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Broken Feeds: Is RSS Going the Way of the Dinosaurs?

CNN Homepage 2015

I’m been fixing a bunch of broken feeds since the new year. It started with CNN, which launched a redesign at the beginning of the year. At the time, all of their RSS feeds were broken as a result of that (more about this later). Since they’re the second largest news site on the web, behind Yahoo! News, I still wanted to show them on the site.

There are several ways to create an RSS feed for a site without one, but the best one I found is Yahoo! Pipes. It’s also the hardest one to figure out. Although I was able to create a custom feed based on the articles that appear on the first screen of CNN’s homepage, I’m still not quite sure how I got it all to work. Nonetheless, I’m a fan of Pipes. I hope Yahoo! doesn’t nuke it in the future.

I just learned today, about two months after launching their redesign, that CNN had fixed their broken feeds, which is good. I don’t have to use the custom one I’ve created with Pipes anymore. But now, at least I have a tool at my disposal in case another site decides to forego RSS (at least until Yahoo! decides to shut it down).

I see that more and more nowadays. RSS feeds aren’t promoted at all on newer sites anymore, as compared to social media buttons like Facebook and Twitter. Nowadays, sites tend to place a link to their RSS feed either on their sitemap or somewhere in the footer or not at all. The latter has become more and more prevalent.

That’s probably a result of newer CMSs (Content Management Systems) that newspaper sites use tend to forego RSS altogether. Or if they do have it, they would rather use it internally.

Users nowadays follow news on Twitter instead of RSS feeds anyway. When Google decided to shut down their RSS feed reader (Google Reader) a few years ago, you know the future for the platform is bleak.

It’s just a matter of time before I have to write my own feed reader if I want to keep this site going.

In the meantime, I still have a bunch of broken feeds to fix because the wave of redesigns has just begun.


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