[whatwg] Removing the need for separate feeds

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Fri May 22 02:49:45 PDT 2009

Adrian Sutton writes:

> On 22/05/2009 08:21, "Ian Hickson" <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > As far as I can tell, things get better if the feed format and the
> > default output format are the same, yes. Generally, redundant
> > information has tended to lead to problems.
> Can you point to examples of this in relation to the use of feeds in
> particular?

I can't find examples right now, but I have encountered various problems
along these lines in the past, including:

* The feed suddenly becomes empty.
* A new blog has a 'feed' link, but it never works.
* A blog's feed URL changes, but doesn't redirect.
* A feed is misformatted in a way which causes it to be ignored.
* The content of a feed is misformatted, such that in a feed reader its
  display is mangled, such as HTML tags and entities showing, or spaces
  having been squeezed out from around tags such that linked words don't
  have spaces around them.
* The content of a feed has certain critical information, such as an
  image, stripped from it, such that it makes no sense, or has a
  different meaning from the full post.
* The content of a feed has certain critical mark-up stripped from it,
  such as <sup> around exponents in a mathematical expression rendering
  "36" where "3 to the power of 6" was intended.

In all cases the HTML version of the blog had correctly displaying and
updating content; only the feed was affected by the issues.  This
usually left the author unaware of the problem, as they don't subscribe
to their own blog.

Eduard Pascual writes:

> sites using feeds tend to be almost always dynamic: both the HTML
> pages and the feeds are generated via server scripts from the *same
> set of source data*,

I believe that to be true for at least most of the above cases I
encountered.  However that obviously wasn't sufficient to avoid the

> For manually authored pages and feeds things would be different; but
> are there really a significant ammount of such cases out there?

Not many.  But that's quite possibly because of the effort involved in
doing so.  The algorithm in the HTML 5 spec would allow some categories
of handcrafted pages to gain feeds for free.

I've often encountered webpages which I wished had feeds but don't.
It's possible that an algorithm such as this would encourage more pages
to do so.


More information about the whatwg mailing list