Matt Peperell's Blog

R for 'RSS'

Written: 20 Apr 2024 (Index by date)

Tags: a-to-z  tech  (Index by tag)

Continuing the A-to-Z Challenge, today’s letter is R and the topic is RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a way that a site can publish its information to facilitate the erading of the content via another app or a separate website which aggregates the content.

RSS icon If you’ve ever seen this orange icon on on a site then that will typically link to the RSS feed for the site. I have an RSS feed for my site (also linked at the bottom of each post).

The benefit of this is that one can configure an RSS-reader (as they’re called), add the sites which one reads on a regular basis and then have the content all in one place. Depending on the site in question, this can also strip out the adverts (though there are none on my site), and either include or exclude the comments.

One of the most widely used RSS readers was the now-discontinued Google Reader. RSS usage took a huge nosedive when that service was dropped. I suspect, as alluded to above, this was due to the loss of ad revenue on sites because only the content was extracted. Another stronger force is likely to be the proliferation of social network sites which provide similar aggregated feeds of subscribed-to content. Such aggregations, being under control of providers can have their order change, ads inserted, and certain material masked or promoted. RSS aggregation bypasseds all that.

For a short while I used The Old Reader (which is still running) but I had exceeded the subscription limit of the free plan when that limit was introduced but I felt like I didn’t read content often enough to warrant any of the paid-for plans.

A little over a year I learned of rssnix which is a self-managed RSS reader written in Go. It had a couple of bugs listed in the issues which looked simple enough(!). I was actively learning Go at the time so I used that as an opportunity to dive in and fixed a couple.

I still use that now, though very much on an ad-hoc basis.

If you publish a blog, do you provide an RSS feed? Do you consume RSS feeds?

RSS RSS feed