RSS link blogs and NetNewsWire 08.17.2007

So after Gruber recently experimented with the format of his Linked List RSS feed, there’s been some questions as to why someone would prefer it one way over the other.

Later, Gruber linked to a post by Joshua Bryant explaining how a large part may be because the app NewsFire has a particular quirk in its RSS reading. With the way it’s set up, users can either have an abbreviated entry within the app, or open the link directly in a browser. But when the link targets the source content rather than Gruber’s commentary on that content, there’s a flaw in that users miss the commentary due to the truncated summary within NewsFire.

So the solution should be to set the RSS link to be the permalink of the Linked List entry, right?

But here’s where it gets even more hairier. NetNewsWire, the other big popular RSS reader for the Mac has some very robust keyboard controls. Users can use the arrows to basically jump around between the feed list on the left, and the article list on the right. I have NetNewsWIre set up in the classic three-pane layout, with the feed list on the left column, and the entry list on the top right and the actual entry content on the bottom right.

With the keyboard navigation, I can essentially arrow through the entire list without having to touch a mouse. Pressing return on an entry will open up an integrated tab within NetNewsWire to the RSS link. I can then continue reading the source content by using space, or page up/page down on the keyboard.

And because NetNewsWire doesn’t truncate the content it shows within the content pane on the lower right, I don’t miss any commentary.

What happens when the RSS link is changed to the Linked List permalink to accomadate NewsFire users?

NetNewsWire users are forced to use the mouse and click on the link that’s embedded in the Link List entry — which is why Joshua Bryant’s proposed solution probably annoyed more people out there. It’s essentially breaking keyboard-driven RSS reading in NetNewsWire.