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The Next Big Thing in Blogs and RSS Feeds

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, May 2, 2005

Scratch a blog and you'll find an RSS feed (a.k.a. XML feed). An RSS feed enables you to monitor a blog or other RSS-enabled source without having to visit the Web site. Currently, most RSS feeds consist of raw text and links so when you use them, you miss out on the site's Web design.

Hence, my prediction — Web design will eventually find its way into RSS feeds, especially those of commercial publications. Many RSS purists don't like this idea, arguing that RSS should consist solely of content. To which I say: Isn't design an integral component of content? If design didn't matter, we wouldn't bother hiring Web designers, but we do. We all want to control the look and feel of our Web sites so why not our feeds as well? Shouldn't feed reading provide the same experience as Web browsing?

Just as the purists of an earlier era could not stop the commercialization of the Web or HTML in e-mail, they will not be able to stop what some call "CSS in RSS" (CSS stands for "cascading style sheets," which provide instructions to Web browsers about the design of a Web page).

If you would like a glimpse of the future, copy and paste the RSS feed for MarketingVox (an excellent online marketing news blog) into Thunderbird (select "Account Settings" under the Tools menu, and then add a new "RSS News & Blogs" account to get started). See below for a screenshot. Also, check out this Joi Ito blog post and the ensuing discussion.

What do you think about CSS in RSS?


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