It's what hypertext is all about. The links. In fact, the first two letters of HTML stand for “hypertext.”
It's what blogs are about. It's how they got started—a list of links updated daily, with maybe a little bit of commentary. Links are the lifeblood of blogs.
Which are damned hard to find in an RSS feed of any given blog.
My own RSS feed at
first just included a title and a link to the entry itself, and that's about
the only link you'll find in an RSS feed. A conversation with Aaron Schwartz convinced me that
some people preferred only those blogs that provided the entire entry in the
feed so they could aggregate the feeds and read tons of sites. But there
was very little information on what exactly the
<description> tag could contain. Most feeds had plain
text, some entity encoded HTML. I decided it was easier to dump the entry into a
<![CDATA[ ... ]]> block—RSS being an XML based format, that was, as
far as I could tell, legal, if maybe a bit funky.
And I never felt that good about personally.
But what exactly, is the point of a blog without links? At least by
including the HTML the
links could be extracted by the aggregator. At least, that was my thought,
until a little
demonstration proved just how bad an RSS feed could be unless you
striped any markup from the
Which makes including an entry full of links moot.
And maybe, just maybe, we can put hypertext back into a syndication feed.