RSSCloud: No need to adjust your firewall

by Thomas Beutel

I’ve been following the recent development of RSSCloud with interest… I think it has the potential to replace Twitter in the long term, although I suspect that Twitter might also evolve in the direction of RSSCloud.

One misconception about RSSCloud is the supposed need for the cloud to notify the desktop or mobile reader of an update. This would seem to mean that you would have to adjust your firewall to accept inbound connections to your computer/mobile device.

While the implementor’s guide shows that the cloud does notify the aggregator, the aggregator doesn’t have to be the same as the reader. As the guide suggests, the aggregator can also be in the cloud, with the reader opening an outbound connection to the aggregator, in the same way AIM or Skype or Jabber clients do, using protocols like XMPP. No need to adjust your firewall.

For that matter, Twitter clients do the same thing, using HTTP REST calls. The only difference is Twitter limits the number of API calls per hour (currently 150 requests per hour, or 2.5 requests per min–close enough to realtime for me), while there are no limits with XMPP. The tradeoff is arguably one of simplicity – is your client easier to implement with one or the other?

Hopefully the folks working on RSSCloud are developing an example of a cloud aggregator and an associated protocol. My vote would be for the protocol to be REST-based, but I could be convinced otherwise.