Learning RSS readers

MEX blog is talking (in german) about learning RSS readers.

The idea is that RSS readers should analyse the update frequency of a feed and automatically adjust their polling frequency, instead of polling every five minutes and generating unnecessary network traffic. Hmmm… I don’t really think that would work, given that the process of blogging is not something that has a defined predictability. For example, there are blogs that have not been updated for two months – does that mean I should only check them every other month, thus missing a new post by four weeks in the worst case?

Here’s something that *might* work: weblogs might specify a “please don’t poll faster than x minutes” tag in the feed, allowing readers to react to it. Additionally, the blog server could add statistics of the last updates to the feed, allowing readers to adapt *so they wish*.

What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Learning RSS readers

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  3. yes, indeed, the estimated updated frequency could be wrong, if you observe a very short time period. The best is as always a long term average update cycle. So short term changes in the update frequency wont change that much the poll cycle.

    Your model runs into a problem: changing standards, which is always very hard to achieve. I dont think that a new RSS / Atom will quickly get through.
    —–

  4. yes, indeed, the estimated updated frequency could be wrong, if you observe a very short time period. The best is as always a long term average update cycle. So short term changes in the update frequency wont change that much the poll cycle.

    Your model runs into a problem: changing standards, which is always very hard to achieve. I dont think that a new RSS / Atom will quickly get through.
    —–

  5. I agree with MEX!
    In our online aggregator iFeedYou we try to learn how often a rss feed is updated in order to save bandwidth. In the first version the logic is pretty simple, a weblog is polled between every hour and every 12 hours at least depending on what we might have learned from it. Sure you can not do it less often that once a day to make sure you are not missing something… but this way we save some unnecessary traffic! We discovered that YahooFeedSeeker visit our feeds sometimes 10 times in 5 minutes which really does not make sense, even the more productives bloggers can not generate that much posts!
    iFeedYou online aggregator is currently available only in french, english version is underway!
    Regards

  6. I agree with MEX!
    In our online aggregator iFeedYou we try to learn how often a rss feed is updated in order to save bandwidth. In the first version the logic is pretty simple, a weblog is polled between every hour and every 12 hours at least depending on what we might have learned from it. Sure you can not do it less often that once a day to make sure you are not missing something… but this way we save some unnecessary traffic! We discovered that YahooFeedSeeker visit our feeds sometimes 10 times in 5 minutes which really does not make sense, even the more productives bloggers can not generate that much posts!
    iFeedYou online aggregator is currently available only in french, english version is underway!
    Regards

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