[whatwg] Removing rel=feed

Mark Pilgrim mark at diveintomark.org
Tue Oct 6 14:35:33 PDT 2009

This is an email followup from an IRC discussion long ago, at Ian's request.


# [23:30] <mpilgrim> test cases:
http://diveintomark.org/tmp/relalternate.html and
# [23:30] <mpilgrim> all modern browsers support the former (except
google chrome, which has no feed autodiscovery at all)
# [23:31] <mpilgrim> firefox 3 supports rel=feed
# [23:31] <Hixie> sounds right
# [23:31] <mpilgrim> firefox 2 does not support rel=feed
# [23:32] <mpilgrim> opera 9.62 does not support rel=feed
# [23:32] <mpilgrim> safari 4 beta does not support rel=feed
# [23:32] <mpilgrim> IE8 final does not support rel=feed


# [04:45] <mpilgrim> i've completed my rel=feed research ( c.f.
http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/whatwg/20090416#l-507 )
# [04:46] <mpilgrim> i sampled 3 billion web pages from google's latest index
# [04:46] <mpilgrim> weeding out errors like rel='RSS 2.0 feed' and
false positives like rel='service.feed',
# [04:46] <mpilgrim> i found exactly 1 page that uses rel='feed'
according to specification and to the exclusion of any other
autodiscovery mechanism
# [04:46] <mpilgrim> http://seiji.asia/
# [04:47] <mpilgrim> and they have a visible link on their page that
also links to their feed
# [04:48] <mpilgrim> so there would be little harm in removing
rel=feed support from the only browser that actually supports it
# [04:48] <mpilgrim> and little harm in removing it from html 5

To sum up: only one browser has ever implemented rel=feed, despite it
being in the draft spec for several years, and real-world usage of the
feature is miniscule. I recommend removing the section called 'Link
type "feed"' from HTML5 altogether, and redefining 'Link type
"alternate"' in a way that does not depend on rel=feed.

-Mark Pilgrim

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