To syndicate or not to syndicate…

One of my regular reads in Bloglines is We Break Stuff. A recent article about how syndication feeds – RSS and the link – means that there are less people seeing your lovely website design got me thinking.

I know this goes completely against what XML is designed to do, and also makes a mockery of the whole reasoning behind RSS, but (dammit, Jim) it might just work.

How about we add another node to the RSS (and Atom and RDF) specs for a special syndicator-only stylesheet. For example (I’ve used my blog XML file for this):

The Geek Times

For the geek in all of us…



That syndicator-only stylesheet would contain just a few selectors designed to style the content of the entry in the feed reader. So, scanning through my Bloglines list, I’d get at least a simple taste of what the website looks like where that particular article came from.

See, I told you it was a mad idea.

However I decided to do a quick screenshot which you can see here. Yes, I know the example is rubbish, I’m not a very good designer. Just imagine what Mr Oxton could do with his flowers, or what Mr Clarke could do with his motorbike?

In fact, being constrained to just designing a wrapper for a single article might make designers “think outside the box”. (Apparently that’s what proper web people say, so that’s why I said it.) They do say that when you’re constrained creatively, that’s when you come up with your best design work.

So, have I finally lost it, or am I an undiscovered genius? Almost certainly the former…