Some months ago I was having an email discussion with Kirk about RSS feeds. Can't remember why we were discussing this, but I was talking about one of the (many) reasons why I don't use an aggregator to read blogs.
One of the (many) reasons is that I dislike getting full stories in an RSS feed - I'd much rather have just the headlines which is why my RSS feeds have always provided nothing more than an excerpt.
But then it occurred to me that surely the whole point of RSS is that you supply the feed and people view it however they want to. So why not have a full story feed as well? After all people might want to use it.
So I created a feed. It was been sat there for some time whilst I checked it was working fine. I signed up to daily email updates from the RSS validator on scripting.com. Quite handy I thought. Everything validates, yippee, hurray!
Until this week. This week all of a sudden, the feed becomes invalid. All my feeds become 'invalid'. Apparently a load of
<dc.whatever> tags are suddenly invalid.
Puzzled, I pour over the templates. Everything looks fine. The Feed Validator (on which the scripting.com version is based) says the feed are fine. Everything I look at says the feeds are fine.
Then I remember Mark Pilgrim's post, Will the real RSS validator please stand up? where he mentions the various battles and wars around RSS, and with David Winer - head honcho in an RSS world - and his mysterious changing mind.
Now I don't know who is wrong or right. What I do know is that my RSS templates were based on standard, validating templates that came with Movable Type. Then all of a sudden, they stop validating in a validator controlled by a rival to MT?
Am I the only one to find this suspicious?
Now I don't know what's right, and what's wrong, in this debate, but the fact that someone can suddenly change what's valid and what's not overnight, doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence.
Which is when I decide to give up on RSS, and create the new feed in Atom instead.
You can find the feed at http://www.bods.me.uk/blog/feeds/atomfull.xml. Let me know if you find it useful.
It provides the full stories, it seems to work in Bloglines and it validates. Except in the RSS validator at scripting.com (which despite its name, does support Atom) which tells me the
<dc:subject> tag is invalid. Hmm...