Wordpress + Google Reader: RSS 2.0 v. Atom

A while ago, when Google Reader decided to lose all my RSS feeds, I went through and re-added as many as I could remember. And then Google Reader automatically fixed the problem and combined all my original ones with the newly added ones.

One little interesting thing that occurred was that I signed up for an RSS feed and Atom feed of the same blog. "ha ha, that's funny," i thought and proceeded to leave it on there. Mainly because Google Reader made no indication what the difference between the two were. The particular blog in question is Tony's blog.

By the way...

An RSS feed is blanket term to describe a simple XML representation of a blog. Every blogging software has these things built into it these days. Wordpress, Livejournal, Blogger, etc.. These are separate links that contain all the same data. http://blog.t-kun.org/?feed=atom is the link for the Atom feed of Tony's site. There are two main types of RSS feeds: an RSS feed and Atom feed. Both do the same thing and pretty much all feed readers take in both, but have slight syntactical differences and standards. RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 are the current versions. The Atom wikipedia article goes into details on the differences between the two.

An RSS feed reader is a program that takes in all these links and checks them periodically for new articles. That way you don't have to check 20 sites 20 times a day. Just check your RSS reader and huzzah .. all new articles you haven't read yet brought into one source.

If you happen to be reading this post on my site rather than an RSS Feed, and you happen to be using Firefox, take a look at the address bar up top. See that little orange symbol? If you click it, Firefox will automatically sign you up for this RSS Feed. It's just that easy.

Definitely check out Google's RSS Reader if you haven't, for all your feed reader needs.

Anyways...

After a week has gone by, I've begun to notice a little difference in the way Wordpress does its rendering of these two feeds.

First off, let's take a look at the two feeds themselves, side by side.

RSS 2.0

Atom

(These are screenshots of wordpad because Wordpress cannot display xml or code in general nicely at all... ><;; )

You can start to see the little differences, but the meat of the article is retained. What's really weird is how Google Reader renders this particular article

Google Reader + RSS

Google Reader + Atom

Weird.. Google Reader takes the Atom at face value, rather than rendering out that ascii code as in the RSS feed.

Also, for some reason, I seem to get the Atom version an hour later than the RSS version (despite the article time being the same). also weird..

uh...

Anyways, I don't really have an explanation for this. I'm not sure what version of Wordpress Tony is using, but I'd guess its not Wordpress 2.2, which was released a couple of weeks ago, WHICH, I would assume actually uses Atom 1.0 rather than Atom 0.3 that Tony's Atom feed suggests. Actually, looking at the XML, Tony is using 2.0.4.

:shrugs: I thought it was an interesting little tidbit. I wonder if Google Reader's feed fetching of Atom 1.0 is better than 0.3. I also wonder if Wordpress 2.2 isn't as annoying as Wordpress 2.whatever version i have.




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