Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Two kinds of sites

Author:Wesley Felter
Posted:6/16/1999; 10:52:26 AM
Topic:ScriptingNews 2.0b1 Comments
Msg #:7452 (In response to 7426)
Prev/Next:7451 / 7453

I think the difference between the RSS and scriptingNews formats reflects a fundamental difference in news sites.

Some sites are highly structured. They break everything down into strict categories (news, book reviews, editorials, etc.) and every item of a certain type has exactly the same fields (headline, text, icon, author, etc.). These sites tend to devote a lot of vertical screen space to each item; thus it is a waste of space to have a short body. (Look at Slashdot for an example; each item uses up about 2 inches of space just for the meta-information.) To prevent the meta-information from drowning out the body, it has to be longer (usually several sentences). But now it's long enough that you can't skim it, so a headline is needed. So highly structured sites have separate headlines. RSS works for these sites.

Other sites are unstructured (e.g. Scripting News, Hack The Planet, Robot Wisdom). Since there is only a blank line between items, I can post more, shorter items. I don't have to think about whether it's worth 5 inches of vertical space before posting something. It isn't practical for me to support RSS, because there is no automated way to tell what part is a "headline" and what isn't. I'm not willing to write separate headlines.

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