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Preview: Comments on: Why RSS? parts 187 and 188

Comments on Why RSS? parts 187 and 188

a digital magpie

Updated: 2016-10-24T13:44:47Z


By: DJ


Interesting. I must admit, I don’t totally grok the distinction you’re trying to make, unless you simply mean the way that an aggregator typically might intermingle all the latest entries from multiple disparate sources, whereas a newsreader would typically present you with the latest entries sorted by source.

Regarding ” a newsreader, which displays all the items in a feed, new or old, all together”, I don’t think that’s really true – most newsreaders can present you with just the new (”unread”) posts, via configuration.

Anyway, if it is this subtle distinction of presentation that you’re getting at, then perhaps in this context of NNTP-transported weblog items, we’re moving towards a distinction between ”WTA”s and ”WUA”s (”weblog transport agents” and ”weblog user agents” – parallel to the email world)?

And what’s to stop one from aggregating items at the WUA end and re-presenting such a ”stew” as a further newsgroup?

Food for thought indeed!



By: Chris Gulker


Good point on aggregators… perusing a Google search on my name, I found items from the XML feed all over the place. In some cases interesting ’dialogs’ had been assembled by 3rd-party editors sifting the XML streams…

By: Phil Ringnalda


DJ: Yeah, I wasn’t actually talking about ”newsreaders” in the NNTP sense at all, just borrowing the word to describe RSS reader displays that show items by feed rather than by (rough) freshness. And as I said over in Russ Beattie’s comments, I suspect that a combination of the two display styles in a single reader, with a per-feed choice of how to display it, would work the best. I hate seeing a big lump of newspaper headlines in the middle of my handmade collaborative weblog, but if I could get them newsreader style down at the end of the page after I finish reading everything else, I think I’d like them a lot better.

Chris: I’d love to see more of that, despite the havoc it wreaks with my ”display referrers” script (since someone who aggregates every item looks to it like someone who is referring to every item). Somewhere I ran across a post from the early days of Radio’s development that made it sound like that’s what it was going to be, rather than a weblog engine: you would just decide which of your categories to route a news item to, and then publish it, rather than quoting part of it as a starter for your own comments. That sounded really cool to me, since most of the time I’m more of a reader and categorizer than a writer and commentator. It’s an idea I’d like to see revisited, especially if the identity of the item could be preserved: I’d like to be able to subscribe to a dozen or so different feeds on RSS itself, but not if I have to see every post from Ben Hammersley in all twelve ;).

By: Eric Tilton


For what it’s worth, NetNewsWire (which probably falls under your definition of ”newsreader” instead of ”aggregator”) makes it really to read all (or some) of your feeds in the ”one big chronological soup” form. You can create groups of feeds and read them as an intermingled blog, or you can enable a top-level ”what’s new” virtual feed that aggregates all of your feeds.

That being said, I don’t really like reading everything intermingled — it’s one of the reasons I prefer NNW over Radio. I like having the flexibility of conceptual organization (and I like not having to read this stuff in an actual web browser). But there’s plenty of choice out there, so to each his own :).

By: Phil Ringnalda


Hmm. So in NNW I could just throw all my bloggish feeds into one group that gets displayed chronologically, and have headline-oriented stuff like the Beeb and the Reg display newsreader style: before I even knew I wanted it Brent’s already got me covered.

Have I mentioned that I will not. I will not. I will not buy a new computer to run one app. Really. That would be silly. I think.

By: Mark A. Hershberger


The RSS backend in Gnus (a /real/ newsreader), by default, displays the latest items per ”feed”.

Gnus can also be configured to display the items as a single huge group using the nnvirtual backend, but I’ve found I prefer to read items seperately.

BTW, since this is Gnus, you could ”aggregate” your mailing lists and news groups into the same big heap of items to read.

If you really wanted to, that is.

By: Mark A. Hershhberger


I should point out that rss makes weblog reading very much like reading USENET.

My plan for RSS reading is to put hooks into Gnus to post responses to my own weblog while {ping|track}backing the original weblog. And to make this invisible to the end user. That is, this process will feel exactly like posting to USENET or sending an email. The same UI.