RSS is Still Everywhere ➝

Jesper, regarding RSS as a technology:

RSS feeds (by which I also mean Atom feeds) are now one of the foundational building blocks of the web. It is to podcasting what RF signals and antennas used to be to analogue TV. […]

We’re in the 10s of this century, and this century, RSS is our analogue TV. It is the “regular” telephone net. It is boring and known and useful and a cornerstone and a foundation. There’s nothing ruling out a replacement, it’s just that no one’s going to work on one for an awfully long time because right now, there’s no obvious improvement.

I get a little annoyed (as Jesper seems to, as well) every time I hear writers and pundits espouse the death of RSS. But the truth is, Flipoard, Apple News, and nearly every other application and service that was lauded as the death knell for RSS made heavy use of the technology in order to display content. None of them would have existed in their current form if their developers didn’t have RSS to build upon.

Feed readers in the traditional sense aren’t likely to be a growth market going forward, but that doesn’t mean RSS is dead. If anything, RSS is stronger than ever. But as the applications that make use of the technology broaden their user base by designing for mainstream appeal, they start to look less like RSS readers and more like applications that allow users to read the news. They don’t advertise themselves as “RSS readers” and that’s a good thing — the mainstream doesn’t know or care what RSS is, they just want to keep track of their favorite sites without having to load each one separately in thier browser, and for obvious reasons.