Right now I'm listening to a live feed from the Gnomedex conference. Microsoft are presenting their "RSS Platform" and an RSS 1.0/2.0/Atom extension - lists! (Spec and stuff? live on their site noon their time).
More interesting perhaps is that they're releasing their extension spec under a Creative Commons license (and talking about "conversations").
It feels really odd to be listening to people gushing about lists (and just before that apparently Winer was holding forth about outline trees). How many years have we had graphs on hand - encompassing lists and trees and whatever else you like. Available in *RSS* (through RSS 1.0/RDF). Weird.
Hilarious! In the Q & A someone (I think it was Bob Wyman!!) asked why MS were still acting borg-like and not going through standards orgs like the IETF. Along the way referred to RSS 2.0 as a "legacy format" - audience responded with boos! (The presenter countered well "when did I stop beating my wife").
Update (I'll just keep adding to this post)
- some links:
RSS in Longhorn - rather predictably a fairly simple but inflexible data model. But the sync engine is separate, so should be usable with something like Redland or SemPlan RdfLib.
list extension spec - very small, and is mostly RDF-reinvention, although they've got a weird thing with the datatype being done in the sort mechanism (need to think about that some more).
Scoble's got loads more links.
Tim Bray is positive, viewing the extension as an experiment that will depend on whether developers use it. Good comeback re. Atom:
IÃ¢â¬â¢m somewhat amused by the last paragraphÃ¢â¬â¢s "We will support Atom 1.0 when itÃ¢â¬â¢s released." That will be in the next few weeks, which is to say at least a year before Longhorn is.
Despite Atom's technical strengths relative to RSS [2.0], RSS has such momentum in the marketplace today that if the Atom folks came out and tried to bash their advantages around, claiming that RSS is legacy, that RSS sucks, that RSS is somehow closed and proprietary because it wasn't developed using a community process, they're going to come out on the lo
osing side of things. The people who support the Atom approach need to *demonstrate* the advantages of using Atom by deploying it side-by-side with RSS. Demonstrate the technical merit through example rather than evangelization and rhetoric. Show me the code, show me the benefit. Until you do, get used to hearing more and more people talk about RSS.
You couldn't make this stuff up.
Although Dave Winer has known about MS's plans since April, apparently he hadn't actually looked at their spec prior to singing its praises. Now he has, and has realised it won't be as easy to work with as he thought (such as in his new outliner). Now he says:
…in its current form I don't think I will write feeds that generate the extensions or write code that processes them.
With some quick work, while there still is no installed base, we can arrive at something that works for everyone…
Even later still…
Scoble has even more links, including one to this post, which is sweet of him.
Les Orchard's MS strategy analysis seems pretty reasonable, especially the line: "… the manner in which itÃ¢â¬â¢s been delivered unto the world is the real stage show"
Bill deHora tackles some misunderstandings about Atom, and notes:
Socially and commercially however having a unified list format that isn't buried in HTML is going to be insanely valuable.
- purely speculation -
Ok, I'll stick my neck out on a prediction or two. Some developers are bound to try producing/consuming RSS 2.0 including the various extensions: comments, Creative Commons, Yahoo Media, Microsost Lists. It won't be easy to use such things in concert without a common language beyond XML syntax. If recent history is anything to go on, these folks will have their eyes glued to RSS 2.0 and blinkers on when it comes to the considerable work done around RDF/RSS 1.0 and Atom (which does have a usable extension mechanism). Expect unreliable ball of mud parsers and object models. An extension replacing the ill-specified escaping of content is likely to appear too. Before long, probably within a year, someone will propose an RSS Meta Format specification. By the year 2010 the "simple" RSS fork will have reached the point RSS 1.0 was at in 2000 (but everyone will be using Atom anyway, and no-one will notice).
However, these predictions are fairly worst-case, and assume the weight of mastodons like Microsoft will skew the evolutionary paths. Actually left to natural selection, I'd expect some big action coming from left field, one or two companies taking advantage of RDF (perhaps using the Atom Protocol as a transport alongside RDF/XML) and blowing the muddy soup out of the water.[Danny]