What's In A Name?

With regard to link element title attributes, three useless letters, usually.

The more sites that provide multiple syndication feeds, the more important it is that blogs provide useful names and aggregators be smart about using them.

Firefox

  1. Firefox's built-in syndication menu
  2. Firefox's feed addition dialog

    Firefox tries to be smart, automatically suggesting the page’s title as the Live Bookmark name. As you can see in the Step 1 image, I selected the “sidenotes” feed, not the main post feed as the suggested name implies. This could be mildly confusing to users: did I choose the right feed? Is this an application bug? Assuming the page’s title does work in the vast majority of cases, but causes problems on sites that provide feeds for posts [Atom and/or RSS], comments, photos, links, etcetera.

OmniWeb 5

  1. OmniWeb 5's built-in syndication menu
  2. OmniWeb 5's feed addition dialog

    OmniWeb uses a feed’s title attribute as the suggested feed name, but I usually have to type in a name because it is just “RSS”, the title automatically generated by most weblogging software.

As of version 7.54u1, Opera can aggregate feeds, but the auto-discovery process is pretty lousy; it requires the display of the site navigation bar (View menu -> Toolbars -> Navigation bar) which does not allow you to choose among multiple feeds. If there are multiple feeds, clicking the Newsfeed button displays the source of the first feed and adds it to the built-in aggregator, but there is no way to access the other linked feeds other than the ever joyous process of copying and pasting them from the page source. Opera does not support the “feed:” scheme. More feedback headed for Opera…

For existing sites, adding feed title attribute text is a simple, one-time change that clarifies things a bit for browser subscribers and might also be helpful to future Safari 2.0 users. Not having access to Safari 2.0 builds, I have no idea how it determines a feed’s name.

Looking forward, I’m going to contact weblogging software developers in hopes of getting automatic link title generation into their future releases and browser developers to encourage them to improve their naming logic and auto-discovery processes.

On an unrelated note, Cougar Mountain pumpkin cookies are great. If you are in Seattle between now and March, get some. Warming them for 10-15 seconds in a microwave makes them even better.