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May 5, 2005

Opera Should Not "Lock In" RSS Feeds

What Opera has done, with Opera 8 final, has been effectively to make the way it handles RSS feeds less agnostic - for all intents an purposes locking you in to using Opera as your main RSS client.

Okay, that's grossly overstating it. But that's what I do isn't it?

Anyway, the point is that it's now that bit more annoying if you use a third-party RSS feed reader. In the previous Opera 8 betas this wasn't so much of a problem, since when you clicked on the spanky RSS icon in the address bar, they would tell you the url that you were subscribing to - all the better to copy it an paste it into, say, Klipfolio. In Opera 8 they decided to simplify things - an admirable act, for which Opera should be applauded - but now they just show the title of the feed rather than the url - so no more easy copying and pasting.

Now if you want the url (which, as often as not is not available as a link on the page itself - which is why the address bar icon is so useful) you have to subscribe to the feed in Opera, go to manage feeds (more of a task for me, since I don't show my menu bar, and wouldn't have to except for this), and "edit" the feed into order to get at the url. If that's not locking things into the client, I don't know what is. To the technically challenged, speed-bumps are as good as a wall.

You can try it with this site, if you're curious, my feeds should show up in your address bar. An apt example too, since only the RSS 1.0 feed is linked in the page itself, while the RSS 2.0 and Atom feeds are most easily available through the address bar.

I tried using ctrl-j, but that doesn't seem to pick up on the feed links - the only other way is to ctrl-F3 to view source - the feed urls are normally on top.

My suggestion is simple - as I've said, the urge towards simplicity is a laudable one - but in this case, ease of use has to take precedence yes/no? Perhaps a context menu if you right click on the RSS icon, so you can copy the feed urls - seems simple enough, and elegant, as well as logical, for the UI. What might add more clutter is to put a "show url" button on the "do you want to add this RSS feed" pop-up. Not as elegant, but still works.

In so many ways, it's just so much more fun picking at Opera's little faults than to spurt Fanboy Juice, don't you think?

Posted by subtitles at May 5, 2005 9:45 AM | Opera Boggling