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It’s Not RSS

New formats called RSS that don’t work with anything else, specifically referring (I assume) to the “RSS 1.1” effort. (Where RSS stands for RDF Site Summary.) The name of RDF Site Summary is a mistake in the first place, they should take this new development effort as a chance to correct it. (Also, publishers are getting tired of supporting the format du jour. Maybe it’s “easy” for aggregators to support the latest permutation, but the last thing I want to do is bloat WordPress with support for Yet Another syndication format. Four is enough.)

17 replies on “It’s Not RSS”

Any way of turning them into plugins?

Also I think wordpress is mature enough to put it’s foot down when it comes to sticking by what you and the other devs consider the more worth feed format. ie. pick out an “endorsed by WP” format and stick with it.

Just my 2¢

“that’s incompatible with all others”

I thought that was true for every single version of RSS. I’m not sure why RDF Site Summary is a mistake? Should it be Rich Site Summary?

Furthermore, I do not understand how this is “hard” for publishers. Adding another couple of lines of XSLT or hack something in PHP that outputs this is trivial and takes less than an hour.

With the RSS .91 line of formats the only real problem is the encoding ambiguity, which pretty much everyone has agreed on now so it isn’t an issue. So from an academic point of view you can argue that the status of <rating> makes version X completely incompatible with everything else but people actually producing and consuming feeds will just laugh it off. I write code at both ends now, and RSS 1.1 will require non-trivial changes to handle and (if I decide it’s worth it) will add more bloat to already bloated libraries.

I’m not sure why people contintue to come up with ideas for new feed formats, when you can easily extend RSS 2.0 with namespaces. Namespaces allow you to add elements without destroying the structure of the document (if done properly).

Can WP do what feedburner does? Check the UA and send, accordingly, Atom or RSS 2.0, or if it’s some obscure UA then RDF or whatever the device needs?

I hate seeing soo many formats when using autodiscovery. If ever there are multiple feeds autodiscovered they should be different in content!

While we’re at it, WP should also make feeds ‘pretty’ (ie. style them with XSLT.)

Time to go make a ‘feedsanity’ plugin.

As Shelly Powers, I find Dave Winer’s choice of words extremely confusing and misleading. Bugfixes and second digit version bumps don’t make ‘new syndication formats’.

Oh, and about the ‘don’t work with anything else’ bit. Maybe I’m being dim but what’s he talking about? Aggregators that support RSS 1.0 will eventually grok RSS 1.1, after the mandatory lapse for adjusting. Formats don’t usually work with anything else the day (or the month) after being released. Again a common sense fact that is presented as a shocking novelty. I find it quite amusing ๐Ÿ™‚

> I find Dave Winer’s choice of words extremely confusing and misleading.

I do too, in fact I find them downright hypocritical. He condoned incompatible changes to RSS 2.0 without bumping the version number. Now he criticises changes to RSS 1.0 when they clearly relabel it with a new version number!

You can point to a feed and say that it’s valid RSS 1.0, and that statement will be true with or without publication of RSS 1.1. The feed will mean the same thing with or without publication of RSS 1.1.

But what they did to RSS 2.0 was far more insidious, as they changed some feeds from being valid to being invalid. They changed the meaning of some feeds. Mark Pilgrim posted a testcase that clearly demonstrated this, and Dave simply deleted his comments.

I question the need for RSS 1.1. But I don’t condemn them for publishing a new specification, and I *certainly* wouldn’t be doing it if I were in Dave’s shoes.

Mort, are you new here? My RSS .92 feed is perfectly valid RSS 2.0. Aggregators can support a thousand different formats, but they shouldn’t need to. Jim, you have obviously drunk the Mark Pligrim kool-aid to a frightening degree, “incompatible” means two vastly different things in the contexts you’re referring to. Put yourself in the shoes of an implementor of these numerous formats and look at what you’d actually need to do to be “compatible” with them in the real world.

> Jim, you have obviously drunk the Mark Pligrim kool-aid to a frightening degree

No, I haven’t. I read the specification, I looked at Mark’s test-case, and it was valid. I read the changes to RSS 2.0, I looked at Mark’s test-case, it was invalid. That’s incompatibility, not kool-aid. Independently verifiable, not relying on anybody’s opinion. Read it yourself.

http://diveintomark.org/public/2004/01/userland-rss091.xml

So as someone writing aggregator and publishing code, rating and a 24 in skiphours matters to me how? It doesn’t. I’ve never said that you can’t point to words in the spec and say “this is not compatible.” Obviously I know that.

> So as someone writing aggregator and publishing code, rating and a 24 in skiphours matters to me how?

The problem was forbidding plaintext in the description element type.

> I’ve never said that you can’t point to words in the spec and say “this is not compatible.”ย Obviously I know that.

Er, my whole point is that Dave accusing people he doesn’t like of introducing incompatible changes is hypocritical because he condoned introducing incompatible changes when people he liked did it.

If you accept that Dave condoned the incompatible changes to RSS 2.x, and observe him criticising people for making incompatible changes to RSS 1.x, why are you accusing me of “drinking the kool-aid” instead of agreeing that it’s hypocritical? I don’t get it.

I actually agreed with the change to RSS 2.0. I just didn’t agree with labelling the new specification as RSS 2.0, rather than RSS 2.1.

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