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May 20, 2005


Joseph Scott

I suspect RSS will still be with us for many years, just like WordPerfect and MS-DOS. You might be surprised how many little niches still exist were these two products are still in active use.

As much as ATOM 1.0 might the ultimate best solution (I don't know enough about it to know if this is the case or not) for feeds, aggregators will still need to keep support for RSS.

Roger Benningfield

Bob: Atom's minor improvements (the content model and the summary element, for example) can be incorporated into RSS 2.0 with ease. And it can be done without forcing harried publishers to deal with the labyrinthine spec-by-committee that Atom has become.

[Bob Wyman responds:
Changes *cannot* be "incorporated into RSS 2.0." RSS V2.0 has been declared by its author to be "final" and never to be updated. It's author has regularly said there will *never* be an RSS V3.0 or even a 2.1. If RSS had been open to updating, it is likely that the Atom effort never would have been created in the first place. Also, there is much more to Atom than the items that you mentioned. Go read the spec again. Consider, for instance, the atom:source element, the ability to define an Atom entry as a top-level document, support for xml:lang, presentation of a formal schema, and the many other experience-based enhancements over RSS V2.0]

Robert Sayre

"labyrinthine spec-by-committee that Atom has become."

Stripped of IETF boilerplate and examples, the Atom Format specification is about 5500 words. The RSS2 spec is about 2900 words.

Sections 1, 2, 4.2, 5, and 6 cover XML and URI common sense. Every word of those sections is there because of an interoperability problem. Those sections account for about 2000 words.

Dare Obasanjo

I can't think of any reason for MSN Spaces to adopt Atom 1.0 nor can I see where Robert gave the impression that this would be the case.

Since websites are already producing Atom feeds, it makes sense for any aggregator worth its salt to support Atom. Specifically both flavors of Atom; Atom 0.3 and Atom 1.0. However I don't see how you leap to the conclusion that MSN Spaces will switch from RSS or even add Atom feeds in addition to its RSS feeds.

[Bob Wyman responds:
Dare, I don't see what I wrote that indicates that I think that Spaces will support the Atom V1.0 standard in addition to the legacy RSS that they currently support. As you point out, Scoble's comments were limited to support for the Atom standard in aggregators. Even such limited support is wonderful news...

I explicitly pointed out that Spaces remains one of the only feed generators that does not support Atom. Spaces' refusal to support Atom and their continued reliance on legacy RSS is unfortunate. I can only hope that one day, Microsoft will realize that they need to pay attention to openly developed standards developed at great cost by the industry in forums such as the IETF. It is somewhat suspect to see a company with Microsoft's market power blatantly ignoring the result of open industry standards efforts. What we learn is that even as Scoble works to give Microsoft a new "kinder, gentler, more open" image, the "old Microsoft" still remains...]

Roger Benningfield

Bob: There's nothing stopping me from declaring the Atom namespace atop an RSS document, and inserting atom:summary alongside rss:description. At the moment, as part of Randy Morin's Universal Subscription Mechanism effort, I've got atom:link @rel="start" right there at the top of my RSS feed.

There's just no compelling reason to stop using what works when Atom can simply be treated as an "extension farm" in those cases where a little extra something is desired.

Robert: That wasn't meant as a knock on your writing, or Mark's. I've never seen an IETF-like spec that I found remotely readable.

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