Update: since writing this post WordPress’s feeds started validating. That needs to be pointed out because I’ve found the WordPress team is remarkably fast at listening to its users and implementing fixes and features. Yesterday at the Blog Business Summit it was praised on stage multiple times for just this reason. Can you please let me know if my feed works great in your RSS aggregator? That will help us make sure this really rocks. Thanks!
Turns out there are lots of people complaining about my RSS feed. Turns out if you click on my XML icon you get a “funky” feed. Sorry Matt, but I’m getting too many complaints from my readers to say it’s not. I never got complaints about my old feed. WordPress.com REALLY needs to nail this.
My old feed validated. It did not look funky when you looked at it. Why don’t my description fields have full text? My old ones did and no one complained. My old feed didn’t get complaints. My new feed is getting complaints.
The CData stuff in my description is confusing, by the way. For me. My old feed didn’t use them. I’m not sure why the new feed needs to use that. It makes my feed look ugly and I’m not sure it makes my feed any better.
Now, Matt Mullenweg says that I can get different feeds by adding RSS, Atom, or RDF onto the end of my URL. OK, let’s try that. Here’s my RSS feed. It sucks. Here’s why. It is not full text. Look at the description field. Sorry, RSS feeds that don’t have full text suck.
I just tried my Atom feed and I couldn’t even get it to load up in the browser. That certainly is not good usability (RSS pulls up, but not Atom). So, I fired up Firefox. It still required me to do some work to get it to open up in the browser. That’s funky. It should open up in the browser right away without trying to spit it down to a file.
But, let’s forget that funkiness for a second. Then I see where he’s going wrong. The Atom feed is better than his RSS feed. He has a summary AND a full text version in Atom. That’s acceptable in Atom, but it’s non standard in RSS.
And, so, my RSS usability is broken. I’m almost forced to put two links on my blog, one for RSS and one for Atom. And the RSS is broken for my readers.
Matt, please fix this. It’s a HUGE issue for me. I can’t stay on a service that has partial text feeds or RSS that doesn’t validate. Sorry. That’s just not something I can compromise on and I can’t go with a service that biases Atom ahead of RSS support since so there are news aggregators out there know how to deal with RSS and are barfing on my feeds (I’m getting an email or two complaining about this every day).
However, this is why you can’t write a review of a blogging tool without really using that tool. It’s why I’m happy my wife is using MSN Spaces and my son is using Google’s Blogger and my book blog is on TypePad and my internal blog is on Community Server. I would have totally missed the funkiness of WordPress’s RSS feeds if I hadn’t had tons of readers follow me around and complain.
Here’s the solution: copy my old Radio UserLand feed. It worked. This new feed stuff does not.