Apple, Facebook and RSS

Apple, Facebook and RSS

The publishing industry is evolving quite quickly these days and several tech giants have recently showed their love of RSS.

Facebook’s Instant Articles

There’s no doubt that Facebook is the distribution platform for choice with its 1.44 billion users. Recently, they announced a new product: InstantArticles which are aimed at publishers to help them provide a better reading experience to the people interesting in their content. For a long time, Facebook has been viewed as a “closed” silo, however here’s what they write about these instant articles (emphasis mine):

Using existing production tools and standard markup language, you can publish any type of article, from daily news coverage to longform features. Harness standard HTML and RSS feeds to scale entire content libraries in the Instant Articles format and provide a fast, interactive experience for all of your readers on Facebook.

It’s pretty clear: if you’re publishing content, there’s no need to sign a contrat with Facebook, or to implement custom specs and protocols: just use the good ol’ open web protocols and your content will flow in Facebook just as well as any other. Facebook won’t act as a gatekeeper!

Apple’s News

Apple is today largest tech company in the world. iOS devices are of course prime to consume the world’s content and last week, during it’s WWDC, Apple introduced News:

News Publisher makes it easy to distribute interactive and engaging articles on News, an all-new app built right into iOS 9. […] Whether you’re a major news organization or an individual blogger, you can sign up to deliver your content to millions of iOS users.

Apple too has not been known as company which promotes open protocols… yet, when dealing with the web, they strongly embrace RSS and recently published a best pratices document.

Whether your RSS/Atom feeds will be consumed by Apple or not, you should follow their guidelines: they make your feeds better for everyone who consumes them. This is the beauty of RSS: write them once, see them everywhere… and improve them for one platform and every other platform will benefit from it.

Of course, this joins a long list of best practices articles for RSS: see Google’s or Flipboard’s pages as well. Finally, we can recommend enough to also support PubSubHubbub to make your feeds realtime!

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On the same topic, check it's called rss, instant articles and the future of rss and 10 feed publishing best practices.

Previously, on the Superfeedr blog: Feed Popularity.