Feed Autodiscovery

Among the new features in Firefox 1.0 Preview Release is Live Bookmarks, which lets you view an RSS or Atom feed as a bookmark folder. Firefox takes advantage of RSS Autodiscovery to determine the availability of a feed for your page. Implementing autodiscovery is a cinch, just add an extra <link> to you page’s head. For an RSS feed:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS"
      href="http://www.example.com/yourrssfilename.xml" >

And for an Atom feed:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom"
      href="http://www.example.com/youratomfilename.xml" >

When a feed is present, a little orange XML icon will appear in your status bar; clicking the icon allows you to add a Live Bookmark. Personally, I’d rather be able to use it to add a Bloglines subscription, more on that in a moment.

The presence of the XML icon on the status bar can be instructive. For example, while viewing the Newest Firefox Extentions page on Mozilla Update, the XML icon appeared. Searching the page, I could find no link to the feed. This feed seems to be autodiscoverable only. By using view source, I was finally able to subscribe to feed (see blogroll for link, category Techish).

The absence of the XML icon can also be instructive. Turns out I never added an autodiscovery link to my site. Shame on me. I’ve added the link, if you’re using Firefox 1.0PR (or newer), you should see the XML icon in your status bar. For now, every page contains an autodiscovery link for the main RSS feed. However, Blosxom provides RSS feeds for all categories as well (RSS is just another flavour to Blosxom). I could have category indexes provide autodiscovery links to category RSS feeds, but I doubt this is what most users would want.

Nice as the feature is, Live Bookmarks are no replacement for a good aggregator – Bloglines is my pick. I had given some thought to developing an extention to change the behavior of the icon (I’ve been meaning to learn how to write extentions for a while), but now I don’t have to. Michael Koziarski has released version 0.7 of Feed Your Reader, a Firefox extension. Originally designed to support desktop aggregators using the feed:// scheme, the new version adds support for many web-based aggregators, including Bloglines. I’ve downloaded it but not yet restarted Firefox, so I haven’t given it a try, but I will soon. More later.

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3 Responses to “Feed Autodiscovery”

  1. sagbee Says:

    Plz Some help me…..<br/>

    i wanna add this feed in my this blogspot http://cureent-affairs.blogspot.com/. So how to do that….

    I am confused only for “youratomfilename.xml” ???? Plz help me….

  2. Jason Says:


    The value of the href is the URL of your feed. However, you are using Blogspot to host your feed, so you already have a feed (atom.xml) and an autodiscovery link. View source your homepage and you will see this in the page header:


    Firefox is correctly recognizing your autodiscovery link, as well.

  3. sagbee Says:

    thanks for listen me, thats mean if i put up that code on my blogs, then there is no effect on my blogs.