RSS Fiendish?

I found this article on RSS while reading Slashdot.

In it Chad Dickerson, of InfoWorld, talks of the growing pains of RSS (Really-Simple-Syndication) as the number of users of feeds go up, and the clients that they use are not “smart”. He likens the hits InfoWorld gets at the top of every hour to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack, because of so many different clients from all over all asking at the same time.

He makes an interesting observation in that but he doesn’t take it further or offer solutions. He gave the problem and left it at, “If RSS is going to go from fairly big to absolutely huge, we?re all going to need to do a little more work on the plumbing.” I’m a more recent convert to RSS “feeds” and getting used to using them instead of going from site to site to site and checking for updates. It’s usefull and wonderful, but not if the tool can’t be managed correctly.

I’ve heard solutions to the problem, and many of them have to do with making the RSS clients smarter, in that they only download the feed if it has been updated and not everytime. Doesn’t sound hard does it? The other major solution is fixing the users. I’ve had people tell me they have their RSS reader check their list of feeds once every 15 minutes, and then there are stories of people doing it every 5 or less. Please people stop. Sure the amount of data exchanged is small, if you are doing a small thing many times it adds up quickly, and especially for smaller sites (I’m really not worried about this one for any time soon) their bandwith bill most likely comes out of their pocket.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I think RSS has a great potential in the future, and I see a combo of it and something like BitTorrent could be an amazing way to publish writings and files in the years to come. Go the future.

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