10 Feed Publishing Best Practices

10 Feed Publishing Best Practices

Working with publishers and polling hundreds of thousands of feed has taught us a few lessons and best practices for people who publish RSS or Atom feeds. You might disagree with some of them, so please, let us know in the comments.

I want to emphasize that these best practices are technical, not business related.

  1. Don’t use RSS and ATOM. There is no good feed parser that doesn’t accept both. Providing one will make subscribers life much easier :)
  2. Make sure your feeds are valid.
  3. Use unique identifiers for entries : <guid> in RSS and <id> in ATOM
  4. Don’t use feed caching if you can’t explicitly expire the cache. In other words, don’t use time based caches. Corollary : use Feedburner only if you use pingshot.
  5. Make sure your date format is valid : ISO8601 is the one you should choose.
  6. Add the feeds discovery in your HTML pages. Most modern browsers (Chrome : WTF?!) will be able to detect that and show your visitors that the page references a feed. It will also help feed readers to auto-extract feeds.
  7. Make sure you’re RESTful in your feeds discovery. If you’re in a resource page, show feeds that relate to that resource. Make sure a given feed is accessible at a given url only.
  8. Use the “de-facto” standard in terms of calendar : Roman. The subscribing app may convert to other calendar, based on the user’s settings.
  9. Keep the feed urls simple. Do some URL rewriting.
  10. It’s ok to have only <summary> instead of the full <content> (it’s a business decision) : but don’t show it as full content if it’s just a summary.
  11. Special Bonus : publish feeds in realtime. We can help.


Liked this post? Read the archive or

On the same topic, check full text rss, bridging amp and rss and rsscloud and pubsubhubbub.

Previously, on the Superfeedr blog: State of Real-Time feeds.