Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Feed me quality!

After have used FeedDemon for a week, I can honestly say two things:

  1. It rocks
  2. Why didn’t I discover it sooner?

This is probably old news to those of you who have used aggregators for some time, but even after using it for only a few days I’m wondering how I survived without it. While I can think of a few things I’d change in it, for the most part it works fine. I’ll do a detailed entry about what features it needs once version 1.0 final is out of the door, since Nick isn’t taking note of feature requests until then.
There’s just one thing that annoys me about using RSS as opposed to the web versions of sites, and this isn’t something Nick can really solve. The quality of the feeds themselves.
Now, I’d like to think my feeds are of good quality. They contain the full post in HTML, and a summary in plain text. Some, sadly, just have the first x words of the entry, which often doesn’t give you much of a taste for what to expect. Movable Type users: it only takes an extra 30 seconds to write an excerpt for your entry, but it really helps people decide if they want to read said entry. Either that, or make sure your feeds are showing full HTML.
Then there’s the problem of Feeds That Suck. I’m calling it that because the person whose feed it is has written several books about sites that suck, yet his own feed isn’t up to much. Actually, that’s an overstatement – to be honest there’s only one problem – the feed only includes the most recent entry. Yep, just the one.
Now while I have FeedDemon set to nominally check feeds every 3 hours, this blog has a habit of updating more often than that, so I end up missing out on entries. 10 or 15 entries in a feed is what most people go for, and that’s because it works best.


  1. Welcome to the dark side. I’ve been using it for a while. I’m going to have to have you send me your RSS feed template sometime so I can figure out how you got that little graphical comment icon in your feed. I have trackbacks and comments in mine, but will probably remove them.

  2. Feed Complaints

    I was just flipping through my aggregator and read Neil\’s post about using a news aggregator. I\’d have to say, I pretty much agree with the complaints he has.