Saturday, January 24, 2004

Blogger is now offering "Atom" syndication feeds, a standard different from the RSS syndication feeds used by my other blogs. Although I don't blog regularly here these days, I've activated the feed and added this item to see what it looks like.

The Atom file is called "atom.xml" and is located at this blog's main folder:

I knew it wouldn't work, but attempted to subscribe to it with my usual aggregators (Radio and NetNewswire) to see what would happen. Both are designed for RSS XML feeds, and both failed. Radio's message says, "[Macro error: Can't evaluate the expression because the name "channeltitle" hasn't been defined.]"

One interesting feature of the Atom feed is that its XML file includes a link to a stylesheet, which tells browsers how to display the file in human-readable format, although the feed is really meant to be read by an aggregator. Radio's RSS files are also XML, but with no stylesheet.

The human-readable version is the weblog itself, at, which you can also get to from my homepage or through my shortcut at

I don't have time to read all the debate about the RSS syndication format or the reasons Blogger (owned by Google) decided to use Atom instead. RSS works for me and for places I read -- including The New York Times, the BBC, and my weblogging friends at Harvard and MIT. From my point of view as a user, RSS lives up to its name as "Really Simple Syndication," in addition to being my Dad's initials.