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Jan 3rd 2011

Firefox 4 no longer flaunts feeds openly


When Chrome was released, I was thrilled. Well, not about everything, but mostly it was great. It’s speed was praised high and low and I was no exception. Lot’s of things I criticised have since been fixed, but one thing still remains:

There is no hint of an available feed in the address bar omnibox, or anywhere else either as far as I can see. What’s going on here, really?

Being a feed junkie (if you couldn’t already tell), I was very surprised to learn from Camendesigns’ blog post RSS is dying that Firefox is about to go down that same road in its upcoming version 4. Of course, the functionality is not going anywhere, as Asa Dotzler states in his retort, but will be moved inside the bookmarks menu.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think having to open up a menu just to discover whether a feed is present or not is hardly a step forward. In my mind this is the same as if a car manufacturer decided to move the fuel gauge from the dashboard to inside the glove compartment. Sure, you can still check the fuel level but you have to make an effort instead of being able to do the same with just a glance.

Naturally, webmasters can still flaunt their feeds themselves, just like I do, but I dislike duplicating browser functionality – in my defense, I’m doing it to justify the presence of the link to whatisrss.com with which I thought I could advocate and educate about feeds, optimistic as I am.

I’m glad that for Chrome the lack of feed hinting can be fixed with a plugin. One can always hope a similar Addon will be available for Firefox as well.

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