January 21, 2003

Simplifying RSS subscriptions

Brent Simmons points to some interesting comments from Michael Alderete about making RSS feeds much easier to discover and use on Mac OS X. I like the concept, but I think it's possible to do even better, and to do so with a solution that wouldn't be tied to a specific platform.

Currently, links for RSS feeds are given with a protocol of "http". Change that to "rss" and all of a sudden things get a lot easier. A news aggregator would just have to register for the rss protocol, and whenever the user clicked on an rss link, their news aggregator would be launched with that URL. Require aggregators to handle either a direct address for the RSS feed or an address for a web page which they'd use as the basis for autodiscovery and you're all set.

If aggregators supported this, you could construct a Javascript bookmarklet that would simply open the location of the current page, but with an 'rss://' tacked on to the front of the URL instead of 'http://'. That'd cause the user's news aggregator to launch and subscribe to the current page. Then you'd have a one-click RSS subscription process that doesn't require any browser or operating system changes, and which would work on all platforms.

First day

Now that I have a disclaimer written, I just have to take the time to prominently link to it from my page. I'll do that shortly, but not tonight; I'm too tired and I have too much other stuff on my mind.

It was strange to be back at Apple today, a year and a half since I left and about two and a half years since I was in the office there every day. I still have the same employee ID number, so I'm happy. I'm glad I could get a new ID picture to go with it.

I also now know what I'm working on. That's the last I'll say about my team or project for the forseeable future.

It's really quite astonishing how different Microsoft and Apple are. I have a feeling I'll be amazed by that (and reminded of it) over and over again for a long time to come.

It's nice to be home again.