RSS auto-discovery links provide a simple way to let feed applications know when your site offers an RSS feed. Although these links weren’t widely used a couple of years ago, today they’re pretty much common practice. However, what isn’t common practice yet is the use of descriptive titles in auto-discovery links.
This became clear to me after I coded a new “History of Auto-Discovered Feeds” feature for the upcoming FeedDemon 2.5. This feature – which was suggested to me by NewsGator’s Ronnie Gilbertson – lists the feeds which have been discovered during the past two weeks. Non-descriptive auto-discovery titles such as “Atom Feed” and “RSS Feed” are far too common.
I’d like to recommend that feed publishers start using more descriptive titles. It’s simple to do – just change the
title attribute of the link element so that it better describes the feed. Here’s an example from my blog:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS Feed for Nick Bradbury's blog" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/NickBradbury" />
This is especially important if your site offers multiple feeds (such as one feed for posts and another for comments), since descriptive titles enable your readers to figure out which feed they want to subscribe to.
PS: It would also be nice if publishers would stop offering the same content in multiple feed formats.