Burn your own RSS feeds

There are two people who probably don’t know it but to them I owe most of what I know about computer programming. One of them is Dave Winer. I learnt to program using BASIC in the early 80’s but I learnt to love programming when I discovered Frontier in the mid 90’s. Ah those were the days.

Anyhoo like me Dave feels there must be an easier way of leveraging RSS instead of using services like Twitter, so he has burnt his own RSS feed as a contingency for when Twitter is down. It makes sense of course because RSS is ubiquitous and shouldn’t need centralised services like Twitter to syndicate. Stephen correctly reminds us that finding RSS feeds still isn’t as easy as it could be (anyone know of a good way to find email addresses? Me neither yet we manage with those) but that could change very quickly if there was the demand, and of course new ways of using web data are demand driven. A special kind of search like Google’s blog search or FriendFeed or countless others could find and syndicate RSS feeds relatively easily.

I’ve recently found Feeder, an elegant way of burning your own RSS feeds for almost any occasion. It even supports iTunes podcasting extensions. It’s easy to make a feed and publish it to a variety of hosts including via FTP. The beauty of making feeds in this way is that they have a permanence that conventional feeds e.g from a blog don’t. This can be a good thing.

For example, here’s an RSS feed containing the sources I used for my recent randomly generated CD covers. A trivial example but you can do a lot with RSS as a lightweight content syndication format.