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Author's profile photo Harsh Chawla

Give me my feeds……….

One of the most popular sections of SDN are the Weblogs.  I’ve personally been a big fan of the blogs area, with some of my favourite SDN members also being dynamic bloggers like Eddy, Craig and Mark.   Over the years the SDN community has grown by leaps and bounds. Today with over 400,000 members it is the unofficial lifeline for SAP divisions of many popular SI’s across the world :). Due to the explosion in the number of members on SDN, there has been an (almost) exponential increase in the amount of content being published on SDN. We’ve seen average response times in the forums plunge from a couple of hours to tens of minutes and the number of blogs published go up dramatically, for eg: the number of blogs published in Jan 2004 was 25, while last month(May 2006) we had over 5 times that! At this rate, the information overload can easily overwhelm anyone.
Blog feeds were designed with this exact deluge of informationin mind. They help us to help organize/digest/assimilate information from multiple blogs/posts. SDN provides the summary feeds for blogs based on topics(XI, WebDynpro, etc) and a general feed(which summarizes all). They are all very useful, and clubbed with an online feedreader have saved me countless hours of refreshing my browser.  For all those people who don’t use them, and I know there are many, do give it a try. It will save you a lot of time. You can find many tutorials on feeds and feedreaders. Here is a good tutorial on the basics of RSS Feeds and a link to arguably the best online feed reader. And its all free!
However, I have a question/suggestion. Why do we have only summary feeds available on SDN? I subscribe to over a hundred feeds, and more than 90% of them provide the complete content. Summaries are almost always an additional option and not the norm. The sites that stick to summaries are usually looking at revenue generation from advertising and thus need the traffic. Infact some of these have also switched to adding the advertisements as part of the feed with the complete content! As far as I know, SDN doesn’t fall into this category! I’m sure there must be some reasons for the current policy, though I’m not able to figure them out.   Let me end with some of the reasons for providing complete content as feeds.

  • Incomplete Summaries: Some of the summaries are very brief and do not give a clear picture. Also deciding to read a blog based on the summary is like judging a book by its cover!
  • Increased adoption rate: As of today, there are only 115 subscribers for the SDN Weblogs feed on Bloglines, this is abysmal by any standards. Compare it to James Goslings personal blog that has over 2000 subscribers! I think complete content on feeds will drive more people to monitor the blogs using feeds.
  • Reduced traffic: Since SDN doesn’t rely on any kind of traffic dependent advertising, I’m assuming a reduction in traffic is a good thing?
  • Useful for Offline Readers: For those of us who don’t have the luxury of 24×7 internet connectivity, a local copy available through an offline reader would be really useful.

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      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Hi Harsh Chawla!
      Yours is one of those blogs I've been meaning to write...perhaps I'll now add it to the list of elearning that I've been meaning to create. 🙂
      Great job.


      Author's profile photo Harsh Chawla
      Harsh Chawla
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Marilyn,
      Thanks for the support, even I've been meaning to write this one for a while :). So, does this mean we can look forward to complete content feeds for the blogs anytime soon?