Breaking the world of syndication

It’s time for the users of syndicated XML feeds to stand up and be heard. We’ve been the victims of far too many politicized developer fights, as they push whatever their new idea is, at the expense of whatever we’re already happily using. One thing after another, they decide that just because they’ve had a brain fart and like the smell, that every single one of us should start producing something new, and should turn in whatever programs we are currently using to read feeds for a new version, or if we can’t get a new version, switch to some other program. I say, enough! The things that worked before would still work just fine, if only they would get out of their ivory towers, get off their high horses, and quit breaking the stuff we actually use for their strange ideas of format elegance.

Movable Type: don’t replace the RSS link element with the RSS guid element!

The spec makes it absolutely, unambiguously clear that when you have an excerpt in the description element, the link element is the URL for the full item:

An item may represent a “story” — much like a story in a newspaper or magazine; if so its description is a synopsis of the story, and the link points to the full story. An item may also be complete in itself, if so, the description contains the text (entity-encoded HTML is allowed), and the link and title may be omitted.

If you want to include the guid element, fine. If you want to make the guid a permalink, fine. But don’t break the hundreds of scripts and programs out there that only know title/link/description just because it doesn’t look pretty to have the same data in two elements.

(What, you thought I was talking about something else?)


Comment by GiacomoL #
2004-05-11 01:36:10

Absolutely with you.

Comment by Neil T. #
2004-05-11 01:50:42

I make sure that the guid isn’t a permalink in my feeds. The filename that link points to in my case is generated from the title, and so if I change the title for whatever reason, the link changes too. Therefore I use guid with permalink=”false” and then use MTEntryID@MTBlogURL as the ID in the tags, since that will be unique for an entry and won’t change if I edit the title of the entry.

You comment about retaining link for backwards compatibility is a good one though.

Comment by Geodog #
2004-05-11 03:23:01