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Suggestion for Google Reader devs
By Dave Winer on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 1:04 PM.

A frequently heard complaint is that Google Reader doesn't do nice things with my linkblog feed.  #

To me this is a feature, not a bug. You know how Steve Jobs took Flash out of the iPad to try to get people to change their ways, this is my small way to encourage Google Reader to dig into the RSS 2.0 spec, and recognize that feed items do not have to have titles.  #

A picture named tryHarder.jpgObserve the mess that Twitter made in their feeds, trying to make them look okay in Google Reader (presumably, hard to understand why they borked them so badly otherwise). Their workaround is to repeat the tweet text in both the title and description of the item.  #

We want to use RSS to do what Twitter does. Maybe for some reason Google doesn't want us to do that. But RSS doesn't care what Google wants. I asked it, and listened. They should listen too. #

If Google Reader wants to be the dominant consumer of RSS, then it needs to be a better parent to RSS.  #

Anyway, there's such a simple way to deal with it. #

If you wish an item had a title but it doesn't, see if it has a pubDate, and if it does, use that in place of the title.  #

Simple rule, and it works. It's what my RSS outliner in the OPML Editor does. A very simple bit of code that's only useful in checking out OPML subscription lists. If a little bit of throwaway code can allow for this, surely the great and mighty Google Reader can too. #

Here's a screen shot of how my outliner displays RSS items without titles. #

A picture of a slice of cheese cake. #

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