It seems the few offocial BBC RSS feeds (list) have now disappeared (they all 404).

Does anyone know when they might either be back, or replaced with a coherent syndication strategy from the BBC?

The BBC Syndication page hasn’t been updated in about forever, although I seem to recall reading about the launch of their “our headlines on your pages” for schools and other like facilities last week. Any ideas?

It seems it was just a temporary thing, but there were definitely a number of hours yeserday when they were down but everything else was working. In slightly better news, a “BBC Insider” left a comment here saying the BBC have no intention of taking them down. Hurrah!

Fairly surprisingly, Danny Ayers’ post about the FOAF autocreation from OPML file tool made the top 15 of Daypop. Surprising, but nice. As noted before, FOAF is a really good thing, not least because it demonstrates a fairly simple use of RDF, but also because it has the potential for wider practical applications, especially now that the new version of Movable Type (TypePad) will automatically provide its users with a FOAF file.

For the rest of us, I think I’d like to see the FOAF-a-matic 2 be finished (or at least, have functionality provided for the pages that are there) – maybe I should ask if I can lend a hand.

Will FOAF be the embodiment of “Social Software”? Who knows, but at least it lets me use a buzzphrase.

Get WYSIWYG XHTML editing in Mozilla with Mozile. No end-user installs, just some javascript and a contentEditable="true" attribute on the node you want to be able to edit.

This is just a quick and dirty version but:

If you’re browsing in IE, the contents of this box will be editable, and if I’d had time to put bold and italic buttons on, you’d have been able to use the bold, and italic buttons to change the style of this text.

If you’re browsing in Mozilla, or another gecko-based browser, hit F7 to view the system caret, then click inside this box to edit the contents (in full WYSIWYG).

This is completely genius stuff

CSS adds a layer of complexity to the browser. says Sjoerd Visscher, talking about the “flames” Dave Winer’s been getting from having made this post (most of which are actually responses to a point that Dave didn’t make – that CSS is harder and not as good as the old, bad ways of table-based layouts).

Perhaps to the browser implementation it does (tag soup has to be harder to cater for though, surely?), but not to writing web pages, for sure. spacer gifs? nested tables? browser-specific attributes? Differences in table padding on different browsers? Don’t make me laugh.

To me, the learning curve for both these methods has been exactly the same, with the benefits of using CSS being that my HTML is clean, easy to read, easy to manipulate using other tools, more semantic, and more easily maintainable by other people.

Clean, presentational markup: isn’t that what we all want, really? Deep down? Is it achievable? I’d say so.

Tim Bray’s company, has dropped support for version 4 browsers. Hurrah! My company did the same just a few weeks ago and already web development has speeded up no end, and all the developers are much much happier that we’re no longer having to support such old technology.

In fact, we’re in the process of developing web apps for some major institutions in the UK, and every page is laid out using CSS, and looks the same in every browser. Very few problems, a couple of niggles that took ten minutes and left everyone wiser.

Some legacy web apps we have to maintain have up to six nested tables, with images, spacer gifs, cell-padding, cell-spacing, empty cells, the works. When I started working here it took about a week just to understand what was going on and to re-indent everything so that it would make sense to future maintainers. All the other developers agree, the old table-based layouts are plain awful.

We like CSS.

Number one RSS aggregator request: search.

I knew someone, in one of the feeds I subscribe to, had mentioned using the :before pseudo-element in CSS, I need to know who, and why, and to re-read their explanation. Could I find it? Could I buggery.

My aggregator is Syndirella, and seemed to remember that when I tried SharpReader, it had this feature. Download, import my OPML file. Wait for the download and update (this was all via a 56kbps modem). Look for a search option. No such luck.

Someone, please, implement “search in these blogs” or something similar. You’ll be saving us all an awful lot of trouble.

There is almost nothing as completely frustrating as sitting on a train with a delayed departure time. Especially when youhave a connection tomake. You are completely unable todo anything about it except sit and hope that you willbe leavingany time now…

Apparently the [space] key on my phone is knackered…

Sam Ruby’s last few posts about RSS past and future help to explain why it needs namespaces (or some other change) in the future, which helped clear my previous confusion. That makes sense, but for weblog aggregation? I’d still argue against a body tag, but what do I know?

Tim Bray wrote:

RSS is no longer a science experiment, it’s becoming an important part of the infrastructure, which means that a lot of programmmers are going to get the assignment of generating and parsing it, and they need better instructions.

In summary:

the two problems he complains about are that entity-encoded HTML is allowed and that relative URI references are not allowed.

I agree with Bill Kearney here, Before we bother with extending all this, let’s get the core stuff working first.. I think it would be fair to say that RSS is mainly used for website aggregation, and seeing as the apps that are out there don’t even agree on how RSS should be parsed, and the specs are ‘conversational’ (I read that somewhere, probably in a comment on Sam Ruby’s weblog, and liked it – conversational specs, heh), it might be nice to have some ratification and concreting of what we’ve got. Not to slow stuff down, but so we can draw a line and say this is the version websites should use and this is how it’s supposed to work, and this is what you’re doing wrong (of course anyone who wants to can use the latest in RSS feeds, and implement changes as they see fit – Sam does this well by providing a whole range of RSS versions for his site).

The part I disagree with most in all of this is that of allowing relative links. It’s probably the single most annoying practical problem around. There’s no consensus amongst RSS publishers or consumers on how relative links should be resolved. With respect to the server root? With respect to the <link> tag? With respect to the actual RSS feed?

A while ago, Scott Andrew wrote

Once again I broke my RSS feed with a relative URL. And once again I must ask: why can’t RSS readers resolve relative URLs like browsers do? I am after all required to include a base URL in the LINK element of my RSS feed. Surely I’m not the only one who thinks this is bogus. Route around it.

AFAIC links should be absolute or begin with a ‘/’ and be relative to the webserver root. How else do you specify where it should be? Relative links blow chunks.

JTextile 1.0 is now out. Thanks to Gareth Simpson for his hard work whilst I was out sunning myself.

There are a few bugs to be cleared, but if there are any I haven’t spotted, just leave a comment.

Fixed some bugs, introduced a new rule, as proposed by Scott in the comments.

I give up. I give in. I concede defeat. Regular expressions have been for a long time been my weakest field, and my attempts to make a Java version of Textile have ended in ignominy.

Has anyone already performed this regex-a-plenty task? Or is anyone else willing to give it a go? Go on Lazyweb, be my hero.

(Mark Pilgrim also wrote a version in Python, which you can see here)