RSS is Not Dead

, in Computing, Rant

RSS is not dead although sometimes it seems that wayThis blog is also less dead than it seems..

In fact, RSS is so not dead that every few months there are a spate of articles declaring exactly how not dead it is - a sure sign of a very alive technology.

I am being flippant, there are many warts in the RSS standard but it is so old and so well supported that it will never really go away. And RSS is still exceedingly useful even in these days of social media walled gardens.

I am certainly not the first person to point out that Google made a huge mistake in getting rid of their RSS product all those years ago. They basically owned the way people consumed blogs. I'll bet Reader looked bad on the balance sheet but the follow-on benefits of knowing who was reading and liking what posts and which blogs were influentialwhich is not the same as excessively linked to, despite what Google says. were incalculable. And that doesn't even count the not-so-subtle push that Reader gave to people to maintain their own blogs, blogs which Google was clearly the market leader in indexing. By killing Reader Google destroyed a virtuous circle in the web eco-system.

Speaking of social media walled gardens, I am using Mastodon for most social media needs these days. I like the culture and can live with the sometimes janky interfaceFollowing people on other servers is very possible but the workflow is oh-so-bad. but what really excites me is how open everything is. Don't like the interface? Use one of the many thrid-partyMastodon is so diffuse that the term hardly even applies. apps or write your own. And of course, Mastodon supports RSS to the extent that all public profiles can be subscribed to by adding .rss to the end of the url.

Even better, the open nature of Mastodon allows for really cool projects like RSS is, a fantastic way to discover things written by people you are following/followed by. I highly recommend checking it out, that person you followed because they wrote a pithy comment about cats might have something interesting to say in a longer form.

This blog is also not dead. For months I have been working on a seeeeecret project but I have just entered it into the 2024 Spring Thing competition. This means I have to actually finish the damn thing by the end of March and then all will be revealed.