Suffix

Published by Simon Schoeters

Displosable RSS feeds

  • I trashed my Twitter account a few months ago but I still follow some friends via RSS.
  • I follow the local news channels via RSS.
  • I follow the latest traffic updates via RSS (no, I'm not but it's a good example).

These are all traffic intensive RSS feeds with a few tens to a few hundreds of posts a day and most of these posts are only useful for a certain amount of time. Sometimes you are only interested in the most recent posts in a feed, old news is, well... old news. What my friends were doing yesterday may be irrelevant today and a the traffic situation at 9 in the morning is useless in the evening.

I don't want to open my RSS reader to press the “Mark all as read” button each time. Wouldn't it be great to have a ‘lifespan’ for certain RSS items? Let's say the latest traffic update is only valid news for 2 hours and my friends Twitter update could last a full day? After this timeframe the RSS reader could mark this post as ‘old’ or ‘read’.

Meet the disposable RSS feeds!

I could think of extending the RSS specification with a TTL something (like TCP/IP packets) where the author can suggest how long his post should ‘live’. On the other hand it could be up to the RSS reader developers to add something like this in their software as the reader may want to decide how relevant older items are for him as opposed to the author of the post. This second requirement is probably much easier to implement or maybe some RSS readers already do this?

Does something like this exist? Would it be useful or would it only make things more complex?