Product & Startup Builder

How do you subscribe to a RSS feed?

Added on by Chris Saad.
This might sound like a silly question on a blog for, what is effectively, an RSS gadget.

But it's a valid question that many of our users will be asking us when they get their hands on Touchstone.

It's a question we have been asking ourselves when trying to think of interface design for giving the user the best possible experience when adding a feed to their list.

There have been a number of attempted solutions to this problem, some of which are discussed by this great post by Jeffrey Veen but it seems that the experience is destined to remain inconsistent from app to app for at least the short term.

Windows Vista also promises a subscription system built into IE7 that will make the subscription processes easier.

But none of this solves the problem universally. I guess this is both the power and complexity of the web in general and RSS specifically. It is so simple, and so open to interpretation that there are bound to be many flavors of implementation.

For now, as developers, we are forced to build in as many help mechanisms as possible to get that little URL into our apps.

There are so many possibilities. Tracking the clipboard like our friends at FeedDemon (and others I'm sure), allowing for blog search like Google Reader does, and feed discovery like Safari and the upcoming IE7.

If we wanted to go bonkers, we could write a plug-in for all browsers that discovered feeds for us - using various methods and mechanisms - but it's an awful lot of work for one program when the problem affects us all.