This is a guest post by Julien Genestoux from Superfeedr.
RSS is the only ubiquitous data schema across the web. It is used by every type of service out there: from the news sites (obviously!) to the e-commerce sites, thru the social web or classified sites. It’s everywhere.
There are many reasons for it, ranging from SEO (yup, Google says it helps them find fresh content), to a convenient API (since RSS is ubiquitous, once you’ve started consuming feeds from a service, there is no new schema to ingest if you want to consume data from another service), to… subscriptions.
Content discovery is one of the challenges of most web users. Of course search engines can help answer specific questions, and the social web will bubble up popular content from your friends or connections. But once you’ve found a great content, be it a news outlet, an indie blogger, or even data yielded by your new favorite application, RSS enables you to discover future great content.
When adding a feed to your Inoreader, you’re just helping your future-self learn something interesting!
Now, I have to confess that following RSS feeds is still way too hard. It does lie into the name (who cares that it’s called RSS) or the icons we chose, but also in the fact that adding a new feed to any feed reader is still too complicated compared to doing a search query or adding a friend on a social network. Browser vendor have even made that more complicated and awkward over time.
And, as I believe RSS is still one of the unsung heroes of the web stack, I believe we should do better. I created a follow button for RSS. It’s a simple button to help anyone add their favorite feeds to their favorite readers. It’s not tied to any service (and does not even run on a server) and makes following a feed possible on mobile devices. It may not be perfect, but since it’s open source, you’re more than welcome to submit patches (or raise) issues to make it better.
If you want to try it, well, there’s nothing easier: here it is:
You can also install it your browser (Chrome, Firefox) as an add-on or as a bookmarklet. Finally, if you have your own blog or site, you’re more than welcome to put it there. It’s flexible and lets you configure many things!