Sunday, November 11, 2007

About RSS, Google Reader and feeds in general

Invention of RSS is genius in my opinion. I'm the person who reads many many information every day because I'm engineer and really want to be up-to-date every day. I need it to bring my customers the best solutions available on the market. In order to accomplish that I'm subscribed to many blogs and other technical feeds - and I use Google Reader to read them all :)

Google Reader (GR) sucks but it's the best tool for reading feeds I know (on the other hand I don't know many of them). Comparing for example with Firefox bookmarks GR rocks. If you want to read new items in Firefox you have to press Ctrl+B and your main web view will be smaller which is annoying (I wanted to use other words but I don't like using dirty words in public). In GR I have everything in one place nicely lay outed and the most important it's very clear and readable. I don't want to advertise GR because it sucks anyway (there is also cool add-on for Firefox that notifies you about new items to read from GR).

Unfortunately some websites that interests me does not expose RSS feeds which sucks very very much. It's so simple and powerful - why, oh why you don't implement this feature - I need it :) I see only two remedies for this:

  1. Ask website admin/author to implement it (yeah, good luck ;)

  2. Implement it by yourself (it sucks 10 times more because you will probably have to parse HTML page!!! but you will get what you want and help others :)

I even tried second solution because I've had enough checking the website for news. In place where I live (Gdansk area or Tricity) there is local news website that does not expose RSS feed (it sucks, of course :) I needed it very much so I wrote my own crawler (in Java obviously) and helped the World. The RSS for news from this site is available under this address:
Unfortunately there are other interesting sections other than news (culture events, concerts, theater plays, etc.) that still don't have their RSSs. And I don't want to parse HTML anyway...

The point is that not everybody knows RSS and not every website publishes feeds. I wonder how we can advertise or maybe better, impose website authors to do this? Is it possible?

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