New RSS feed testing!

If you’re slightly adventurous and would like to test the new and improved MDJ and MWJ RSS feeds, here they are:

We’ve implemented a bunch of changes to try to make issues more accessible to subscribers (and, in enlightened self-interest, reduce the amount of time we have to spend getting them to you if E-mail fails):

  • The feeds are regular unsecured http feeds, which should solve the problems with numerous non-NetNewsWire newsreaders either refusing to read the feeds or not updating them properly. There’s absolutely no reason the old way shouldn’t work, but the fact is that in a lot of readers, it doesn’t.

  • The issues themselves, however, are still for subscribers only. The links go to the https secure site and require your user ID and password, but every reader we’ve tested can handle that (handing off to your browser if necessary). You can even read PDF issues on the iPhone!

  • Each issue’s entry includes links to the issue in both PDF and setext format, and the PDF is available both uncompressed and as a ZIP archive. This lets you retrieve any version at any time, even read the PDF version on the iPhone. The enclosure element still refers to the ZIP file – each item can have only one enclosure, and for compatibility, we’ve kept that as the ZIP-compressed PDF version. If you set your newsreader not to download enclosures automatically, you can choose which format you want on an issue-by-issue basis.

This is the first time we’ve made uncompressed PDF and setext versions available other than by E-mail, and we know a lot of you have asked for it over the years, so we’re pleased to roll it out. If you have any problems with the new feeds, please let us know through the normal channels.

The previous RSS feeds are still there, and will be maintained at least until the PDF-in-E-mail changes noted earlier are implemented. Once everything is debugged, we’ll adjust the old feeds to permanently redirect to the new ones, so those who don’t keep up won’t have to do anything – your newsreader will automagically pick up the new feed at the new place from then on.

(Or should, at least. We’ve learned that what newsreaders do and what they’re supposed to do are often two different things. But we remain optimistic.)