Deprecating Feedburner

A burning matchstick

Photo by Yaoqi on Unsplash

When I started blogging in the early 2000s, RSS emerged as an open standard for spreading the news. New post? Blam, everybody interested got a notification in their favorite newsreader.

Back then, building a proper RSS feed was more of an art than an exact science: Crafting proper XML while taking advantage of all RSS features wasn’t easy for most bloggers, who just wanted to blog.

So, Feedburner was born in 2004. Its value proposition was to clean up and optimize your RSS feed, but of course there was the added option of monetizing your RSS feed by placing ads in it. This made it interesting to Google, which acquired the company in 2007.

Today, RSS and its alternative, ATOM are much better understood and almost any blogging platform can produce a decent RSS or Atom feed, including Pelican, which powers this blog now. So the need to “sanitize” a feed is not quite pressing anymore.

But over the years, Feedburner received less and less love from its new maintainers at Google. Today, it feels like Feedburner is on life support only, with occasional announcements about certain features like analytics going away.

Therefore, I’m switching back from hosting my blog’s feed on Feedburner to self-generating and self-hosting it:

  • If you’d like to subscribe to this blog’s ATOM feed, right click here (or on the Feed icon in the site header) and copy the feed link into your favorite feedreader.
  • If you subscribed to the old Feedburner feed, please update your feed URL for this blog to this new feed URL (which is the same as above and the one behind the feed icon in the site header).
  • I am soon going to feed Feedburner (sic) with a final source feed that includes this article, so existing subscribers are notified of this change, and so they can move on to this site’s original feed.

Reading news feeds in 2022

Remember Google Reader? I loved it. It was the easiest way for me to collect my favorite RSS/ATOM news sources, then read my daily news from different blogs and website all at once. Unfortunately, Google discontinued the service in 2013.

Today, I use Feedly instead, which is quite a good replacement. Other people recommend Inoreader or Newsblur, both of which seem to be good, too.

These sites are under pressure to make money, so they can pay for development and hosting costs. This means they either come up with more or less invasive requests to subscribe to their “Pro” version, or insert ads to pay for their costs. This is ok, but why pay for a service that essentially downloads free information from the web and reformats it for nicer viewing?

If I want to browse the World Wide Web, I just open my web browser of choice and start browsing for free, and in good quality. Unfortunately, web browsers don’t come with nice feed reader options, so reading your favorite feeds is a bit more of a hassle than it should be. I didn’t find any obvious app for reading feeds yet, that would qualify as the “Firefox of feed reading apps”.

How important is RSS/ATOM to you today? How do you read your favorite feeds?


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Welcome

This is the blog of Constantin Gonzalez, a Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services, with more than 25 years of IT experience.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my current or previous employers.


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