA content against the guid url page content? That would require an extra HTTP request plus post-processing per feed item, which is not super bad, but extra overhead nonetheless

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                                          I ended up storing a CSS selector alongside the feed URL.

                                          If a feed item has a valid URL, I extract everything matching the selector from that URL to replace the CDATA content. If nothing matches or the HTTP fetch fails, I mark it as un-processed and try again later (at some point it’d be good to eventually give up and send the original, but for my purposes this is alright for now).

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                                      RSS didn’t work because it’s basically an N+1 problem encoded into a standard.

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                                        I don’t know what you mean by, “RSS didn’t work”.

                                        I use RSS every day, including to browse Lobste.rs, and for me it works great.

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                                          Pauses his podcast

                                          Yeah… I’m not sure if you’re right about that.

                                          Resumes podcast