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Created: January 18, 2005.
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Independent Developers Release Draft Version of RSS 1.1 (RDF Site Summary).

A group of RSS 1.0 users has announced the release of RSS 1.1: RDF Site Summary as a content syndication format intended to update and replace the popular RSS Version 1.0.

RSS stands for "RDF Site Summary," "Rich Site Summary," "Really Simple Syndication," and perhaps similar phrases . It has become a popular XML format for news syndication since its creation in 1997. The two major variants of RSS include an XML RDF-based specification (RSS version 0.9, 1.0, draft 1.1) and a non-RDF XML specification (RSS versions 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 2.0).

Both the draft RSS 1.1: RDF Site Summary and the non-RDF RSS 2.0 Specification are published under a Creative Commons License.

RSS Version 1.1 is the independent project of three RSS 1.0 users, Sean B. Palmer, Christopher Schmidt, and Cody Woodard. These developers, "tired of the deficiencies of [the RSS Version 1.0] format, decided to create a more architecturally solid format based upon it. RSS 1.1 has not yet been officially ratified by any group, but has been intially well received by selected members of the RSS community, and a furtherance of the initial tools and implementations should be expected."

According to the specification abstract, RSS 1.1 "is an application of the W3C's RDF and XML languages. It has better internationalization support, utilizes more up-to-date facilities of its constituent languages than RSS 1.0, and fixes a number of other issues with the RSS 1.0 specification. RSS 1.1 is as extensible as RSS 1.0 and can even make use of its extension modules."

RSS 1.1 is "an extensible content syndication format based on RDF and XML. It allows content distributors such as news portals, webloggers, and other providers of up-to-the-minute content to publish their information in a machine readable and repurposable format. For consumers of such information, it hence alleviates the problem of having to check a large collection of sundry websites while remembering simultaneously which items have been read. Providers can thereby increase the likelihood that their content will be read by consumers more frequently."

The version 1.1 draft is designed to offer users of RSS 1.0 a replacement using more current features of RDF to simplify the syntax. It features a complete formal definition document including OWL, RELAX NG, and specification conformance criteria.

To coincide with the RSS Version 1.1 initial release, the authors are "also making available a number of tools, including an RSS 1.1 feed validator (using a SAX parser in Python), a converter (based on XSLT), a test suite, and various implementations for Movable Type, Wordpress, and others."

While RSS content and syndication can be expected to have long life on the Internet, the broad expectation os that the Atom Syndication Format will supersede RSS. On June 16, 2004 the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) announced the formation of an Atom Publishing Format and Protocol Working Group (atompub) in the IETF Applications Area. According to the initial Working Group Charter, Atom "defines a feed format for representing and a protocol for editing Web resources such as Weblogs, online journals, Wikis, and similar content. The feed format enables syndication; that is, provision of a channel of information by representing multiple resources in a single document."

The RSS Version 1.1 specification is said to be "designed for current RSS 1.0 users, and is not designed to compete with the currently-under-development Atom specification. It is created taking into account a number of the problems brought up since the creation of the RSS 1.0 specification, and aims to correct these issues while maintaining a relatively high level of backwards compatibility for increased tool support."

Bibliographic Information

RSS 1.1: RDF Site Summary. Authors: Sean B. Palmer [WWW] and Christopher Schmidt [WWW], with contributions by Cody Woodard. Initial Draft: 17th January 2005. Latest version URL:, Previous version URL: Licensed under a Creative Commons License.

RSS 1.1 Motivation

"In its other guises, e.g., RSS 0.92, RSS 2.0, and Atom, content syndication of this kind has been enormously successful, and requires no justification of its general potential. The addition of yet another version, however, to the current proliferation of RSS variants necessitates its rationale being documented.

Many sites understand the benefits of syndication, and have provided RSS feeds to achieve a variety of goals, from increased readership to providing instant updates on content. A number of formats have emerged, each of them offering aspects that others do not. RSS 1.0, due to its RDF based nature, offers a variety of benefits. Thus far, however, uptake for RSS 1.0 has been relatively limited, due to the difficulty in creating conforming documents in comparison to other syndication formats. Duplication of data, as well as a generally confusing specification, have left much to be desired from the developer perspective, leading to a less-than-impressive number of RDF-based RSS documents in the wild.

This specification is therefore made available by users of the RSS 1.0 format who wanted to update the specification to make use of the latest features of RDF in order to reduce the redundancy in the format, and the ambiguity in the specification, while at the same time implementing a series of bugfixes from the lessons learned in developing the other descendent of RSS 1.0, Atom.

RSS 1.1 is hence to be considered a bugfix and streamline release of RSS 1.0 for users of RSS 1.0 who do not want to migrate to Atom. A full list of changes from RSS 1.0 is given in Appendix B..." [from the initial Draft v 1.1 spec]

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