Validate your feeds

by Volker Weber

It looks like the Domino folks are learning new tricks. RSS feeds this time. Gentlemen, please validate your feeds. Against both the validators from Dave Winer at as well as Mark Pilgrim and Sam Ruby at

This is not an option. It does not matter if your design breaks a few browsers, but a feed should never break an aggregator. It has to validate.


Being in the middle of a project to build a Domino-based aggregator, I agree -- but I also believe that practical aggregators have to be written to be as tolerant as possible of the variety of non-conformant feeds that our out there. My own feed fails the validator -- which doesn't like the date tag (and I should surely fix that) -- but my aggregator code handles it (and many other non-conforming feeds) anyhow. I'm actually more concerned about the fact that even sytactically validated feeds have differing semantics which can be more difficult to deal with. For example, the best primary key to use for an item might be either the link or guid elements, or the rdf:about attribute, but you can't really count on any one of them being held constant for the same article over multiple feeds. There are quite a few other annoyances and complications that I've run into, and I've only been working on this part-time for about a week -- with about 75 feeds coming in from Domino and non-Domino sources. I've actually found that the feeds coming from some of the very prominent non-Domino bloggers are pretty useless, whereas most of the Domino-based feeds at least give me the information I need.


Richard Schwartz, 2003-05-09

That is very true. There a lots of variations of the spec and different ways to express things. Most bloggers will simple go with the default templates that came with their software. Unfortunately the early MovableType templates were nonconforming (as is the current default template for the index pages).

Validating is the bare minimum requirement. As a user I would be really happy if the publishers would strip their tag soup from their feeds. I don't need (and don't want) their font tags.

Volker Weber, 2003-05-09

Steve C and I have been working on fixing the problem with my feed. Fix should be in soon...

Ed Brill, 2003-05-09

And this fix is just related to embedding of images by rich text - otherwise the RSS validates no problem.

Steve Castledine, 2003-05-13

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe