the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Rants on the RSS Panel

I tend to think that I have a pretty good pulse on the web and the direction things are heading. I'm certainly no web designer, nor am I anything of a professional in this field, but I know a thing or two about the web and good coding manners.

I have definate opinions about how things should be done (for instance, everything should conform to standards and there should not be ANY pages on the web that do not resize to fit the browser) and tend to find that the web community in general agrees with me (OK, perhaps that's a little narcisistic, I agree with them).

I love the direction that the web is going, especially with live content, open source designs xhtml table standards (on their way) and rss feeds. There is however one thing I just can't stand - that little floating RSS panel. Can I just say that I hate the RSS panel? I do. I know how popular it is, and how it is appearing on sites all over the world (WordPress, an otherwise perfect system, tends to include it automatically in its templates) but I simply don't like it for three key reasons.

  1. It cannot be customized - I know that rss is supposed to be orange and there is a big solidarity movement and all, but ANYTHING that cannot be customized (color, who it links to, etc.) is just a little too communist for me.
  2. It is a pop up - Again, I know it's not REALLY a pop-up, but come on - it might as well be. It's a little menu that appears, can be moved around and gets in the way of what you are looking for. It's basically a pop up add within a site.
  3. Here's the key reason - It is a crutch. This option is simply keeping people from stepping out and subscribing to feeds and choosing Newsreaders. They are too happy to click away on these little floating buggers. If you want to link to previous articles on your webpage, the code is available to do it, lets get people educated on feed use rather than handicapping them in the direction the web is going (of course, in the end, the major browsers will simply take over and there will be IE newsreaders built in to a "mandatory" "security update" for IE x.x)

Now, all this being said, I have used these menus often to add RSS feeds to my Newsfox reader, so I am only encouraging the horror that is these little orange monstrosities, but I must ask, please, can't we all just go with the simple feed icon? It's beautiful, customizable, inspired by Firefox and (if reluctantly) backed by Microsoft.

Note for future rant: Does anyone actually use the internet explorer active desktop? That thing is hideous


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