After Microsoft reduced the size of some RSS feeds, suddenly everybody
is talking about RSS bandwdith usage. There are a lot of ideas,
solutions, opinions on Robert Scoble
's site (don't forget to check comments).
There seem to be an idea in the air which I absolutely don't like: aggregate feeds only once per day.
Quite often weblogs host conversations and in conversations timing is
important. I want to know asap when people I often have conversations
with post something to their blog, it can't wait 24 hours because it
would make my reply old (let alone further replies). I also use my
aggregator to be up-to-date with my colleagues, and even in this case I
need to be updated frequently.
But these are almost exceptions. I could very well poll other feeds
maybe not only once per day but less frequently than once per hour. A
very simple feature that aggregators could have would be letting users
decide how frequently they want to poll every feed they subscribe to
. While some feeds might require hourly scanning, other could be scanned every 2, 4, 6, 12 or 24 hours.
Extending this philosophy, a preference could be set also at feed
level, indicating how frequently a feed should be polled (why keep
polling it if it doesn't update?).
I also think that every effort should be made by feeds publishers and
aggregator authors to enforce good practice habits. Gzip compression
and conditional gets can significantly reduce bandwidth usage, maybe
not providing the final solution but at least giving us some more time
to figure out alternatives.