I had started a post about my experience playing with RSS aggregators, but then due to a horrid twist of fate, my broswer managed to eat it.
Its just as well though, because after doing a little digging, I realize that the things that bother my most about RSS aggregators result from the shortcomings in the protocol.
I can only hope that:
a) The new version that is being hashed out addresses these shortcomings.
b) The new spec is quickly adopted by those making tools to produce and process RSS feeds.
The primary annoyances:
1) RSS 0.91 Does not guarantee the presence of a unqiue identifier for each item in the feed, especially not one that remains constant across time. Some items may include the permalink for the item in question, but others may contain no link at all, or a link to a page refered to in the item. As a result, there is no way to filter feeds and only show the latest version of a given item. This is verry annoying.
Part of the appeal of an RSS aggregator is that it provides.a way to streamline ones consumption of blogs. Seing the same post over and over because an author has made repeated updates perturbs the flow.
2) RSS 0.91 appearantly doesn’t include a timestamp with items, so that all that can be reported to the user is the time the aggregator picked up the item from the XML feed. Not much help if you have returned to your computer after a weekend away.
I am sure people with more experience have their own issues. In anycase, I have pretty much concluded that aggregation of RSS 0.91 feeds is probably going to annoy me rather than make my life easier.