In for the long haul

Looks like Tim Bray’s going into weblogging for the long haul, with permalinks in the form When/200x/2003/02/27/Hello, allowing for an easy grouping of posts from the Oughts, and then everything from the Teens, and the Twenties…

I can’t imagine being able to do it, but getting a fair number of posts up before announcing your presence is an awfully good way to launch a blog: despite having a “Welcome to my new weblog”-ish post at the top of the front page, there’s already a ton of juicy posts (and nice features, like the heirarchical category display) to give you something to look at beyond just “yep, that’s Tim Bray’s weblog, with one post on it.”

One thing I would have liked to see, along with the discussion of how the lack of a ‘site’ concept makes it hard to find an RSS feed, is support for RSS autodiscovery. There are times when I’ll hit my autosubscribe bookmarklet, get nothing because the author hasn’t added a <link> tag, and just wander off without bothering to add the feed by hand. Not this time, certainly, but there are times.


Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-27 21:38:56

I’m not sure where it ought to live, but it does seem like there should be something more from googling ’rss autodiscovery’ than a weblog post that assumes you already know what it is, with the description ”A temporary description of the Autodiscovery of RSS system. I expect this to be superceded by something…”

Comment by Anders Jacobsen #
2003-02-28 03:39:19

Google significantly favours pages listed in the Open Directory Project.

The ”trick” if you have written an authorative piece on something, or if you want better search results for your unique content, seems to be to submit your article(s) to the delevant category in…

Random example; a few of my book and video-game reviews are listed in ODP and rate well in Google searches for those…

ODP/dmoz is open for submission (in fact they encourage the public to submit sites), and I recommend submitting stuff to them if you find good resources online…

Comment by Shannon #
2003-02-28 05:24:59

Hell, all you need to do is have a prominent (or prolific, at the very least) weblogger write (or cut & paste) a good description of RSS autodiscovery and put it in a post (with an individual archive) titled ”RSS autodiscovery.”

Give it three days, top.

You know the drill, Phil – you’re the one who introduced us to it.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-28 07:36:05

Well, but I don’t much want it in a blog post at all – if you are trying to persuade someone that they should support it, having them find that the spec is a blog post from May 2002 doesn’t exactly give the feeling of a permanent and widespread thing. And I certainly don’t want to get into a Google pissing match with Mark, especially since as Anders notes he already has the power of DMOZ (and a ton of links from back then) behind him. In fact, it could well be pretty much unshiftable.

Comment by Anders Jacobsen #
2003-03-01 03:41:45

I see no problem in having more than one resource describing the same issue, and ODP is not a directory of single sources (quite the opposite!) and as Mark mentions below, a proper ”here is RSS, here are the specs, here are the known variations, the known parsers, etc etc etc” would be a good idea to write some time in the future…

In the meantime – if you write a post on RSS Autodiscovery; post it to ODP and see Googlejuice work its miracles. [More info on Googlejuice here.]

PS I LOVE your threaded comments-functionality!!!

Comment by Mark #
2003-02-28 09:22:01

There have been lots of half-attempts to centralize information about RSS. DW has tried several times with directories, specs, whatever, but he only points to his own stuff. For example, the RSS 2.0 spec includes a directory that includes a category called ”specifications”. But neither the spec nor the associated directory acknowledges the existence of the RSS 1.0 spec or the multitude of 1.0 modules (many of which work unmodified in RSS 2.0). The RSS-DEV crowd is the same, in reverse. Everybody’s still off in their own camp.

Also, DW hates the ODP, so while the main RSS spec gets in there, his other explanations of stuff rarely do. Which is a shame, because many of them are quite good, but they don’t have good Googlejuice and they’re just impossible to find through navigation alone. (Example: quick, find all the articles he’s ever written about cool stuff you can do in Radio. There is *tons* of cool stuff you can do in Radio, but if you don’t read Scripting News every day, you’ll never find it.)

Back to RSS. Nobody’s made a single site that says ”So you want to write an aggregator, here’s the 7 specs and a dozen other things you need to support…” and ”So you have a weblog, here’s what RSS can do for you and here’s how to do it…” and ”So you want to write a publishing system, here’s how you build an RSS feed…” and ”So you read a lot of weblogs, here’s what this ’RSS’ thing is all about.” Some of these things have been done, to varying degrees, but they’re all scattered.

”Dive Into RSS”, anyone?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-28 19:06:21

Dive Into The Sharkpit, anyone?

To keep the bickering reasonably contained and on-topic, you would probably need to hang a comment thread off each sentence. Probably each word would be too granular, though maybe not.

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