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RSS Advisory Board

RSS Advisory Board announcements and Really Simple Syndication news


Should Feed Readers Count Unread Items?

Wed, 02 Apr 2014 11:12:53 -0400


Brent Simmons, the developer of the NetNewsWire RSS reader, is questioning his decision to put an unread count next to each feed, reasoning that it encourages people to be too obsessive about reading every item:

Instead of a dozen bookmarks, people had a hundred feeds. Or two hundred. Or two thousand.

And there was a tyranny behind keeping track of unread items and showing an unread count. People reacted in different ways, but many people felt like they always had to go through everything.

Including me. To this day.

I did not know this was going to happen. That was not the idea: it was a side effect of reasonable (at the time) choices.

I like seeing these counts on feeds where I need to read all items that are posted, but that's only a small percentage of the 100-120 feeds I follow. It would be nice to turn that off for others I read more casually.

Feedly presents unread counts on each feed and folder of feeds. There's a Mark As Read button to clear a count, but when you click it, the confirmation dialog acts like it's an extremely consequential decision: "Are you sure you want to mark this entire source as read? This operation cannot be undone."

I've posed a question on the RSS-Public mailing list: Do you think feed readers should count unread items?


WordPress Uses RSS as Blog Export Format

Tue, 11 Mar 2014 16:18:14 -0400

If you export your WordPress blog, it is delivered to you as an RSS feed that holds all of the blog's entries, pages and comments. WordPress makes use of five namespaces and calls the format WordPress eXtended RSS (WXR). I'm working on a Java application that converts a WXR file into a set of static HTML pages.(image)

Yahoo Groups Dropped RSS Feed Support

Thu, 06 Mar 2014 15:47:26 -0500

The RSS feeds of the RSS-Public and RSS-Board mailing lists are no longer available. Yahoo Groups used to offer feeds for each of its public lists, but Yahoo dropped support last year. A member of the service's product team said the feature was retired in July 2013.

To read the lists and subscribe to receive them in email, visit the Yahoo Groups pages for RSS-Public and RSS-Board.

We may move the lists to Google Groups, which does offer RSS feeds for each group.


What Do You Use to Read RSS Feeds?

Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:15:05 -0500

(image) In 2007, the RSS Advisory Board published the RSS Best Practices Profile, our advice for how to produce RSS feeds that work best in the wide variety of feed readers, web browsers and other software that consumes feeds. The RSS specification is poorly written in several areas, leading to disagreement over the correct way to do things. We wanted to help programmers and web publishers avoid these hassles.

The programs tested as we drafted the profile were Bloglines, BottomFeeder 4.4, Feed Demon 2.5 (, Google Reader, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox 2.0 (2.0.9), My Yahoo, NewsGator Online and Opera 9.

Since then, Google Reader and NewsGator Online shut down, Bloglines moved to a new software platform and FeedDemon is up to version 4.5. Web browsers all have significant upgrades and Google Chrome has sprung into existence.

I thought it was time to look at whether all of the profile's advice is appropriate with current feed reading software. As the first step, I posed this question today on the RSS-Public mailing list:

What software do you currently use to read RSS feeds?

For years, I read feeds primarily with Bloglines. I moved to Google Reader and when it was killed (sigh), I switched to Feedly after a few months where I didn't read feeds at all. For podcasts, I use Apple iTunes.


RSS Board Moves to New Server

Thu, 28 Oct 2010 17:49:05 -0400

The RSS Advisory Board has moved its web site to a new server. If you have any problems using the site, please note them in the comments. Thanks.


Media RSS Moves to the RSS Advisory Board

Fri, 11 Dec 2009 21:29:08 -0500

The proposal for the RSS Advisory Board to become the publisher of the Media RSS namespace has passed 8-0 with members Rogers Cadenhead, Sterling "Chip" Camden, Simone Carletti, James Holderness, Jenny Levine, Randy Charles Morin, Ryan Parman and Jake Savin voting in favor.

The specification's permanent URL will be once we have finished proofreading the document. The namespace declaration will remain for as long as it is published to ensure that software using the namespace will continue to function properly.

The board also will be taking over management of the RSS-Media mailing list, where implementers of the namespace can get help and contribute feedback.


Proposal: Take Over Publication of Media-RSS

Tue, 24 Nov 2009 13:58:43 -0500

The following RSS Advisory Board proposal has been made by Rogers Cadenhead and seconded by Ryan Parman.

Under the advisory board charter, the board has seven days to discuss the proposal followed by seven days to vote on it. Interested parties can comment on the proposal on the mailing list RSS-Public.

Media RSS is a namespace for syndicating audio, video and image files that was created by Yahoo in 2004. The namespace extends RSS support for enclosures to enable a number of different applications, such as video and audio search engines, multiple bitrates and encodings of the same content, artist credits and copyright information, and the ability to play the content with a specified media player.

In the five years since its launch, Media RSS has become highly popular with podcasters and other multimedia publishers and fosteredan active development community at the Yahoo Groups mailing list RSS-Media. The namespace is supported by Yahoo Search, Bing, Wikipedia, Flock, Picasa, FriendFeed, Bebo and many other sites and software.

Yahoo, with the participation of members of RSS-Media, recently published version 1.5 of the Media RSS specification.

Over the past year, there have been discussions about the RSS Advisory Board becoming the publisher of the Media RSS namespace to ensure its continued availability and stability, a function the board serves for RSS 0.90 and RSS 0.91. Netscape transferred those specifications to the board in November 2008.

Sapna Chandiramani, a senior engineering manager at Yahoo whose department has responsibility for the Media RSS namespace, has indicated a willingness to have the board take over custodianship.

I propose that the RSS Advisory Board agrees to become the custodian of the namespace, publishing the current version at the permanent URL and archiving past versions.

Additionally, the board offers to manage the RSS-Media mailing list.

Finally, the board resolves that the namespace URI for Media RSS will remain "" for as long as it is published to ensure that software using the namespace will continue to function properly.


6 Edits Made to RSS Specification

Mon, 30 Mar 2009 08:00:00 -0400

In a 7-0 vote, the RSS Advisory Board has approved six edits to the RSS specification, the documentation for the RSS 2.0 format. These edits do not affect the definitions of the elements and attributes that constitute RSS. They were purely administrative changes that improve the readability of the document, fix a broken link and factual errors, and link to use-case documentation on the board's site.

The revision history for the specification describes the edits.

The proposal was made by Rogers Cadenhead and seconded by Sterling Camden. They were joined by members Simone Carletti, James Holderness, Randy Charles Morin, Ryan Parman and Paul Querna voting in favor.


The RSS Namespace?

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 00:46:36 -0500

Should RSS have a namespace? Recently, there's been discussion on th rss-public messages list about adding a namespace to RSS for RSS elements that are embedded in other XML documents. Currently, it is impossible to embed RSS elements inside other XML elements that have a default namespace. This proposal would allow such.

Please post your arguments here.

Please review the initial discussion here.


Ryan Parman Joins RSS Advisory Board

Fri, 12 Dec 2008 11:20:35 -0500

Congrats to Ryan Parman, the newest member of the RSS Advisory Board.

Ryan is the creator of SimplePie and Tarzan AWS and co-founder of WarpShare. He also co-built the Y! Messenger website. You can find out more about Ryan on his Website.

Ryan's Bio


RSS in 2008

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 23:06:48 -0400

This week, Steve Rubel has written a couple of blog posts that have made me kick myself in the ass for not doing more as chair of the board.

This is required reading for everybody who wants to help me advance RSS.

First he writes RSS Adoption at 11% and it May Be Peaking.

Then he writes I've Seen the Future of News, It's the Newsfeed.


Randy Charles Morin Becomes RSS Advisory Board Chair

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 12:42:49 -0400

Randy Charles Morin has become the chairman of the RSS Advisory Board, taking over for Rogers Cadenhead, who will continue as a member.

Morin, a member of the board since 2006, is an RSS software developer who created the enormously popular RSS-to-email service SendMeRSS, which had 50,000 users when it was sold to NBC Universal in 2007. Morin began the site -- originally called R-Mail, as a personal project, turning it into a business when it grew by 15,000 users over a 90-day period.

A member of the RSS community who's been evangelizing the format for years, Morin publishes the RSS Blog, a how-to site forRSS publishers and developers that has more than 6,800 subscribers toits feed.

While on the board, Morin led the development of the RSS Best Practices Profile, a set of recommendations that make it easier for feed publishers and programmers to implement RSS 2.0.


Microsoft Updates RSS User Agent

Thu, 28 Feb 2008 10:12:51 -0500

Microsoft has announced that the user agent string for the next version of the RSS Platform will be "Windows-RSS-Platform/2.0 (MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0)".

The platform will be used by Internet Explorer 8 to request the user's subscribed RSS feeds.


RSS 0.90, 0.91 Moving to RSS Advisory Board

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 19:14:15 -0500

Netscape announced this afternoon that the first two versions of RSS, RSS 0.90 and RSS 0.91, are moving to the RSS Advisory Board.

The RSS specification documents, DTDs, and help files for the first versions of RSS (v0.9, v0.91) are being moved to, where they will be hosted by the RSS Advisory Board in perpetuity. Netscape will continue to host these files (via redirect) on the My Netscape domain ( until August 1st, 2008.

Netscape launched RSS on March 15, 1999, with the My Netscape Network and an RSS 0.90 specification written by Ramanathan Guha. Four months later, RSS 0.91 was launched with a specification written by Dan Libby. Five years after revolutionizing the web browser, Netscape sparked another revolution on the web with XML-based syndication.

All websites that produce RSS 0.9 or RSS 0.91 feeds will need to either convert to using the current standard (RSS v2.0), or if desired, convert their v0.9/v0.91 feeds properly using this guide, provided by the RSS Advisory Board, by August 1st.

The board will ensure the continued availability of the specifications and the RSS 0.91 DTD (document type definition), which still receives four million hits a day from XML parsing software. We could use some advice from Apache admins on how to serve a file that often without reducing the HTTP server to a smoldering heap of rubble.

In the eight years since Netscape published the first RSS specification, the format has become as essential to the web as HTML, XHTML and CSS. By my estimation, the specs and related DTDs have been requested from Netscape's servers more than one billion times.

As the current chairman of the board, I'd like to thank Guha and Libby for their work on the first two versions of RSS and more recent Netscape employees Chris Finke and Tom Drapeau for helping this transition. Though most RSS feeds use the current version today, thousands of feed publishers continue to employ RSS 0.9 and RSS 0.91. Long after Netscape closed the first incarnation of the My Netscape Network and had no business interest in RSS, the company contributed to the success of web syndication by keeping these documents online.


Sterling Camden, Simone Carletti Join RSS Advisory Board

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 17:39:26 -0500

Two new members have joined the RSS Advisory Board: Sterling "Chip" Camden and Simone Carletti.

Camden's a software developer who covers technology and programming topics for TechRepublic. He also writes about RSS frequently on his weblogs Chip's Quips and Chip's Tips.

A commercial programmer since 1978, Camden has created the OPML Blogroll and OPML Browser widgets for the WordPress weblog publishing platform. He's also a supporter of the yearly Providing Autism Research golf tournament in Pleasanton, Calif.

The first Italian to serve on the board, Carletti is a technical manager at Altura Labs and a contributor to the instructional web publishing site He specializes in RSS-related issues.

Carletti's also the author of the Italian translation of the RSS specification.

Welcome to the board!