The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, February 01, 2004

News feed update (you lucky people!)

(Tommy Trinder, for those who really are lucky...)

I've said before that this blog is an education - for me, at least - and thus it has proved with the vexed question of the RSS and Atom feeds. (The intrigued may scroll down.)

I am in a positition to make an announcement in the style of John Kennedy (through his mouthpiece, Vaughn Meader) issuing his ruling on the dispersal of bath-toys:

Currently, links to two varieties of feed are available in the left hand column:
  • the XML button generates RSS 0.92 version product; and

  • the Atom Feed link generates an Atom product.

My (utterly lay) understanding of the technicalities is that
  • there are several sorts of RSS (of which 0.92 is one) ;and

  • there is Atom.

Newsreaders will tend to accept several versions of RSS, but are rather less likely to accept Atom - a list of Atom-compatible newsreaders. Both RSS and Atom are written in XML - which is to webpages what calculus is to maths. I never mastered calculus, and, likewise, I'm strictly an HTML kind of guy. (Fortunately, one does not seem to need to know XML to use any sort of newsreader I've come across.)

I have yet to download an Atom-compatible newsreader: but, to look at the product in a browser window, it looks to be OK (it no longer balks at non-ASCII characters, or looks weird in any other way).

The advantage of Atom seems to be that it only offers the first hundred or so words of each post to the newsreader - the RSS feed unloads the lot - which I suspect would make Atom the more convenient of the two for most users.

Caveat maxime lector - and the best of British!

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