FeedFlare: Feed Reader Developer Viewpoint

Yesterday I posted some, as it turns out, unfounded concerns about FeedBurner’s new FeedFlare features and how they would impact me as a reader of many great blog authors who use FeedBurner’s service. Thanks again to Eric and Dick from FeedBurner for helping me get the facts straight. Today, I’m putting on my :scare: feed reader developer :/scare: hat to bitch and moan from a different perspective. ;)

The way that FeedBurner avoids having an item’s content update whenever the Flare is updated is by using images to show the (textual) infomation. This handles the reader’s experience very well, but what about the feed reader developer’s? FeedBurner is doing a bunch of work to get lots of great information, why isn’t that information also passed along in a way that FeedLounge can use it?

Let’s take the Technorati link cosmos as an example. If FeedLounge were to include a “show Technorati link cosmos” feature (which we certainly might do at some point), we’d be duplicating the work that FeedBurner has already done. If FeedBurner were to include the title and URL of each of the cosmos links in the feed, we could check for that first before we hit Technorati for the information.

The ‘Post to del.icio.us’ link is a different example. By including this in the item content, they ensure that the feature is available – however as a feed reader developer, the ‘post to del.icio.us’ feature I might add becomes redundant. It’s an interesting problem – one that I’m sure the folks at FeedBurner have spent a lot more time thinking about than I have. I’d like to know some of the thought process behind the chosen features.

If it sounds like I’m asking to have it both ways – you’re right. On the one hand, I want my nice feed reading experience – on the other hand, I want to create a superior feed reading experience for my users. These two perspectives give me different and sometimes slightly contradictory ways of seeing something – I’m well aware of the irony. :)

Since we don’t know exactly what the FeedFlare API will look like yet, it’s possible that FeedBurner has these angles covered already. If not, perhaps they’ll consider these ideas for the future.

This post is part of the project: FeedLounge. View the project timeline for more context on this post.