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RSS would be perfect if...

September 1, 2004 @ 7:33am

RSS is pretty simple. In fact, RSS wears a big t-shirt that says, "Simple is my middle name." Publishers are adopting RSS all over the place and advertisers are trying to figure out how to reach this elusive and finicky audience of early adopters, but RSS is a pretty unfriendly medium for advertising compared to the regular Web or even spam (formerly known as "email").

Me? I love RSS. I couldn't keep up with the embarrassingly small percentage of WIN sites I read if I didn't have FeedDemon, but there are a few things I wish RSS and feed readers could do. Many solutions to RSS problems involve server-side scripting — like the HTTP Conditional GET, which spares Web servers some of the load of repeated requests for feeds that have not changed — but scripting can only do so much.

Clarification: one reader pointed out that Conditional GETs don't require scripting. That is correct, but basic Conditional GETs will still serve your entire 120K XML file even if only one item has been added. Combining Conditional GETs with a server-side script that returns only the new posts is the only way I'd ever want to do Conditional GETs so I consider this a "scripting" solution.

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