Joining the drum line for Realtime RSS
1 January 2010
I remember when I first learned about RSS. At the time my personal Web site was running on some homegrown content management system that I built myself using ASP. So I was tasked, unlike many people today, with creating my own feeds. I had to learn what feeds did and why they were beneficial, read the RSS spec, and create my own script to create the feeds for my site.
Today, of course, having a Web site that can syndicate its content, activity, or media through an RSS feed is easier than ever. Using just about any content management system to power your site will most assuredly include all of the proper feeds by default.
Once again, however, times are changing. Even though consuming RSS feeds in a feed reader never made the mainstream (in my opinion if my Mom doesn't consume feeds than it never hit mainstream) the popularity of such services as Facebook, and Twitter have. These platforms have helped the thought of finding things real time much more mainstream. Want to know what people think about Avatar or who just saw it, look it up on Twitter. You can even do a Google search and find the very latest things related to Avatar on Web.
But can RSS keep up? Most feed readers consume feeds on command or at some kind of interval (say, every thirty minutes). But what if you wanted the very latest updates to show up as they happen? What if you wanted to keep up with your subscriptions real time? Well, with the help of RSS cloud you can. RSS cloud is a "pingable" service that helps bring RSS aggregation into real time. You can read more about how it works on the site.
RSS has always proved itself to be incredibly flexible. It evolved when blogging began. It evolved when the need to distribute media, such as audio and video, came into popular demand. And it is evolving again to become a little more real time friendly.
And, just as I trumpted the importance of RSS when I first learned the spec myself, as Dave Winer requests - I'm joining the drum line for Realtime RSS. I've installed the RSS cloud Wordpress plugin here on First initial, last name so that its RSS feed now includes everything it needs to be real time compatible.
I suggest you do the same. And by that I mean, learn why it is smart to make your feed compatible and make the necessary adjustments to your feeds no matter what you use to manage your site.
Addendum: Jason in the comments mentions that Pubsubhubbub is the RSS/Atom extension and service to bring your feeds onto the real time Web. He mentioned that RSS Cloud itself, although supported by the millions and millions of Wordpress.com blogs, hasn't really gained near as much traction as Pubsubhubbub. So, until I do a bit more research I've installed the Pubsubhubbub Wordpress plugin.