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Figuration

Although it’s been eighteen months since I first demanded that publishers everywhere bite the bullet and give us full text in their RSS/Atom feeds, it would seem there’s still some gnashing of teeth on the subject.

In a post meant largely to draw attention to one of the few problems caused by separating content and presentation, Dan has unwittingly opened an angry kettle of partisan fish on the subject of RSS-as-notification-tool versus RSS-as-consumption-medium with a single throwaway line.

Personally, I enjoy reading content in it’s [sic] intended environment, with all the site design around it, and find myself skimming NetNewsWire for interesting articles to pull up in a browser later on.

Me, I’m glad Dan finally had the sense to publish full text; now I actually get to read his stuff! Meanwhile the two authors I made special mention of in that original Summaries article —John Gruber and Jeffrey Zeldman— have turned out to be model examples. Gruber, as part of his funding drive, now provides full-text feeds to his members… so not only do I now enjoy reading Daring Fireball in the controlled environment that is NetNewsWire, I get to swagger around town in a shirt that advertises my utter dorkitude in style. Zeldman, on the other hand, hasn’t changed a thing… and he’s all but lost my readership. I’m still subscribed, I just skip over it every time.

Getting back to the point of this, and Dan’s, entry —that inline images look like ass on an unstyled page— I must offer my support for his proposed microformat (a tiny, tiny, voluntary standard as it may be) that basically says “hey guys! when you’re marking up a graphic figure, give it a class="figure"!”

If everybody did it (and it makes sense, fer chrissakes; it’s a semantically-sound classname, for one) we’d be able to style them universally in user sheets and feed readers. In a show of solidarity, I’ve retroactively edited all such instances of figures here on decaf to use class="figure", and pledge to include support of this new standard in future versions of the Mail stylesheet. Go figure.