There is a lot of Mangled RSS out their!

Dealing with RSS, OPML and the Extensible Markup Language (XML) at the development front has been very straight forward when working with sites that have 90% of their XML valid! But at this point I am very worried in our deployment of Blubrry.com of the 10% of sites that have completely jacked up RSS feeds.

As locked down as the RSS specification is a lot of people are really butchering there feeds, and it has me worried. You try to think of all the stupid things people will do with their feeds and then how to counter it with code so that it does not introduce some bug on our end.

Angelo the lead developer at RawVoice asked me tonight he said how strict do we want to be on RSS Feed Validation, and as much as I wanted to say that only sites that have Valid RSS feeds would be able to play on Blubrry. I knew that was highly unrealistic. But I told him to throw a series of flags in the database that would alert us to mangled RSS feeds. I am sure some mangled feed will cause us issues I guess thats just a sad fact of doing business on line in a non perfect world. [Nick Bradbury]

Apple is hiring a RSS Engineer!

Maybe Apple has been reading the blogs and figured out that they have blown it in some of their recent product roll outs, and figured out maybe they need someone that has some experience in RSS. Well I hope they get somebody really good so they can clean up some of the mess they have created, and make their feeds cross platform compatible. [Help Wanted] [Apple and RSS] [Apple cheating on RSS Standard]

Full Feed Policy

I like many others of having a policy of only subscribing to RSS feeds if they are the full feed. If the feed is partial it gets removed from my read list. I also have a sort policy that if a site is not generally updated daily I put them in a secondary list which I review every other day. I have also developed a podcaster policy as well, I listen to all shows I am subscribed to but only visit the site if they have have content beyond their shows. Their are some great podcast out their but their sites and their content is pretty bad.

I don’t see why people go to the trouble of having a great podcast and yet don’t take a couple of hours and make some unique templates or hire someone to make them a nice site design. I would think also that if a podcaster has a good following of listeners it would only make sense that they would follow content on their websites as well yet many podcasters put up absolutely horrendous show notes. It only takes me a couple of times listening to a show and then not getting any show notes before I unsubscribe. I have sent notes to podcasters explaining this point but many seem to think they are above show notes.

In a way the articles I talk about in the podcast are the same ones I would normally right about and I would never write about a story and not link to it for me the logic does not make sense.

Take my RSS Feeds

Where is the web headed today. From the perspective of a venture capitalist you would would think that if your company is not being innovative in creating segmented content, allowing it to be freely distributed and at the same time giving people a way to rank that information you may want to reconsider your objectives and goals of any projects you working on.

I am pretty happy that we cover at least 2 of the 3 items on the list on our project at podcasternews.com and will be looking at how we can make sure we have the third item covered. The question I have to ask myself how much of a strain will I put on the developers to make it happen. [avc.blogs.com]

Did Microsoft score a touchdown and bet the farm at the same time today!

I has a very full day at work, thus I was only able to play on Microsoft Live on dial up for about 20 minutes. Tonight I have had a second look while on broadband. First thing you still have to use that stupid Net Passport to login. I don’t know why I hate it so much but I do. Second the site does not work yet in Firefox which is pretty bad. It is obvious that Microsoft rushed to get this thing ready. Third adding my podcast page resulted in a player button showing up and I was able to play my podcast from the page. Thats good they know what and enclosure is.

The commentary within the community continues to grow. Personally I like my desktop applications, and have no desire to move that functionality online especially when it will likely cost me more money down the road. One thing for sure is that Microsoft is adopting RSS and OPML in a big way but I could not find an RSS button on the site. Live.com is RSS and OPML aware but most novice users will never know it. The site is like a plain car with no options the site is a bit ugly and buggy at the moment, so we will see what they do to the site in the months ahead.

Windows Live www.live.com

Microsoft Introduced Windows Live today and it smells a lot like Web 2.0, did we just not hear that Web 2.0 was something Microsoft was not investing in. First impression they did not make it Firefox friendly big mistake because I am not loading they spyware prone Internet Explorer. The site looks a little like some other initiatives that are going on over at Google and various other companies.

The site will allow you to import a OPML feed and appears to be smart enough to automatically detect my RSS feed. It looks a lot like a news aggreator believe it or not but one thing for sure it is getting hammered at the moment and is slow as all get out [www.live.com]

OPML Validator

I was working with Angelo today our programmer and web developer over at Podcaster News and we were discussing OPML and he said to me I wish I could check and see if these outputs are correct. I smiled internally an said Angelo did you know Dave Winer released a beta of a OPML validator last week.

Angelo was surprised I know he has had his head in the code all weekend and may have not been reading the news so he is a pretty happy camper. Thus far our home grown RSS feeds and OPML feeds are all looking pretty good. I need to clone Angelo as well. Being RSS and OPML are going to be part of the life blood of the new site we are doing our best to make sure it’s dialed in and good to go.

Nothing like the fear of a launch and having something not working the way it should. I am sure we are gonna find some bugs but hey you got to light the fires and kick the tires and take it airborne to see how it flys only so much testing can be done before its time to cut it loose. [OPML Validator]

Yahoo Podcasting Site First Impression!

Nearly 1 am here but I wanted to get this on the street before I went to bed, I went through the Yahoo Podcast site for about an hour tonight, here are my conclusions. From a listeners stand point it will be a very good resource, people will be able to search and find specific topics they are looking for. This is based on info that is contained in show notes and how a site is tagged as Yahoo will rely on search heavily for people to find shows..

Podcasters are increasingly going to need to be very clear in their show notes so that the Yahoo Podcast site and others like Odeo will be able to index the material. One thing they have done very poorly though is they are stripping any html formatting and removing the html links from our show notes, even though people will be able to listen to my show on Yahoo they will not be able to click on the links I am referring to in the show.

As near as I can figure it anyone can add tags to a listing, I do not like this one bit, this will give people the ability to tag your site with inappropriate tags Sadly there is no way to claim your podcast. Podcasters are going to need to make sure they ping Yahoo, as the feeds I was looking at were really out of date.

The directory is pretty sad, finding a show in their directory by drilling down to it will be very painful. You are going to have to search for a site you are listening to. Finding sites in the directory will be a challenge. Yahoo has already made there presence known in the various mailing list and some of us even received e-mail lets see how much they keep talking to the community. I do want to applaud their effort to communicate though.

Using the Yahoo Music Engine the player now has a podcast selection. But it simply loads the Yahoo site in the applications browser. The interface is pretty standard with what we have come to expect with most of the podcatcher clients. One thing that is not clear is if the feedback rating we can put on podcast tracks, the question is do these get fed back to the website. The ratings system may not be as susceptible to abuse as people will have to login to their Yahoo account to post a review only time will tell. Otherwise I suppose the Yahoo Podcasting site is at a good beginning. One thing I was pretty happy to see was they list my full rss feed, and my website URL in the listing which happily they did not do anything funny with the RSS feed.

I hope they do a better job of keeping the directory squared away and will not allow the abuse that has been happening in the Apple iTunes Podcast directory. Sites are still listing themselves 20 separate times under the guide of having 20 different categorized shows. I hope we start seeing some reportable stats from them. This will help podcasters in the long run.

One thing I did see was that this directory was not dominated by Adam Curry we will see if some other podcasters get some exposure now. [podcasts.yahoo.com]