Follow Up on Firefox: Atom vs RSS

There were some great comments in Saturday’s post regarding the preference Firefox together with a Google Reader has for Atom over RSS feeds. I’ll highlight a few below with comments.

MKR pointed out that I would be presented with an RSS option if I commented out the Atom feed. Very true. Any RSS reader SHOULD be able to read any popular RSS format. In fact, if it couldn’t, it wouldn’t be a very popular reader due to incompatibility issues. However, all of the popular syndications formats provide everything you need to deliver blog content, including title, pub date, and post body to name just three of the fields, so I don’t see why they need to play favorites at this point.

Brendan pointed out that Google may prefer Atom since it may work better with their system. He mentions that he personally prefers Atom feeds, so I’d be interested in hearing why that is from him. Personally, I haven’t noticed any difference as a feed consumer.

While it’s not a mandate to use Atom with Google, as Brendan mentions, if Google steers people toward Atom through Feedburner and Google Reader preferences, it could turn into a de facto standard which is pretty close to becoming a mandate.

Jason gave some great history on the standards debate within syndication.

RSS Options Typepadbc anonymously comments that this is a known bug, which makes the screenshot to the right even more perplexing to me. In the case of Typepad powered blogs, I generally am presented with all three syndications options as I’d expect to be since that’s what the blog publisher presented in their header tag.

To me, this is a control issue. Control is being taken out of the hands of website publishers who provide multiple syndication options for their blog.

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