7. He who laughs last probably made a back-up. - Murphy's Laws of Computing

Finding An Atom 1.0 Feed Reader

Sunday 18th September 2005 - Saturday 24th September 2005

Categories: Internet, Opinion, FLOSS

Web Browsers

And so we come to web browsers. What choices do we have? Well, we start off with Mozilla Firefox. Now, we know that Firefox can read the Atom feeds, which is more than some other programs, but only the basic parts. Fortunately, one of the advantages of Mozilla Firefox is extensions. A quick search for news reader extensions leads me to Sage.

Sage creates a pane on the left, similar to other panes such as History, with the list of the feeds. Click on one, and you are presented with the items in the feed in the main Window. A quick test on an RSS feed reveals it reads the titles, dates and descriptions of the feeds and each item. On the other hand, it ignores the subtitle and the date on the Atom feeds. Failure.

No doubt that there are many other news reader extensions for Firefox - I may try them at some point, but for now lets move on. If I tried them all, I could be here for quite some time.

Other web browsers? There are two main other web browsers: Internet Explorer and Opera. Internet Explorer doesn't support any kind of feed reading, but Opera contains a fully fledged reader, rather than the drop down list of Firefox.

So, we an RSS feed to Opera, and, somewhat unsurprisingly, it works without a problem - including date and author. An Atom 1.0 feed in Opera, and, unsurprisingly, dates don't work. It simply displays the date of the last update as opposed to the publication date, as it does for RSS feeds. To its credit, it does read the author correctly.

So, at the end of another part, I'm not really any closer. I wonder if it is really worth the effort? After all, some feed readers read almost everything - Opera, Sage and Liferea can read virtually everything, while Firefox reads the same amount from Atom feeds as from RSS feeds. However, if they support most of the feed, they should really support all of it. This might be a petty cause, but its a cause I want to continue (or at least until I get bored). RSS is well supported by just about all of the feed readers - why not Atom?