Where RSS Is

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, seems, to little old me, to be at a bit of standstill. It’s not clear why as RSS has the potential to change how we read (and someday, respond) to websites. There are a few advances, such as the amazing little PulpFiction for Mac OS X, which is way sweeter than the old school and (someday updated) NetNewsWire also for Macintosh.
Essentially, RSS allows a user to quickly scan and read news reports, weblog posts, and other updated content on the Web that rely on an XML format. Like faxes, email, websites or other massively collected and distributed information medium, RSS will not be valuable until it reaches a tipping point where more people use it than not.
Here’s what I believe could kick-start RSS:

  1. Web browsers need to find a way to integrate RSS into their interfaces. Apple’s Safari is slated to do this, but until Microsoft works out a way to do it, RSS will fail.
  2. Companies like NewsGator need to take a more aggressive approach to pushing RSS to email clients like Microsoft Outlook. (They have a great looking product.) This would mean advertising in mainstream technology magazines but also offering support on other mail clients.
  3. RSS readers need to allow some style sheet formatting to be picked up so that reading within an RSS reader is more like reading on the Web and a separate Web browser becomes unnecessary. Technically, I’d imagine that the style sheets of a site would need to be exported to the RSS reader as part of the feed. Some folks have suggested ways to do this.

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