Nathan Hoad

RSS Is Basically Underground Nerd Tech

October 12, 2019

A quick search for “extract article text from html” will find you a million different tools, paid services, StackOverflow questions etc that are making up for the fact that RSS never took off properly, ignoring that using RSS should make it extremely easy to extract an article from a webpage in a standard way. Or maybe they’re making up for the whole “paywall” thing? Did Facebook kill it? I don’t know.

If everyone used RSS then this entire area of technology wouldn’t even have to exist. What a lot of wasted effort. And this is just for developers talking to other developers, not helping the muggles out at all.

Is it a usability issue? Probably. People want to subscribe to news for something, how do they do it? I do it by subscribing to an RSS feed, because I’m a nerd. I think other people would literally use the email-a-newsletter approach, which is vaguely similar, but not as good, or they’d literally just revisit the page every now and then. Or would they like a Facebook page on the topic? The Facebook newsfeed is basically RSS. Twitter is also basically RSS. So is Reddit. Social media is just a more interactive version of RSS, now that I think about it. Nathan’s Hot Takes, free of charge.

This stream of consciousness was brought to you by me thinking “I want to use RSS again, what readers are good these days?” It kinda turned into me rambling about RSS, but that’s still pretty on-topic, so I’m cool with it.