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Last modified: April 28, 2007
RDF Rich Site Summary (RSS)

RSS might stand for "Rich Site Summary," "RDF Site Summary," "Really Simple Syndication," or something else, depending upon the authority being asked. Since the RSS specification is not developed within any recognized SSO/SDO (as of 2007-04), it's not clear that any group has the moral authority to specify an official acronym expansion. On that point: contrast The Atom Syndication Format, approved by The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) as IETF Standards Track Request for Comments (RFC) #4287.

The two major variants of RSS include an RDF-based specification (RSS version 0.9, 1.0) and a non-RDF XML specification (RSS versions 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 2.0). From the version 1.0 specification abstract: "RDF Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the W3C's RDF Specification and is extensible via XML-namespace and/or RDF based modularization." From the IETF Internet-Draft 'draft-nottingham-rss-media-type-00': "RSS is a lightweight, multipurpose, extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application. RSS is currently used for a number of applications, including news and other headline syndication, weblog syndication, and the propogation of software update lists. It is generally used for any situation when a machine-readable list of textual items and/or metadata about them needs to be distributed. There are a number of revisions of the RSS format defined, many of which are actively used..."

Note of 2007-04-28: False prediction made in 2004, since The Atom Syndication Format was approved in 2005, and the The Atom Publishing Protocol was nearing approval stage in 2007-04, but 'RSS' [non-RDF XML specification variant] stands at version 2.0.8, published August 12, 2006, hoping to be approved by an 'RSS Advisory Board' as version 2.0.9:

RSS TNG will probably (?) be Atom: see "Atom as the New XML-Based Web Publishing and Syndication Format." On June 16, 2004 the IETF announced the formation of an Atom Publishing Format and Protocol (atompub) Working Group in the IETF Applications Area.

Principal References

  • RSS Specification "Permanent URL". According to a posting by Rogers Cadenhead to the 'atom-syntax' list, and the RSS Advisory Board web site [2007-04-28], the URI is considered the "permanent URL" when linking to the RSS specification: the "RSS spec will always be available" at that location. According to the document at that location [2007-04-28], "RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication."

  • "RSS Headline Syndication: Frequently Asked Questions for Content Providers."

  • Mailing lists relevant to RSS include the Yahoo Groups 'syndication' and 'rss-dev'.

  • RSS 1.1: RDF Site Summary Preliminary Draft. January 23, 2005. Latest version URL: Previous versions: See the announcement for the 2005-01-23 'Preliminary Draft'.

  • [January 18, 2005]   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 — depending upon the authority.

    RSS 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." 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."

  • [July 22, 2003]   RSS 2.0 Specification Published by Berkman Center Under Creative Commons License.    The RSS Version 2.0 specification originally developed and maintained by Userland's Dave Winer has been transferred to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, and has been republished under the of the Attribution/Share Alike Creative Commons license. Under the Attribution/Share Alike license, "The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; in return, licensees must give the original author credit. The licensor also permits others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the one that governs the licensor's work." RSS ('Really Simple Syndication' or 'RDF Site Summary') has been issued in at least seven versions, by different informally constituted groups. Despite the lack of convergence, RSS is rapidly gaining in popularity as a news syndication format. At the same time, new syndication formats are being proposed, including a front-runner documented on the (Pie/Echo/Atom) project wiki. This promising initiative has completed several key specifications as it seeks to "develop a common syntax for syndicating, archiving and editing episodic web sites."

  • The Atom Project. Atom Draft Charter for IETF Working Group. 2004-03-16 or later. Proposed Chair(s): Sam Ruby and Tim Bray. Working Group draft description: Atom defines an interchange format and interfaces for resources used in weblogs, online journals, wikis, CMSs, and similar sites. Atom consists of the following: (1) A conceptual model of a log entry. (2) A concrete syntax for this model. (3) A syndication format using this syntax. (4) An archiving format using this syntax. (5) A weblog editing protocol using this syntax (the Atom API). (6) The interchange format must be able to represent: a resource that is a weblog entry or article (has an author, date, identity, and content); a feed or channel of entries, with or without distributing content; an archive of entries; existing, possibly non-well-formed, content; additional information in an user-extensible manner; unambiguous definitions of core and recommended elements..."

  • RSS 2.0 from Userland. Controversial, as usual, by virtue of the other RSS. "In RSS 2.0, a provision is made for linking a channel to its identifier in a cataloging system, using the channel-level category feature, described above. For example, to link a channel to its Syndic8 identifier, include a category element as a sub-element of <channel>, with domain "Syndic8", and value the identifier for your channel in the Syndic8 database. The appropriate category element for Scripting News would be <category domain="Syndic8">1765</category>..."

  • "RSS 0.93 is open for discussion." Posted by Dave Winer. April 20, 2001. "This format, when finalized, will be upward-compatible with RSS 0.92 and 0.91, meaning that a 0.92 or 0.91 source will also be a valid 0.93 source."

  • RSS 0.92 Proposed Specification. From Dave Winer. "RSS 0.92 is upward-compatible with RSS 0.91. Every new feature of 0.92 is optional, meaning that a 0.91 file is also a valid 0.92 file... A sample RSS 0.92 file illustrates many of the proposed features..."

  • [March 25, 2003] "RSS 0.91, 0.92 and 2.0 Really Simple Syndication." By Ben Hammersley. Chapter 4 in Content Syndication with RSS: Sharing Headlines and Information Using XML. March 2003. 19 pages. Book description: "RSS (which can stand for RDF Site Summary, Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication) is an XML-based format that allows web developers to describe and syndicate web site content. Content Syndication with RSS offers webloggers, developers, and the programmers who support them a thorough explanation of syndication in general and RSS in particular. Written for web developers who want to offer XML-based feeds of their content, as well as developers who want to use the content that other people are syndicating, the book explores and explains metadata interpretation, different forms of content syndication, and the increasing use of web services in this field. If you're interested in producing your own RSS feed, this step-by-step guide to implementation is the book you'll want in hand..."

  • [June 03, 2002] "RDF Site Summary 1.0 Modules: Service Status." By Matthew J. Dovey (Oxford University) Katherine Ferguson (Oxford University), and Sebastian Rahtz (Oxford University). From a posting to the the RDF Site Summary 1.0 Specification Working Group list. Draft version 3. June 02, 2002. Proposed RSS module. "This module extends RSS to include elements which allow the description of the status and current availability of services and servers. Some data, such as whether a server is up or not, would normally be generated automatically, whilst other data, such as explanatory text for humans, might be the result of further processing or direct human input. A service as seen from a user's point of view might not be a one-to-one mapping to a service as seen from a system point of view. If, for example, a user service is dependent on more than one system service being available then the user service is available if and only if all those system services are available. This can easily be calculated with both input and output conforming to this specification. (1) ss:lastChecked gives the most recent time that the service was tried. lastSeen gives the most recent time that the service responded. ss:responding is true or false, depending on whether the service responded at the last check. In the case that the service is responding the two times should be equal. If the service is not responding then it is useful to have an approximation of how long it has been down, by comparing the two times. (2) ss:availability and averageResponseTime are statistics which may be calculated as you wish. ss:aboutStats should give access to a description of how these have been calculated so that the statistics are meaningful. (3) ss:statusMessage allows for a message about the service and its status. Often this will not be needed. However messages such as 'This service will be rebooted over lunchtime', 'We know this is unavailable - we're all working on the problem so please stop phoning us' or 'There is an intermittent problem which we are monitoring' could at times be appropriate. A message may be included independent of whether the service is currently responding or not..."

  • [September 20, 2002] RelaxNG Schema for RSS 1.0 Core. Announcement posted by Joseph Reagle 2002-09-18.

  • [March 05, 2002] "RDF Site Summary 1.0 Modules: Streaming." By Ben Hammersley. Version 1.0. 2002-03-05. Status: Proposed. "This module addresses the additional needs of streaming-media providers. It is seen as an addition to existing standard and proposed modules, especially Dublin Core. The main features involve the associated application for the media stream, the codec the stream is encoded with and additional tags for the segmentation of live/continual broadcasts. It is predominantly technical/practical information: I envisage information such as music style, or video content to be dealt with by Dublin Core, the mod_content etc..."

  • [August 15, 2000] Rael Dornfest announced the publication of an RSS 1.0 Specification Proposal and the formation of an RSS-DEV Mailing List []. The RSS 1.0 Specification Proposal has been written by Gabe Beged-Dov (JFinity Systems LLC)), Dan Brickley (ILRT), Rael Dornfest (O'Reilly & Associates), Ian Davis (Calaba, Ltd.), Leigh Dodds (xmlhack), Jonathan Eisenzopf (Whirlwind Interactive), David Galbraith (, R.V. Guha (, Eric Miller (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.), and Eric van der Vlist (Dyomedea). "RSS ('RDF Site Summary') is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the W3C's RDF Specification and is extensible via XML-namespace and/or RDF based modularization. The modular extension of existing RSS through XML Namespaces and RDF stressing backward compatibility with RSS 0.9 for ease of adoption by existing syndicated content producers. . . Much of RSS's success stems from the fact that it is simply an XML document rather than a full syndication framework such as XMLNews and ICE." Description and background: "An RSS summary, at a minimum, is a document describing a 'channel' consisting of URL-retrievable items. Each item consists of a title, link, and brief description. While items have traditionally been news headlines, RSS has seen much repurposing in its short existence. RSS 0.9 was introduced in 1999 by Netscape as a channel description framework / content-gathering mechanism for their My Netscape Network (MNN) portal. By providing a simple snapshot-in-a-document, web site producers acquired audience through the presence of their content on My Netscape. A by-product of MNN's work was RSS's use as an XML-based lightweight syndication format, quickly becoming a viable alternative to ad-hoc syndication systems and practical in many scenarios where heavyweight standards like ICE were overkill. And the repurposing didn't stop at headline syndication; today's RSS feeds carry an array of content types: news headlines, discussion forums, software announcements, and various bits of proprietary data. RSS 0.91, re-dubbed 'Rich Site Summary,' followed shortly on the heals of 0.9. It had dropped its roots in RDF and sported new elements from Userland's scriptingNews format -- most notable being a new item-level <description> element, bringing RSS into the (lightweight) content syndication arena. While Netscape discontinued it's RSS efforts, evangelism by Userland's Dave Winer led to a groundswell of RSS-as-syndication-framework adoption. Inclusion of of RSS 0.91 as one of the syndicaton formats for its Manila product and related service brought together the Weblog and syndication worlds. . . . As RSS continues to be re-purposed, aggregated, and categorized, the need for an enhanced metadata framework grows. Channel- and item-level title and description elements are being overloaded with metadata and HTML. One proposed solution is the addition of more simple elements to the RSS core. This direction, while possibly being the simplest in the short run, sacrifices scalability and requires iterative modifications to the core format, adding requested and removing unused functionality. A second solution is the compartmentalization of specific functionality and purposing into the pluggable RSS modules. This is one of the tacts taken in this specification, said modularization being accomplished via XML Namespaces, the sequestering of vocabularies into their own private packages. Adding and removing RSS functionality is then just a matter of the inclusion of a particular set of modules best suited to the task at hand. No reworking of the RSS core is necessary. . . The 12 months since version 0.91 was released has seen the surfacing of various novel uses for RSS. RSS is being called upon to evolve with growing application needs: aggregation, discussion threads, job listings, multiple listings (homes), sports scores, etc. Via XML-namespace based modularization and RDF, RSS 1.0 builds a framework for both standardized and ad hoc re-purposing." Note also (1) the 'XSLT Stylesheets to convert older RSS formats to RSS 1.0' (from Eric van der Vlist) and (2) the latest version of the XML::RSS Perl module for processing RSS 0.9, 0.91, and 1.0 (Jonathan Eisenzopf).

Articles, Papers, News

  • [July 15, 2005] "Atom: The Standard in Syndication." By Robert Sayre. From IEEE Internet Computing Volume 9, Number 2 (July/August 2005), pages 71-78. Online via IEEE Distributed Systems Online. Sayre's article provides extensive discussion on the "History of Syndication Interoperability," "The First RSS," and "RSS Versions" — as well as surveying the specifications produced by the IETF Working Group. "Early syndication and publishing protocols faced various problems related to interoperability, scalability, and extensibility. The Atom format and protocol builds on earlier efforts to establish an open, extensible, interoperable, and clearly specified framework for Web-logging applications. Atom has already been deployed on a wide variety of platforms. By closely examining previous syndication formats and protocols, the Atompub working group has been able to 'pave the footpaths,' and design a standard built around well-known and proven usage patterns... Maintaining interoperability is vital to preserving the [blogging] medium's effectiveness and openness. It is also challenging because the environment values and encourages contributions from everyone... Many computing standards are hammered out by agreement between a comparatively small number of technology professionals and companies, for use almost solely by technically trained implementors. In contrast, the syndication community has always encouraged 'folk coding,' so the variety and number of implementations is immense and growing. This empowers people to innovate rather than make feature requests, but accommodating this inclusive, anything-goes ethos while delivering a predictable, consistent experience for nontechnical users is a constant struggle. Atom is an IETF effort to improve syndication interoperability while maintaining an approachable design. By addressing failings in previous formats and protocols, the products of the -Atompub working group provide a well-specified and easily understood infrastructure for the future of syndication and publishing on the Web..." [Note: In the section "RSS Versions" the author says "A conservative count shows eight document formats calling themselves RSS. In order of appearance, they are 0.90, 0.91, 1.0, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 2.0, and 1.1. The versions in widest deployment today [2005-07] are 0.91, 1.0, and, most popularly, 2.0..."

  • [December 7, 2004] "What's Wrong With RSS is Also What's Right With It." By David Berlind. From ZDNet Tech Update (November 07, 2004). "The variety of Web syndication techniques is one of those proverbial situations where the greatest thing about standards is that there are so many of them. It would require thesis-level research to make real sense of RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 (which is not the successor to RSS 1.0, but rather version 0.94), Atom, and the gaggle of tangentially connected Internet syndication technologies. If there are problems at the specification level and they can't get worked out (my sense is that some conflicts have been overblown by the press), can we expect it to get any easier in the trenches? This story is about users just trying to get something to work... One problem that I've run into with RSS 2.0 is the way publishers often publish their RSS-based feeds using different conventions. Although this flexibility is one of RSS 2.0's greatest benefits, the burden of normalizing multiple RSS feeds for aggregation and presentation shifts to the consumption side... I wonder whether RSS might also prove just how difficult it will be for vendors to deliver on the development-for-mortals promise -- the one where technical neophytes will be able to build complex, transactional, server-side applications with a point, click and drag. RSS is, after all, today's poster child of what XML can do for the masses. It's also the closest that most people have come to working with XML. Given RSS' momentum, it could very well turn into the primary method by which all data (structured or unstructured) gets pumped — regardless of whether the application is just to stay abreast of Weblogs, to retrieve e-mail (boy, wouldn't that put an end to spam?), or to pass transactional data through a complicated workflow. As such, RSS is also the prime candidate to be a proof-point for point-and-click programming..." See also "Atom Publishing Format and Protocol."

  • [June 28, 2004] "Apple's RSS Embrace Could Bolster Adoption." By Matt Hicks. In eWEEK (June 28, 2004). "By giving its blessing to XML syndication, Apple is joining the trend of browser makers embracing Web news feeds and potentially bringing the technology to the masses. Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs on Monday previewed the company's next version of its Web browser, dubbed Safari RSS. RSS refers to the acronym for Really Simple Syndication, the major format for XML syndication. Apple's Web browser is neither the first nor the only one to support syndication feeds. Opera Software ASA introduced RSS support with its latest browser, Opera 7.50, released in May, and the Mozilla Foundation is planning a feature to bookmark feeds with its Firefox 1.0 release later this year. Safari RSS is scheduled to be available with Apple's next Mac OS X release, code-named Tiger, planned for the first half of 2005... Microsoft's Internet Explorer, with 94 percent market share, has no support for reading or aggregating RSS feeds, and company officials declined to discuss whether it is planning any future support. But the Redmond, Wash., company previously has indicated that Longhorn will include RSS aggregation. 'Ultimately, what matters is what Microsoft does with Internet Explorer,' said Dave Winer, the co-author of RSS, who expect Microsoft to eventually include RSS support in a range of products... The browser makers are all taking various approaches to incorporating feeds into the browser. Opera, of Oslo, Norway, has added RSS support within its mail application, handling feeds like e-mail messages. The browser also can detect pages with feeds, and users can click a site's XML icon to automatically subscribe. Mozilla, based in Mountain View, Calif., plans to include its news feed support with the beta release of Firefox 1.0 in about six weeks, Goodger said. The new feature will let users save and organize feeds within the browser's bookmarks, which will display an updated list of feed items. Firefox also will display an icon or prompt to indicate that a Web page has an available feed, Goodger said..."

  • [June 09, 2004] "Google Mulls RSS Support." By Stefanie Olsen and Evan Hansen. In CNET (June 09, 2004). "Google is considering renewing support for the popular RSS Web publishing format in some services. Along with rival Atom, RSS is a leading candidate to form the basis of an industry standard for a new style of Web publishing that lets readers easily compile news headlines on the fly. Were Google to support both RSS and Atom equally, it might help ease growing pains for a swiftly rising movement of Web publishing. It would also restore Google to the status of a neutral party in the midst of a bitter fight between backers of RSS and Atom, who have been divided since last summer when critics of RSS banded together to create the alternative format. Since then, many blog sites and individuals have rallied behind Atom... Google is central to the debate because of its mounting influence in the online community and within Web publishing circles as the owner of Blogger. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which is gearing up for a $2.7 billion initial public offering later this year, recently redesigned Blogger with simplified features to help newbie Web surfers publish regular accounts of their lives online, a move to appeal to wider audiences. Google also has plans to introduce a raft of community services, including e-mail discussion groups (Google Groups 2), free Web-based e-mail and search personalization tools, which could eventually tap the syndication format... A slew of feed readers or news aggregators has emerged to take advantage of the technology and spur consumer demand. Newsgator, for example, lets people subscribe to various Web logs and news sites and have the feeds delivered to their e-mail via a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook, at a cost of $29. lets people parse news into 150,000 different categories, even down to a ZIP code, and create their own information site. Pluck recently released a set of browser add-ons for Microsoft's Internet Explorer with an RSS reader. Many news readers support both RSS and Atom, although some support only one or the other. Despite the fissure, RSS has been gaining allegiance among many computer makers and online publishers. In recent weeks, Time magazine, Reuters, and have started supporting the format, syndicating their headlines to news aggregators and individuals..." See also "Atom Publishing Format and Protocol."

  • [March 15, 2004] "XML Guru Joins Sun Software." By Martin LaMonica and Paul Festa. From CNET (March 15, 2004). "Extensible Markup Language guru Tim Bray has joined Sun Microsystems' software group to work on XML-based syndication technologies and advanced search. Bray said that in his position as technical director in the software group, he will look to incorporate blogging software and content syndication based on the Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, format in Sun's software line. 'There are some VIPs in Sun who are very, very hot on the whole area of blogging and syndication,' Bray said. 'There's a vision of next-generation technology around the intersection of RSS, XML and advanced search technologies.' Bray, one of XML's co-authors, said the new position came about during his job hunt, when he met with Sun software's chief technology officer, John Fowler, to whom Bray will report. Bray began his new position Monday [2004-03-15]..."

  • [March 15, 2004] "Merger for Rival RSS/ATOM Formats?" By Ryan Naraine. From Developer (March 09, 2004). "Which content syndication camp are you in? RSS or Atom? If a new proposal by the co-author of the popular RSS format catches on, it won't matter; both would merge into one protocol under a new proposal, a move that could nip the argument over the competing formats in the bud. Dave Winer, a central figure behind the push for mainstream RSS adoption, has now proposed a merger with the newer Atom standard, insisting 'it's time to bury the hatchet and move on.' Winer announced his proposal in a Weblog post on Tuesday and urged developers to put their heads together in order to come up with a backwards-compatible format to avoid confusion and bring the two competing standards together. The creation of the Atom format last year by developers from IBM, Google, and a host of blog tools vendors has led to acrimony among software engineers. Google, through its Blogger service, has ditched RSS in favor of Atom syndication format but, according to Winer, the availability of competing formats is scaring away mainstream adoption of RSS. RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a 'push' standard first developed by Netscape in the 1990s..." See also Dave Winer's blog entry, the list of RSS implementations, and the draft IETF Charter for Atom.

  • [February 11, 2004] "Google Spurns RSS for Rising Blog Format [Atom]." By Paul Festa. In CNET (February 11, 2004). "Google's Blogger service is bypassing Really Simple Syndication in favor of an alternative technology, a move that has sparked more discord in a bitter dispute over Web log syndication formats. The search giant, which acquired last year, began allowing the service's million-plus members to syndicate their online diaries to other Web sites last month. To implement the feature, it chose the new Atom format instead of the widely used, older RSS. The battle between RSS and Atom has divided the blogging world since the summer, when critics of RSS came together to create an alternative format. Since then, a raft of blog sites and individuals have lined up behind Atom, while Yahoo has thrown its considerable weight behind RSS. The Blogger decision to offer only Atom has angered supporters of RSS, who accuse Google of helping to splinter a wide network of RSS-using bloggers... 'They're breaking users, including people who aren't using their software,' wrote Dave Winer, a Harvard fellow who is commonly considered the arbiter of the RSS format, on his long-running blog. 'There is a lot of implicit trust in the RSS network, an assumption that vendors will behave rationally and will care for users. Any participant can break us, as Google is proving... RSS supporters argued that Google could have given members a choice between RSS or Atom, since Blogger already offers the older format. But Atom partisans lauded Google's move, saying it made sense in the context of the company's support for open-source software and open standards. 'RSS has long been controlled by a single vendor or entity,' said Mark Pilgrim, an early contributor to Atom. 'Atom's an open standard, so people can point at the spec and say they're conforming to it, and it's not controlled by one of their competitors. And RSS is.'... Atom backers are proceeding with plans to bring their technology under the auspices of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IBM engineer Sam Ruby, who has spearheaded the Atom effort, was scheduled to address O'Reilly's Emerging Technologies conference on a proposal for IETF to assume responsibility for Atom. Ruby could not immediately be reached for comment. But Pilgrim estimated that Atom, which dates back only to June of last year, would work its way through the IETF and be ratified as a 'request for comment' draft no later than August [2004]..." From Sam Ruby's slides, presented at the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference, "!Echo wiki: Lessons Learned": "A draft [IETF] charter [for Atom work] will be prepared in time to be informally discussed at the IETF meeting is Seoul, Korea on the week of 29-February-2004 to 5-March-2004; Hopefully, the Working Group itself will be approved in March 2004; Most of the work will be done on mailing lists; Ideally, a face to face meeting of the Working Group will be scheduled to coincide with the August 1-6, 2004 meeting of the IETF in San Diego, CA..."

  • [February 03, 2004] "Is Ad-Supported RSS the Next Big Thing?" By Janis Mara. From InternetNews.Com (February 03, 2004). "The use of RSS technology has been touted as a spam-free alternative to e-newsletters but the concept of has been dogged by certain limitations. Chief among them, for publishers, is an advertising model to support the popular feeds. A new online ad network, RSSAds, is gearing up to help publishers get over that hurdle. The San Francisco-based company is hoping to capitalize on the growing buzz surrounding RSS, the XML-based technology that pulls headlines and text from Web sites and displays them on users' desktops or Web sites in RSS readers, or aggregators... RSSAds has developed technology that will insert ads into relevant content such as news stories and headlines, which can then be seamlessly downloaded by Web users and bloggers and displayed on their desktops and sites. The ads appear as text, 'so it's less intrusive,' Williams said. A number of publishers, such as InfoWorld, LockerGnome and already have ads in their RSS feeds, but RSSAds appears to be the first to aggregate publishers into a network. RSS feeds are getting a lot of attention from marketers and publishers these days, since they avoid often spam-clogged e-mail inboxes. Adding fuel to the fire, RSS feeds are growing more accessible to average Internet users. Yahoo! just launched a beta test of a module incorporating RSS technology. It lets users pull headlines and text from other sites and display them on their My Yahoo! pages... Although the tracking of content and ad viewing has always been one of RSS's weak points, Williams says his company tracks ad views by means of a simple transparent image file. Whenever the RSS reader calls back to the server for the image, it counts as an ad impression. According to Williams, RSSAds will sell ads using cost-per-click, cost-per-time-period, cost-per-insert and cost-per-thousand impressions models. But Williams believes the pay-for-performance ads will be the most popular..."

  • [January 27, 2004] "RSS for President." By Steve Gillmor. In eWEEK (January 20, 2004). "The Net has enormously accelerated the conversation that the aggregated campaigns have joined. A range of collaboration software, from sales force automation to wikis to the nascent social software tools, has compressed the electorate into rapidly forming affinity groups. Once in place, these groups become a dynamic type of focus group, with the enhanced ability to create, test-market, refine and deploy strategic muscle at lightning speed. It's difficult to catch this change at the surface level -- where network and even cable news operations can only sound-bite the dynamics. But the RSS space -- as a synthesis of both a filtered mainstream media and the bottom-up drivers of the blogosphere -- is the quickest way to take the pulse, and affect (or reinfect) the process in return... But if Iowa is any indication, the conversation has been altered by the presence of the network -- and RSS..."

  • [December 26, 2003] "Content Feeds with RSS 2.0. Syndication Goes Mainstream." By James Lewin (President, The Lewin Group). From IBM developerWorks, XML. December 23, 2003. ['A lot has happened in the RSS world since developerWorks last looked at RSS: Two new specifications have come out, RSS has become one of the most popular XML standards, and tools and feeds are popping up everywhere. RSS has contributed to the explosion of weblogs, and it is becoming a standard part of other Web sites, too. This article reviews RSS 2.0, looks at new RSS developments, and jump-starts your understanding of this important format.'] "It's been three years since I wrote my last article on RSS for developerWorks, "An introduction to RSS news feeds." At that time, RSS was one of the more popular uses for XML. Since then, Netscape abandoned the format, five new versions of the RSS specification have come out, and there was an acrimonious fork in the format. In spite of these setbacks, RSS is now more popular than ever... Today you can find tens of thousands of RSS feeds. Weblog users, news publishers, government agencies, and many personal and commercial Web sites support the format. Developer tools deal with RSS in Java technology, PERL, PHP, Python, and other major programming languages. Many viewers and aggregators work on the Web, on the desktop, even within e-mail clients... This article will give you a little background, review how the format is being used, and drop the names of some of the more popular tools for working with it. It will review the nuts and bolts of the format, give you examples, and tell you what you need to know to get started. Finally, it will cover some of the new features of RSS 2.0, such as extending RSS using namespaces. At the end of the article you'll find an annotated list of RSS resources... While headline syndication is the most common use for RSS, it is also used for many other purposes. RSS is a very popular format in the weblog community. It's also used for photo diaries, classified ad listings, recipes, reviews, and for tracking the status of software packages. RSS feeds are used in the world of e-commerce as a way of delivering information. For example, Amazon provides custom news feeds based on its Web services platform. This lets you track top books in your news reader, or include information on your Web site about related books for sale at Amazon. RSS has grown tremendously in popularity in the last few years. maintains an index of RSS channels, and its list of feeds has grown by about 1400% in two years. Yahoo news, the BBC, Slashdot, LockerGnome, Amazon, CNN, Wired, Rolling Stone, and Apple Computer are among the many popular sources of RSS feeds..." See also "Atom as the New XML-Based Web Publishing and Syndication Format."

  • [December 14, 2003] "BitTorrent and RSS Create Disruptive Revolution. XML Syndication and Peer-To-Peer Meet to Extend the Power and Efficiency of Web-based Information Distribution." By Steve Gillmor. In eWEEK (December 14, 2003). "Disruptive technologies are born for all sorts of reasons -- good ideas, market pressure, economic opportunity, and sometimes just plain luck. Many of today's disruptive leaders only emerged when combined with other seemingly unrelated inventions. Wi-Fi and broadband (DSL and cable but not satellite) have prospered in a mutually symbiotic fashion. So too have weblogs and RSS. For newbies, RSS feeds are XML text files generated by blogs, websites and other web servers that desktop clients -- called RSS Readers or Weblog Readers -- download on a set schedule, usually once an hour. As RSS gains momentum, it begins to strain the boundaries of its current infrastructure. Feeds are increasingly containing full text, graphics, and even multimedia files. Strict constructionists are bemoaning the trend, suggesting that syndication is all about signaling rather than transporting. Those of us who've moved to RSS as the gateway to as much information as we can filter reject that notion... RSS has forever altered the way I acquire information, and its disruptive quality can surely bond with another such technology to conquer this bottleneck... One such candidate is peer-to-peer, as resurrected in the form of Bram Cohen's BitTorrent. It's an elegant protocol for distributing files, one that takes advantage of 'the unused upload capacity of your customers.' BitTorrent breaks up files into shards that are uploaded around the network as the file is downloaded by multiple clients. The more popular a file, the more endpoints exist. You download a file with BitTorrent by simultaneously collecting shards, assembling them together locally as they arrive. Map this to RSS feeds: the more popular the feed, the more nodes on the network serving pieces of the feed. That would allow rapid downloads by many users by distributing the data across multiple sites. It's a digital Robin Hood, redistributing the wealth from the server to a network of peers. BitTorrent does cryptographic hashing of all data, so feed owners can be confident the file reaches its target unchanged. But there's even more to this disruptive alliance: a small amount of special code known as a tracker sits inside the host Web site and emits information to help other downloaders find each other. As Bram Cohen describes: '[Trackers] speak a very simple protocol layered on top of HTTP in which a downloader sends information about what file it's downloading, what port it's listening on, and similar information, and the tracker responds with a list of contact information for peers which are downloading the same file.' So you've got a list of peers connected via known ports, a trusted group of RSS feed subscribers, who can marshall their resources for additional economic benefit. That could take the form of an affinity group marketing their attention to an advertiser or political cause, a secure pool of computing resources for distributing confidential information, and a pathway for signaling information about new content on that particular subnetwork..."

  • [September 24, 2003] "Grab Headlines From a Remote RSS File. Retrieve Syndicated Content, Transform It, and Display the Result." By Nicholas Chase (President, Chase & Chase, Inc). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. September 23, 2003. ['In this article, Nick shows you how to retrieve syndicated content and convert it into headlines for your site. Since no official format for such feeds exists, aggregators are often faced with the difficulty of supporting multiple formats, so Nick also explains how to use XSL transformations to more easily deal with multiple syndication file formats.'] "With the popularization of weblogging, information overload is worse than ever. Readers now have more sites than ever to keep up with, and visiting all of them on a regular basis is next to impossible. Part of the problem can be solved through the syndication of content, in which a site makes its headlines and basic information available in a separate feed. Today, most of these feeds use an XML format called RSS, though there are variations in its use and even a potential competing format. This article explains how to use Java technology to retrieve the content of a syndicated feed, determine its type, and then transform it into HTML and display it on a Web site. This process involves five steps: (1) Retrieve the XML feed; (2) Analyze the feed; (3) Determine the proper transformation; (4) Perform the transformation; (5) Display the result. This article chronicles the creation of a Java Server Page (JSP) that retrieves a remote feed and transforms it using a Java bean and XSLT, and then incorporates the newly transformed information into a JSP page. The concepts, however, apply to virtually any Web environment... The application uses a DOM Document to analyze the feed and determine the appropriate stylesheet, but you can further extend it by moving some of that logic into an external stylesheet. You can also adapt the system so that it can pull more than one feed, perhaps based on a user selection, with each one creating its own cached file. Similarly, you can enable the user to determine the interval between feed retrievals..."

  • [August 26, 2003] "RSS Utilities: A Tutorial." By Rodrigo Oliveira (Propertyware). From Java Developer Services' technical articles series. August 2003. "RSS ('Really Simple Syndication') is a web content syndication format. RSS is becoming the standard format for syndicating news content over the web. As part of my recent contract with Sun Microsystems, I was tasked with the development of a JSP Tag Library to be used by anybody with a basic understanding of RSS, JavaServer Pages, and HTML. The taglib is mostly geared towards non-technical editors of web sites that use RSS for aggregating news content. My goal was to develop a JSP tag library that would simplify the use of RSS content (versions 0.91, 0.92 and 2.0) in web pages. The RSS Utilities Package is the result of that project. It contains a set of custom JSP tags which make up the RSS Utilities Tag library, and a flexible RSS Parser. This document describes how to use the parser and the library provided in the RSS Utilities Package. The zip [distribution] file contains a jar file, rssutils.jar, providing the classes needed to use the utilities, and a tld file rssutils.tld which defines JSP custom tags for extracting information from RSS documents... The parser was a by-product of the project. Although the parser was developed with the tag library in mind, it is completely self-contained, and it can be used in Java applications. To do so, however, you obviously need to know how to write at least basic Java code; if you know how to write Hello World in the Java language, you are probably all set... The RSS object generated by the parser is a Java object representation of the RSS document found at the provided URL []. Use the methods provided by the RSS object to get a handle to other RSS objects, such as Channels and Items. The RssParser can also parse File objects and InputStream objects... RSS provides a simple way to add and maintain news -- as well as other content -- on your web site, from all over the web. Even though RSS is a simple XML format, parsing and extracting data out of XML documents hosted elsewhere on the web can be a bit tricky-- or at least tedious -- if you have to do it over and over again. The RSS Utilities Package leverages Custom Tag and XML Parsing technologies to make the "Real Simple Syndication" format live up to its name..." The first release of the RSS Utilities Package is available for download.

  • [July 23, 2003] "Extending RSS." By Danny Ayers. In News (July 23, 2003). "The boom of weblogs has boosted interest in techniques for syndicating news-like material. In response a family of applications, known as aggregators or newsreaders, have been developed. Aggregators or newsreaders consume and display metadata feeds derived from the content. Currently there are two major formats for these data feeds: RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0... The names are misleading -- the specifications differ not only in version number but also in philosophy and implementation. If you want to syndicate simple news items there is little difference between the formats in terms of capability or implementation requirement. However, if you want to extend into distributing more sophisticated or diverse forms of material, then the differences become more apparent. The decision over which RSS version to favor really boils down to a single trade-off: syntactic complexity versus descriptive power. RSS 2.0 is extremely easy for humans to read and generate manually. RSS 1.0 isn't quite so easy, as it uses RDF. It is, however, interoperable with other RDF languages and is eminently readable and processible by machines. This article shows how the RDF foundation of RSS 1.0 helps when you want to extend RSS 1.0 for uses outside of strict news item syndication, and how existing RDF vocabularies can be incorporated into RSS 1.0. It concludes by providing a way to reuse these developments in RSS 2.0 feeds while keeping the formal definitions made with RDF... RSS 1.0's strong point is its use of the RDF model, which enables information to be represented in a consistent fashion. This model is backed by a formal specification which provides well-defined semantics. From this point of view, RSS 1.0 becomes just another vocabulary that uses the framework. In contrast, outside of the relationships between the handful of syndication-specific terms defined in its specification, RSS 2.0 simply doesn't have a model. There's no consistent means of interpreting material from other namespaces that may appear in an RSS 2.0 document. It's a semantic void. But it doesn't have to be that way since it's relatively straightforward to map to the RDF framework and use that model. The scope of applications is often extended, and depending on how you look at it, it's either enhancement or feature creep. Either way, it usually means diminishing returns -- the greater distance from the core domain you get, the more additional work is required for every new piece of functionality. But if you look at the web as one big application, then we can to get a lot more functionality with only a little more effort..."

  • [July 23, 2003] "Why Choose RSS 1.0?" By Tony Hammond. In News (July 23, 2003). "RSS, a set of lightweight XML syndication technologies primarily used for relaying news headlines, has been adapted to a wide range of uses from sending out web site descriptions to disseminating blogs. This article looks at a new application area for RSS: syndicating tables of contents for serials publications. Serials newsfeeds -- especially scientific newsfeeds -- differ from regular newsfeeds in that a key requirement for the reader, or more generally for the consumer, of the feed is to be able to cite, or produce a citation for, a given article within the serial. This need for additional information exists across many types of publishing activities. A user may choose not to follow a link directly to some content for whatever good reason, such as preferring to access a locally stored version of the resource. This requires that rich metadata describing the article be distributed along with the article title and link to the article. The need to include metadata within the feed raises the following questions: (1) Which version of RSS best supports the delivery of metadata to users? (2) Which metadata term sets are best employed for supply to users? This article examines both of these issues and then considers how such extensions can actually be used in practice. The primary purpose of syndicating tables of contents for serials is to provide a notification service to inform feed subscribers that a new issue has been published. There are, however, secondary uses for such a syndication service -- that is, to provide access to archival issues resident within a feed repository. The hierarchical storage arrangements for archival issues suggest that one possible resource discovery mechanism might be to have feeds of feeds whereby a feed for an archival volume of issues would syndicate the access URIs for the feeds of the respective issues contained within that volume. This arrangement could even be propagated up the hierarchy whereby a subscription year for a given serial might contain the feed URIs for the volumes within that year, or that a serial feed might contain the feed URIs for the subscription years for that serial. Another way of using a feed of feeds would be for a publisher to publish an RSS feed of all sites that it wanted to syndicate. As an example of such a feed Nature Publishing Group now has a feed which delivers the access URIs for all its current production feeds..."

  • [July 22, 2003] "XML Watch: Tracking Provenance of RDF Data. RDF Tools Are Beginning to Come of Age." By Edd Dumbill (Editor and publisher, In IBM DeveloperWorks (July 21, 2003). ['When you start aggregating data from around the Web, keeping track of where it came from is vital. In this article, Edd Dumbill looks into the contexts feature of the Redland Resource Description Format (RDF) application framework and creates an RDF Site Summary (RSS) 1.0 aggregator as a demonstration.'] "A year ago, I wrote a couple articles for developerWorks about the Friend-of-a-Friend (FOAF) project. FOAF is an XML/RDF vocabulary used to describe -- in computer-readable form -- the sort of personal information that you might normally put on a home Web page, such as your name, instant messenger nicknames, place of work, and so on... I demonstrated FOAFbot, a community support agent I wrote that aggregates people's FOAF files and answers questions about them. FOAFbot has the ability to record who said what about whom... The idea behind FOAFbot is that if you can verify that a fact is recorded by several different people (whom you trust), you are more likely to believe it to be true. Here's another use for tracking provenance of such metadata. One of the major abuses of search engines early on in their history was meta tag spamming. Web sites would put false metadata into their pages to boost their search engine ranking... I won't go into detail on the various security and trust mechanisms that will prevent this sort of semantic vandalism, but I will focus on the foundation that will make them possible: tracking provenance... To demonstrate, I'll show you how to use a simple RSS 1.0 document as test data. Recently I set up a weblog site where I force my opinions on the unsuspecting public... Though RSS feeds of weblogs and other Internet sites are interesting from a browse-around, ego-surfing perspective, I believe the real value of a project like this is likely to be within the enterprise. Organizations are excellent at generating vast flows of time-sequenced data. To take a simple example, URIs are allotted for things like customers or projects, then RSS flows of activity could be generated and aggregated. Such aggregated data could then be easily sliced and diced for whoever was interested. For instance, administrators might wish to find out what each worker has been doing, project managers might want the last three status updates, higher-level management might want a snapshot view of the entire department, and so on. It is not hard to imagine how customer relationship management (CRM) might prove to be an area where tools of this sort would yield great benefits... The simple example demonstrated in this article only scratches the surface of provenance tracking with RDF. On the Web, where information comes from is just as important as the information itself. Provenance-tracking RDF tools are just beginning to emerge, and as they become more widely used they will no doubt become more sophisticated in their abilities. The Redland RDF application framework is a toolkit that's definitely worth further investigation. It has interfaces to your favorite scripting language; it runs on UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS X..."

  • [July 20, 2003] "Debate Flares Over Weblog Standards. Despite Technical Battles, Weblogs Prepare to Alter the Collaboration and Content Management Space." By Cathleen Moore. In InfoWorld (July 18, 2003). "Weblogs are poised to roil the status quo of enterprise collaboration and content management despite recent debate regarding the protocols underpinning the technology. Quietly flourishing for years with tools from small vendors, online personal publishing technology has skyrocketed in popularity during the past year, attracting serious interest from megaplayers such as AOL and Google. This summer, AOL plans to launch a Weblog tool dubbed AOL Journals, while Google continues to digest Pyra Labs, acquired earlier this year. Most Weblogs are currently fueled by RSS, known both as Really Simple Syndication and RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary. Based on XML, RSS is a Web publishing format for syndicating content, and it is heralded for its simple yet highly effective means of distributing information online. Although not officially sanctioned by a standards body, the format enjoys wide adoption by RSS content aggregators and publishing systems. Media companies such as the BBC, The New York Times, and InfoWorld currently support RSS... Despite the undisputed popularity and proven utility of RSS, a new standard is emerging in an attempt to lay the foundations for the Weblog's future. Originally dubbed Echo and now rechristened as Atom, the effort is described as a grassroots, vendor-neutral push to address some of the limitations of RSS. Rather than adding to the existing RSS specification, development on these issues has splintered off into a separate effort due to disagreement among community members as to the purpose and direction of RSS. The idea is to build on the foundation of RSS, according to Anil Dash , vice president of business development at Six Apart, a San Francisco-based Weblog vendor. 'The reason there is a need for something else is that there are new types of data and richer and more complex connections we are trying to do that RSS is not meant to do,' Dash said. Critics charge that the multiple versions of RSS, the number of which ranges between two and five depending on whom you talk to, are causing confusion and are hindering interoperability. 'To date, people [involved with RSS] have failed to converge on one version and make the confusion go away,' Antarctica's Bray said. Other issues with RSS include the lack of an API component for editing and extending Weblogs. RSS uses separate APIs, metaWeblog and Blogger , which are controlled by Userland Software and Google , respectively. Atom will be necessary for enterprises that 'want interoperability or need to exchange data with someone who is outside the firewall,' Six Apart's Dash said..."

  • [July 08, 2003] "Vox Populi: Web Services From the Grassroots." By Rich Salz. From O'Reilly (July 08, 2003). "Last month, Sam Ruby threw the blogging world into a tizzy when he created a wiki to serve as the home for a new syndication format and protocol. This month we'll take a look at the project -- the working name is 'Necho' but has been 'Echo' and 'Pie' at various times. We'll use it to motivate a look at tradeoffs in XML and web services design. 'Syndication' is the term used when a site makes an RSS ('Really Simple Syndication') document available at a URL... Interest in RSS has been waxing, perhaps because the commercial possibilities are starting to occur to some folks. I doubt it was altruism that made Ruby's boss assign him to this project full-time, for example. The canonical web services example is a stock quote service, and translating that into an RSS feed that reports price updates is an obvious thing to do. The Necho content element has a type attribute to contain the MIME-compatible content-type. This is brilliant, as it allows Necho to smoothly integrate with work on adding attachments to SOAP. It's also multicultural, allowing the xml:lang attribute to specify the language being used. And, finally, multiple content elements act as a MIME multipart/alternative construct, allowing an RSS reader to find the representation it can best support... Is this technically better than RSS? It clearly is better. The ambiguities are gone, the metadata is more precise, the ability to provide rich and accurate content is now provided, and the use of XML is quite clean. Unlike RSS, it's feasible to define a schema for Necho. DTDs, XML Schema, and Relax NG are all in the works. In other words, validation won't require a special-built validator. News aggregators and other RSS consumers -- if they are written as XML applications -- should have an easier job of presenting more information to their users. Generating a Necho feed does not look to be that much harder than generating an RSS feed, only requiring the tweaking of a few output statements or templates. Creating a Necho-to-RSS stylesheet in XSLT should be fairly straightforward. So from the technical front, it looks like everyone will win. Is it politically and socially better? The jury is still out. Radical format changes rarely win converts... Just because the full web services machinery (WSDL, WXS, all those WS-xxx specs) rides atop SOAP, that doesn't mean that SOAP itself should be avoided. As we'll see next time, using SOAP as the messaging envelope enables all those features but doesn't require them. And along the way, we'll discover where REST becomes less useful..."

  • [July 07, 2003] "RSS Killed the Infoglut Star. At Last, A Way to Manage the Internet Information Overload." By Chad Dickerson. In InfoWorld (July 03, 2003). "Something profound is happening with the delivery of information online with tools that leverage RSS (Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary, depending on whom you ask)... When I started using an RSS newsreader daily, some remarkable things happened that I didn't necessarily expect: I began to spend almost no time surfing to keep up with current technology information, and I was suddenly able to manage a large body of incoming information with incredible efficiency. My newsreader has become so integral that it's now sitting in my Windows startup folder along with my e-mail client and contact manager. I'm humming 'RSS Killed the Infoglut Star' when I fire up my RSS newsreader in the morning. My enthusiasm for RSS is relatively new. As I write this, the Echo project is developing; regardless of what happens there, I hope the spirit of simplicity behind RSS survives. After working with RSS as a syndication format in past jobs at media companies, I finally jumped in with both feet as an RSS consumer a few months ago, and I've never looked back. On a very simple level, leveraging RSS means getting the information I want when I want it, and even the stuff I'm not interested in can be dispensed in record time. In an age of spam and cold calls, this is just what the information-overload doctor ordered. After working with RSS as a syndication format in past jobs at media companies, I finally jumped in with both feet as an RSS consumer a few months ago, and I've never looked back. When I started using an RSS newsreader daily, some remarkable things happened that I didn't necessarily expect: I began to spend almost no time surfing to keep up with current technology information, and I was suddenly able to manage a large body of incoming information with incredible efficiency... RSS feeds are really just simple XML documents, but this superficial simplicity can make some think that RSS can't possibly be that useful. One description I've heard hits the nail on the head: RSS newsreaders are TiVos for the Web..."

  • [June 30, 2003] "How (Not) to Grow a Technology." By Kendall Grant Clark. From (June 25, 2003). ['Kendall Clark ponders how to grow a technology, especially an XML one. Do you opt for death-by-committee, or obscurity via community chaos? Into this discussion, Kendall covers the new community initiative afoot to throw away the troubled RSS specifications and reinvent one which has true consensus.'] "RSS -- in its endless variations and versions, both preceding and following version 1.0 -- has been the subject of interminable and painfully annoying debates and shouting matches, during which various rhetorical combatants have (or have not, depending on who you believe) muttered death threats. In other words, 'the market' can be a very hostile, ugly, and cruel way to do anything, much less to evolve a technology or grow a technology standard. [Roger] Costello's choice of RSS 1.0 has been made even more interesting by what appears to be yet another attempt by 'the market' to throw out RSS, and its bathwater, and to start over afresh and anew. Though the new effort doesn't yet, as of this writing, have an official name, I'm putting my money on 'Echo'. 'The market' has a curious habit of starting over from scratch from time to time, and the only consolation that it offers to people who've built various kinds of cottage industry around the 'old way of doing things' -- industries which are toppled by the sudden urge to create de novo -- is that maybe the new way will be better. But probably it will just be different. Echo seems likely to be a mixture of both the 'just different' and the 'better', with a few dashes of vendor-imposed but politically necessary perversity thrown in for good measure... Whatever else can be said about RSS, in which ever version you care about or hate most, it's been for the most part a very grassroots effort. And that's been one of the things about RSS which I liked the most. I'm not alone in being attracted to RSS because of its grassroots character... Except for the earliest Netscape versions, RSS hasn't been something that the Really Big tech companies cared about or even noticed -- and, let's face it, despite apperances to the contrary, in the early days of the Web, most of us didn't even think of Netscape as a corporation at all. Userland Software has been involved in RSS from early days, but Userland is a tiny speck compared to corporate behemoths like Microsoft, IBM, Sun. But with the 'rise of weblogs' (please, don't get me started), together with the relatively sudden appearance and then flourishing of RSS newsreaders as HTML browser semi-competitors (or competing supplements, if you prefer), suddenly there are all sorts of noises and rumblings from the Really Bigs that RSS has been noticed. And that can't be a very good thing in the long term for most of the toolmakers and cottage builders who cluster around RSS. It certainly isn't a good thing for lookers-on and users, like me, who like RSS because it is a grassroots affair..." On the RSS/Echo topic, see references in Tim Bray's ongoing blog entry "I Like Pie."

  • [May 05, 2003] "RSS Pushes Old Concept With New Technology." By Richard Karpinski. In BtoB-Online (May 05, 2003). "Savvy marketers are beginning to tap a promising new one-to-one channel called RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, depending on whom you ask). RSS is beginning to draw the attention of the b-to-b marketing community. What is RSS? It is an XML-formatted version of Web site content to which readers 'subscribe,' i.e., opt-in. The subscription sends the content to a desktop, where it is viewed with a new class of software application called a news aggregator. The aggregator lets the reader assemble the content into a personalized, multisource news feed. Typically, an RSS 'feed' consists of a headline, brief summary and a link that, when clicked, brings the reader to the content -- say a news story or a press release -- in its full, HTML-formatted glory. In many ways, RSS fulfills the promise of push by providing content creators with an affordable way to syndicate their data to readers -- recipients who can be current customers or potential prospects. Thousands of RSS feeds are already available, many created from content derived from increasingly viewed Weblogs. But recently, corporate giants have begun distributing content via RSS as well, putting this new technology more squarely in the b-to-b marketing mainstream. Some of the big names now using RSS include Apple Computer Inc., Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and IBM Corp., as well as b-to-b publishers such as Fawcette Technical Publications, IDG and Ziff Davis Media Inc... Companies such as Apple and Cisco have begun to use RSS to deliver corporate press releases, and publications like eWeek and InfoWorld are offering RSS feeds of their content from their home pages..."

  • [May 01, 2003] "RSS on the Client." By John E. Simpson. From (April 30, 2003). ['RSS is a simple format for syndicating web site metadata continues in its widespread adoption. This week John Simpson reviews which client-side applications are available for viewing RSS files.'] "... RSS (an acronym for RDF Site Summary) is just another XML vocabulary. An RSS feed is simply an XML document conforming to the rules of that vocabulary and served up to some client program. For example, an RSS document has a root rss element, which has numerous subordinate elements, all of which may have various attributes. If you're interested in the details of the RSS vocabulary, an excellent introduction is Mark Pilgrim's feature of a few months ago; Part 1 is especially helpful for newcomers and Part 2 deals primarily with using Python to process RSS feeds... simply aiming your Web browser at an RSS feed is not the way to go. Browsers, even the late-model ones which tout their support for XML, can't handle everything delivered to them. They can handle 'XML' all right, using one-size-fits-all rules of thumb (like elements nested within other elements, and so on); it's the specific vocabularies, like RSS, which they don't know enough about to process in any meaningful way. So when you open an RSS document, your browser treats it the same way it does any other XML document: dumps the raw source to your screen. For now, the solution is to acquire a separate client program, called an RSS aggregator, RSS client, or RSS reader, to collect and process your feeds. RSS reading features are sometimes bundled into Usenet newsreader programs. While the underlying technology is not the same, from a user's perspective 'subscribing' to an RSS feed feels an awful lot like 'subscribing' to a newsgroup..."

  • [April 22, 2003] "RSS Needs Fixing." By Tim Bray. In ongoing (April 22, 2003). "There are two big problems with RSS that aren't going away and are just going to have to be fixed to avoid a train-wreck, given the way the RSS thing is taking off. They are first, what can go in a "description" element, and second, the issue of relative URIs... This essay tries to illustrate the problems it talks about. In its RSS description, it tries to mention the <description> tag, with the angle brackets visible, and it contains a relative reference to another ongoing article; one or both of these may have failed in your aggregator... RSS is no longer a science experiment, it's becoming an important part of the infrastructure, which means that a lot of programmmers are going to get the assignment of generating and parsing it, and they need better instructions."

  • [April 18, 2003] "RSS 2.0." By Mark Nottingham [WWW]. IETF Network Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-nottingham-rss2-00'. April 9, 2003, expires October 8, 2003. "This specification documents version 2.0 of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), an XML-based format for syndicating Web content and metadata. This specification provides stable documentation for the RSS 2.0 format [RSS 2.0] as described by Dave Winer of UserLand Software, to assist in implementation. As such, RSS documents conformant with this specification should be conformant with that specification, and vice versa. Note: This Internet-Draft is being made available only to allow the community to ascertain whether the specification described herein is true to the original RSS 2.0 specification. Comments should be directed to the RSS2 Support mailing list. RSS documents MUST be conformant to the XML 1.0 specification. There is explicitly no namespace URI associated with the elements described in this document... The root (top-level) element of an RSS document MUST be the rss element. It has one mandatory attribute, version, which indicates the version of RSS which the document conforms to. Documents conformant to this specification MUST have a version attribute of '2.0'. The rss element MUST contain a channel element... The channel element contains metadata about the RSS channel, as well as the items which comprise it..." See the note "Formal Specification of RSS 2.0," by Mark Nottingham. [cache]

  • [April 15, 2003] "Processing RSS." By Ivelin Ivanov. From (April 09, 2003). ['Ivelin Ivanov makes light work of processing RSS files with XQuery. This is the first installment of a new regular column on, Practical XQuery. Ivelin Ivanov and Per Bothner will be publishing tips on the use of the XQuery language, as well as self-contained example applications.'] "The goal of this article is to demonstrate the use of XQuery to accomplish a routine, yet interesting task; in particular, to render an HTML page that merges RSS news feeds from two different weblogs. RSS has earned its popularity by allowing people to easily share news among and between web sites. And for almost any programming language used on the Web, there is a good selection of libraries for consuming RSS... Readers will benefit from a basic knowledge of the XQuery language; Per Bothner has written an informal introduction to XQuery. Even though XQuery started as an XML-based version of SQL, the language has a very broad application on the Web. In what follows, I will show that XQuery allows RSS feeds to be consumed and processed easily. In fact, we will see that it isn't necessary to use a specialized library. We will utilize only functions of the core language... The fact that XQuery recognizes XML nodes as first-class language constructs, combined with the familiar C-like language syntax, makes it an attractive tool for the problems it was built to solve. It must be noted that although it has a for loop structure, XQuery is a purely functional language. In short, this means that XQuery functions always return the same values given the same arguments. This is an important property of the language, which allows advanced compilation optimizations not possible for C or Java. In the past decade, functional language compilers have shown significant advantages over imperative language compilers. Their unconventional syntax and the inertia of imperative languages keep them under the radar of mainstream development. However, the XQuery team seems to recognize these weaknesses and is making an attempt to overcome them..."

  • [March 06, 2003] "Building a Desktop News Aggregator." By Dare Obasanjo (Microsoft Corporation). From Microsoft MSDN Library (February 26, 2003). ['Dare Obasanjo builds a C# application that retrieves and displays news feeds from various Web sites. The application utilizes XPath, XSLT, XML Schema, the DOM, and XML Serialization in the .NET Framework.'] "Like most people who spend time online, I have a number of Web sites I read on a daily basis. I recently noticed that I was checking an average of five to ten Web sites every other hour when I wanted to see if there were any new articles or updates to the content on a site. This prompted me to investigate the likelihood of creating a desktop application that would do all the legwork for me and alert me when new content appeared on my favorite Web sites. My investigations led to my discovery of RSS and the creation of my desktop news aggregator, RSS Bandit... RSS news aggregators are desktop or Web applications that are used to retrieve and display RSS feeds from various news sources. Examples of RSS news aggregators include NewzCrawler, NewsGator, and AmphetaDesk. I tried a few RSS news aggregators but didn't find one with the right mix of features and functionality for my tastes. Therefore, I decided to write one myself that met my needs..."

  • [March 03, 2003] "Inside the RSS Validator." By Mark Pilgrim. From (February 26, 2003). ['Mark Pilgrim explains the RSS validator and its implementation.] "In previous columns, I have introduced RSS and explored options for consuming it. Now we turn to the production side. Last month I stirred up a small controversy by suggesting that RSS consumers should go out of their way to consume as many feeds as possible, even ones which are not well-formed. This month I hope it will be somewhat less controversial to say that RSS producers should go out of their way to produce feeds that conform to specifications as well as possible. Rule Zero is that all RSS feeds must be well-formed XML... Not all RSS consumers use the advanced techniques we discussed last month; many can only parse RSS feeds that are well-formed XML. There are many tools for producing XML; you should use one of them as opposed to, say, using string concatenation and a non-XML-aware templating system and hoping for the best... there are a number of domain-specific rules and best practices for RSS feeds. These are fairly well encapsulated in the free online RSS validator. Point the validator at your RSS feed and follow its instructions if it finds any errors or warnings. It will catch common XML errors such as unescaped ampersands and high-bit characters; domain-specific errors such as missing required elements; and more subtle errors such as improper language codes in the <language> element... How the validator works internally is actually fairly interesting -- much more interesting than the arcane rules of RSS validity -- and that's where I'd like to focus. The validator is written in Python, and it is available under a liberal open source license, so you can download the complete source code..." See also Content Syndication with RSS, by Ben Hammersley.

  • [January 23, 2003] "Parsing RSS At All Costs." By Mark Pilgrim. From January 22, 2003. ['Mark Pilgrim explains how to handle even ill-formed RSS feeds. He provides a sample parse-at-all-costs RSS parser.'] "RSS is an XML-based format for syndicating news and news-like sites. XML was chosen, among other reasons, to make it easier to parse with off-the-shelf XML tools. Unfortunately in the past few years, as RSS has gained popularity, the quality of RSS feeds has dropped. There are now dozens of versions of hundreds of tools producing RSS feeds. Many have bugs. Few build RSS feeds using XML libraries; most treat it as text, by piecing the feed together with string concatenation, maybe (or maybe not) applying a few manually coded escaping rules, and hoping for the best. On average, at any given time, about 10% of all RSS feeds are not well-formed XML. Some errors are systemic, due to bugs in publishing software. It took Movable Type a year to properly escape ampersands and entities, and most users are still using old versions or new versions with old buggy templates. Other errors are transient, due to rough edges in authored content that the publishing tools are unable or unwilling to fix on the fly. As I write this, the Scripting News site's RSS has an illegal high-bit character, a curly apostrophe. Probably just a cut-and-paste error -- I've done the same thing myself many times -- but I don't know of any publishing tool that corrects it on the fly, and that one bad character is enough to trip up any XML parser... In next month's column I'll examine some other RSS validity issues. Valid RSS is more than just well-formed XML. Just because there's no DTD or schema doesn't mean it can't be validated in other ways. We'll discuss the inner workings of one such RSS validator..."

  • [January 02, 2003] "Never Mind the Namespaces: An XSLT RSS Client." By Bob DuCharme. From January 02, 2003. "RSS is an XML-based format for summarizing and providing links to news stories. If you collect RSS feed URIs from your favorite news sites, you can easily build dynamic, customized collections of news stories. In a recent article Mark Pilgrim explained the history and formats used for RSS. He also showed a simple Python program that can read RSS files conforming to the three RSS formats still in popular use: 0.91, 1.0, and 2.0. While reading Mark's article I couldn't help but think that it would be really easy to do in XSLT. Easy, that is, if you're familiar with the XPath local-name() function. In a past column I showed how this function retrieves the part of an element name that identifies it within its namespace... I rather take the stylesheet a few steps further to create a standalone news aggregator that requires no special software other than a web browser and an XSLT processor. Three basic XSLT techniques make this possible: (1) Most XSLT processors can read remote documents using XSLT's document() function; our stylesheet will use it to retrieve the news feeds from their servers; (2) Converting the RSS elements and attributes to HTML for display by the browser; (3) Using the local-name()function to create template rules that don't care about the namespace of RSS elements such as channel, item, and link. There are plenty of RSS-based news aggregating clients around: Amphetadesk, NewzCrawler, NetNewsWire, among many others. The advantage of using one written in XSLT means that you don't have to install new software on your machine or login to a server-based aggregator that needs to look up a list of your favorite feeds. You can also more easily integrate the XSLT-based one into other applications -- for example, to add customized news feeds to your company's intranet site without relying on any software more expensive or exotic than an XSLT processor... On December 31st [2002] I used Saxon to apply this stylesheet to the RSSChannels document shown above and created an HTML result version; don't forget to try the mouseOvers... If I applied the same stylesheet to the same XML document at a later date, the result would be different, with more up-to-date news. That's the beauty of RSS..."

  • [December 26, 2002] "What is RSS?" By Mark Pilgrim. From December 18, 2002. ['The aim of "Dive into XML" is to enable programmers to get started working, and having fun, with various areas of XML. In his inaugural column Mark turns his attention to RSS, a metadata syndication format. He presents guidelines and code to get you started working with this widespread XML application.'] "RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. But it's not just for news. Pretty much anything that can be broken down into discrete items can be syndicated via RSS: the 'recent changes' page of a wiki, a changelog of CVS checkins, even the revision history of a book. Once information about each item is in RSS format, an RSS-aware program can check the feed for changes and react to the changes in an appropriate way. RSS-aware programs called news aggregators are popular in the weblogging community. Many weblogs make content available in RSS. A news aggregator can help you keep up with all your favorite weblogs by checking their RSS feeds and displaying new items from each of them... But coders beware. The name 'RSS' is an umbrella term for a format that spans several different versions of at least two different (but parallel) formats. The original RSS, version 0.90, was designed by Netscape as a format for building portals of headlines to mainstream news sites. It was deemed overly complex for its goals; a simpler version, 0.91, was proposed and subsequently dropped when Netscape lost interest in the portal-making business. But 0.91 was picked up by another vendor, UserLand Software, which intended to use it as the basis of its weblogging products and other web-based writing software. In the meantime, a third, non-commercial group split off and designed a new format based on what they perceived as the original guiding principles of RSS 0.90 (before it got simplified into 0.91). This format, which is based on RDF, is called RSS 1.0. But UserLand was not involved in designing this new format, and, as an advocate of simplifying 0.90, it was not happy when RSS 1.0 was announced. Instead of accepting RSS 1.0, UserLand continued to evolve the 0.9x branch, through versions 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, and finally 2.0. What a mess... [There are seven] different formats, all called 'RSS'. As a coder of RSS-aware programs, you'll need to be liberal enough to handle all the variations. But as a content producer who wants to make your content available via syndication, which format should you choose?..." See the book Content Syndication with RSS, by Ben Hammersley (ISBN: 0-596-00383-8).

  • [December 07, 2002] "The Python Web Services Developer: RSS for Python. Content Syndication for the Web." By Mike Olson and Uche Ogbuji (Principal Consultants, Fourthought, Inc). From IBM developerWorks, Web services. November 2002. ['RSS is one of the most successful XML services ever. Despite its chaotic roots, it has become the community standard for exchanging content information across Web sites. Python is an excellent tool for RSS processing, and Mike Olson and Uche Ogbuji introduce a couple of modules available for this purpose.'] "RSS is an abbreviation with several expansions: 'RDF Site Summary,' 'Really Simple Syndication,' 'Rich Site Summary,' and perhaps others. Behind this confusion of names is an astonishing amount of politics for such a mundane technological area. RSS is a simple XML format for distributing summaries of content on Web sites. It can be used to share all sorts of information including, but not limited to, news flashes, Web site updates, event calendars, software updates, featured content collections, and items on Web-based auctions... RSS was created by Netscape in 1999 to allow content to be gathered from many sources into the Netcenter portal (which is now defunct). The UserLand community of Web enthusiasts became early supporters of RSS, and it soon became a very popular format. The popularity led to strains over how to improve RSS to make it even more broadly useful. This strain led to a fork in RSS development. One group chose an approach based on RDF, in order to take advantage of the great number of RDF tools and modules, and another chose a more stripped-down approach. The former is called RSS 1.0, and the latter RSS 0.91. Just last month the battle flared up again with a new version of the non-RDF variant of RSS, which its creators are calling 'RSS 2.0.' RSS 0.91 and 1.0 are very popular, and used in numerous portals and Web logs. In fact, the blogging community is a great user of RSS, and RSS lies behind some of the most impressive networks of XML exchange in existence. These networks have grown organically, and are really the most successful networks of XML services in existence. RSS is a XML service by virtue of being an exchange of XML information over an Internet protocol (the vast majority of RSS exchange is simple HTTP GET of RSS documents). In this article, we introduce just a few of the many Python tools available for working with RSS. We don't provide a technical introduction to RSS, because you can find this in so many other articles. We recommend first that you gain a basic familiarity with RSS, and that you understand XML. Understanding RDF is not required..."

  • [November 25, 2002] "What is an RSS Channel, Anyway?" By Mark Nottingham. Reference posted to the RSS-DEV Mailing List. November 25, 2002. [A working document that provides an 'examination of the uses of RSS channels, to better understand their nature and to move towards a rigerous definition of them.'] "... The headline syndication view of RSS is straightforward; a channel is a reverse-chronological sorted list of links to stories, along with metadata for each one indicating the title and sometimes a description. This is the model that most developers and users of RSS have in mind to this day, and it is a useful one. However, a few people quickly noticed that it was easy to extend RSS to say other things about those links; in fact, you could say almost anything just by adding an element as a child of <item>. This metadata summary view of RSS ('Rich Site Summary' or 'RDF Site Summary') treated the channel as a container for any kind of statement - from market data to mp3 playlists to event calendars or even order systems - as long as what they were talking about could be arranged in a list. The modularity of RSS1.0 enables its use in a variety of contexts, from Wall Street to Open Source software distribution. Last but not least, Weblogs have been using RSS for something completely different - content syndication. Instead of just saying things about the channels' links, they reproduce the content at the other end, so that a Web resource can be replicated in whole in an aggregator or on another site. All of these views of RSS use the channel to group items together. None of them, however, establish what a channel actually is. In other words, although items are somewhat well-understood (having identifiers and metadata associated with them), the relationships between the items, in the context of a channel, hasn't been explored so much as it has been assumed..." [Note from the 2002-11-25 post: "The discussion on [RSS] 'items' is very timely; for some time I've been trying to figure out what a channel is, and have spent a little time recently writing it down. I'm not done yet, but the document captures the current state of my thinking and discussions I've had... Comments welcome..."]

  • [November 21, 2002] "Raising the Bar on RSS Feed Quality." By Timothy Appnel. From the O'Reilly Web Services DevCenter. November 19, 2002. "RSS is an XML-based syntax for facilitating the exchange of information in a lightweight fashion through the distribution (or feeding) of resources. Publishers can use this versatile and increasingly essential format to assist end users in tracking and consuming content. Netscape originally developed the format but lost interest and eventually abandoned work on it. This created an identity crisis that devolved into varying interruptions, with dispute over even the meaning of the RSS acronym, RDF Site Summary or Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. But as divergent efforts work to develop RSS, one result has been a diminished overall quality in RSS feeds. In this article, I provide an overview of RSS's core syntax, then I examine the poor state of RSS feed quality and provide some recommendations for authoring more useful and effective feeds. This examination is not a review of the RSS specification, nor is it an emphatic plea for strict compliance. Instead, this article provides an approach to authoring RSS feeds that is neutral, practical, and conservative. RSS feeds are simply too useful a mechanism for information exchange services. It is imperative that we improve their effectiveness..."

  • [August 26, 2002] "Registering and Discovering RSS Feeds in UDDI." By Karsten Januszewski (Microsoft Corporation). Microsoft White paper at GotDotNet. "The use of Universal, Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) to catalog and discover Rich Site Summary (RSS) news feeds is a logical application of UDDI in its mission of description and discovery of Web services. RSS is one of the most frequently used applications of XML on the Web today. It provides a standard way for organizations and individuals to distribute news on the Internet. One question that arises with RSS is the ability to discover the location of different RSS Feeds. The question of discovery and aggregation of RSS Feeds has the following requirements: (1) Programmatically publish an RSS Feed; (2) Associate metadata (classification, geography, ownership, etc.) with that RSS Feed in an extensible manner; (3) Query for RSS Feeds based on a number of parameters; (4) Perform requirements 1, 2, and 3 in an interoperable, programming language independent way. It is in meeting these requirements that UDDI serves as a solution. UDDI provides a mechanism to register RSS Feeds in a UDDI registry. UDDI has a flexible classification system that can be employed to attribute those feeds with a range of different metadata in an extensible way. Once RSS Feeds are registered in UDDI, users can query for those feeds deterministically across different metadata. Client RSS readers can query UDDI and aggregate different RSS Feeds based on classification information. And, lastly, UDDI is an interoperable, programming language independent service with a comprehensive XML SOAP API for both publication and inquiry." From the announcement: "... a white paper and code sample on registering RSS. Feeds in UDDI has been published. The paper walks through publishing and discovering RSS Feeds in UDDI, including a mapping between the two data models, the creation of well-known RSS tModels, and recommendations on classification. The code sample provides a sample .NET publication/aggregation tool based on the practice in the paper. An installable .msi file is provided, as is the source code for the C# WinForm. The application is meant only as a sample and is not optimized for usage. (There is no caching of feeds, for example, in the sample application.) Incidentally, a feed one might discover in UDDI according to the practice outlined in the paper is a web log I am maintaining on UDDI -- for the location of the feed, query UDDI based on the paper... The most difficult part of this exercise was modeling RSS version in UDDI. The paper opts for a particular solution; feedback and comments on the solution are welcomed..."

  • [July 03, 2002] "XML Watch: Finding Friends With XML and RDF. The Friend-of-a-Friend vocabulary can make it easier to manage online communities." By Edd Dumbill (Editor and publisher, From IBM developerWorks, XML Zone. June 2002. ['Edd Dumbill explores an XML and RDF application known as Friend-of-a-Friend (FOAF). FOAF allows the expression of personal information and relationships, and is a useful building block for creating information systems that support online communities. Code samples demonstrate the basics.'] "RSS creates a predictable way for scraps of content to be aggregated, sequenced, and searched. Sites like Syndic8 and Meerkat enable you to keep track of who's saying what about your topic -- or person -- of interest. RSS is also pretty simple, and you can often find it used in examples in XML tutorial material. Part of its appeal is the way you can connect your content to the larger Web, enabling others to find you more easily... FOAF is simply an RDF vocabulary. Its typical use is akin to that of RSS: You create one or more FOAF files on your Web server and share the URLs so software can use the information inside the file. Like creating your own Web pages, the creation of your FOAF data is decentralized and within your control. An example application that uses these files might be a community directory where members maintain their own records. However, as with RSS, the really interesting parts of FOAF come into play when the data is aggregated and can then be explored and cross-linked. FOAF has the potential to become an important tool in managing communities. In addition to providing simple directory services, you could use information from FOAF in many ways. For example: (1) Augment e-mail filtering by prioritizing mails from trusted colleagues; (2) Provide assistance to new entrants in a community; (3) Locate people with interests similar to yours. The rest of this article describes FOAF's basic features and gives some pointers to current implementations and future considerations..."

  • [March 15, 2002] "RSS Beta Validator Now Available." Posting from Leigh Dodds to '' mailing list. "I've just uploaded a beta of the revised RSS validator: There's a separate form for using the beta. This revised version adds support for the three core modules (DC, Content and Syndication) and provisional support for the proposed modules. Only streaming and taxonomy are not currently supported. I'm hoping to add support for the remaining modules next week. I also fixed up a couple of typos/bugs here and there. The core Schematron schema has actually been heavily reworked and now relies on abstract rules to perform much of the validation -- which is in fact common to many elements. You can grab a beta copy of the original Schematron schemas off of the validator page. Feedback welcomed on or off list..." Documentation: 'Experimental Online RSS 1.0 Validator': "This prototype is based around a Schematron schema for validating RSS 1.0. The schema is used to generate an XSLT stylesheet which performs the actual validation. In this version of the validator the validator produces a simple HTML report listing the errors, as well as copy of the original RSS 1.0 file. This prototype is not meant for production use as yet [2002-03-15], as it's a prototype for demonstration and testing purposes. The validator currently does not generate as nicely formatted a report as I would wish. This is due to limitations in the XSLT processor used by the W3C service. The prototype uses a slightly tweaked version of sch-report2.xsl which generates a tweaked validator..." See also "RSS Validator: A Schematron Schema for RSS."

  • W3C Site Summaries in XHTML. "This is a metadata profile in the sense of section 6.12 Link types of the HTML 4.0 specification (the Grounding link relationships and classes section in HyperRDF explains in more detail)... If you refer to this profile in your document, you claim that your page is intended to serve as a channel in the RSS sense..."

  • [October 23, 2001] "The application/rss+xml Media Type." By Mark Nottingham (Burlingame, CA). IETF Network Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-nottingham-rss-media-type-00'. Date: October 23, 2001. Expires: April 23, 2002. ['This document specifies the Media Type for the RSS format. RSS allows lists of information to be exchanged in an XML-based format.'] "RSS is a lightweight, multipurpose, extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application. RSS is currently used for a number of applications, including news and other headline syndication, weblog syndication, and the propogation of software update lists. It is generally used for any situation when a machine-readable list of textual items and/or metadata about them needs to be distributed. There are a number of revisions [.9, .91, .92, 1.0] of the RSS format defined, many of which are actively used. This memo defines a media type, application/rss+xml for all versions of RSS..." Note: Mark Nottingham also created xpath2rss [XPath-based HTML-to-RSS scraper] and MoinRSS [extension to MoinMoin to allow it to produce an RSS v1.0 feed] for RSS news feed creation. [cache]

  • [March 05, 2002] "RSS Tools and Stuff." By Mark Gibbs. In Network World Fusion (March 04, 2002). "In last week's Gearhead we discussed a standard for news syndication called Rich Site Summary. To recap, RSS lets Internet sites with something to say make their content findable through an XML-formatted file that summarizes what is available and where it is. These summaries are called RSS feeds. Through the good offices of our esteemed Online Executive Editor Adam Gaffin, an RSS feed for Network World's NWFusion Web site is available... A particularly interesting aspect of this feed is the DIY part: The RSS data is created on-the-fly from the output of the search engine used by the site, and you can embed whatever search terms you want in the RSS URL you request, giving you the ability to get just the news you want. Cool... if you want to use RSS feeds, you're going to need a tool for the heavy lifting. May we suggest Headline Viewer (eight gearteeth out of 10) from Vertex Development? Headline Viewer is reasonably functional in that it crashes only occasionally. On the other hand, as it is currently uncharged for, we can't complain. We write "uncharged for," because the software is not actually freeware nor is it commercial yet - Vertex plans to charge for the program when it reaches Version 1.0, and it is currently stalled out at Version 0.97 (Version 1.0 was scheduled for last year but . . . ). Headline Viewer polls a list of publishers for RSS files at intervals from one and 24 hours. As each RSS file is retrieved the headlines are added to a list that is displayed for the currently selected publisher. Clicking on an item will take you to the URL to which the headline refers. Headline Viewer can load lists of publishers from a selection of built-in aggregators that includes Userland, XMLTree, GrokSoup and NewsIsFree. You can also define your own publishers..."

  • [February 25, 2002] "All the News That's Fit to RSS." By Mark Gibbs. In Network World (February 15, 2002). "Getting our news fix is tough. We have ongoing quest for new sources of news and better methods of mining those sources. Others obviously must feel the same, as there is now a standard for news syndication called Rich Site Summary (RSS) that has achieved remarkable acceptance (as determined by the number of organizations using it). RSS, also called RDF Site Summary, is an XML-based format that lets Web sites describe and syndicate site content. Actually, according to one of the main culprits in the development of RSS, the infamous Dave Winer of UserLand, 'There is no consensus on what RSS stands for, so it's not an acronym, it's a name.'... RDF stands for Resource Description Framework, a framework for the description and interchange of metadata concerning just about anything that has a uniform resource identifier, or URI... Anyway, in 1999, Netscape released a format for adding news channels to its portal My.Netscape.Com - this was RSS 0.9, which was based on RDF. There followed a reasonably complex history... The complex history has resulted in multiple versions of the standard being deployed. You will find RSS 0.9, 0.91, 0.92, 0.93 and 1.0 in the field (apparently RSS 0.9 and 0.91 are the most popular). Today, the W3C standard is RSS 1.0. So, what does RSS do for news? Well, according to the O'Reilly Network, it is a 'specification used for distributing news, product announcements, discussion threads, and other assorted content as channels.'... you must be wondering how RSS is actually deployed. First, a Web site that wants to distribute its content (that is, be a publisher) creates an RSS specification of what it has to offer. That file is usually located in the root of your Web site but you can put it anywhere you please. Indeed, a single site could have multiple RSS specification scattered throughout its structure. The next step is to register with an RSS directory -- see ASPRSS Directories, UserLand, XMLTree, NewsIsFree and GrokSoup. Note that anyone can publish anything, so you'll find many fabulously self-indulgent Web logs among the more useful news sources. Then again, everyone has to start somewhere with banging the rocks together . . . . Next week, a cool utility for accessing news sources via RSS..."

  • [January 04, 2002] "Doubt Cast Over Web Standard's Ownership." By Margaret Kane. In CNet (January 3, 2002). "A Canadian company is claiming that a popular Web technology infringes on a patent it owns. The technology in question, Resource Description Framework, is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and allows programmers to write software to access Web resources, such as Web page content, music files and digital photos. The RDF standard has been endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium, which evaluates and recommends standards for Web technologies. Vancouver-based UFIL Unified Data Technologies, a private company, claims that it owns U.S. patent 5,684,985, a "method and apparatus utilizing bond identifiers executed upon accessing of an endo-dynamic information node." The patent was awarded in November 1997. UFIL is working with Toronto-based Patent Enforcement and Royalties Ltd. (PEARL) to enforce the claims. According to press releases on PEARL's Web site, the companies believe as many as 45 companies may be infringing on the patents... The patent may also infringe on the RDF Site Summary standard, a way to describe Web content that's written in something other than HTML. RSS lets Web sites exchange information about Web site content and e-commerce data, for instance. RSS was originally developed by Netscape Communications, now owned by AOL Time Warner. Netscape's Mozilla browser uses the technology, as do other programs. Daniel Weitzner, technology and society domain leader at the W3C, said the consortium has not been approached directly regarding the patent issue..." See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)" and "RDF Site Summary (RSS)."

  • [May 05, 2001] "Building a Semantic Web Site." By Eric van der Vlist. From May 02, 2001. ['By simple use of XML vocabularies like XMLNews and RSS, Eric van der Vlist shows how you can build dynamic indexes to web site content.'] "Even though the Semantic Web may yet seem a remote dream, there are already tools one can use to make a tiny step forward by building 'semantic web sites,'" which can be much easier to navigate than ordinary sites. In this article, I will discuss how RSS 1.0 and its taxonomy module can be used as a central format to carry metadata collected in a classical news format, such as XMLNews-Story, to RDF or relational databases and XML Topic Maps. Readers should have basic familiarity with RSS and RDF, and a little topic maps knowledge would also help... I have built XMLfr (, a French site dedicated to and powered by XML, as a showcase for XML technologies and will use it as a real life example throughout this article. XMLfr is a dynamic site, using XML and XSLT, which stores its pages in the XMLNews-Story format. The site structure is described by a set of RSS 1.0 channels, and the semantic information encoded in the rich XMLNews-Story inline markup is converted into RSS 1.0 taxonomy markup. These RSS channels may be consolidated in an RDF database allowing ad hoc semantic queries on the global set of articles. They feed RDBMS tables for online, real-time queries that build a dynamic site index and include navigational information in the XHTML pages sent to the site users. The RSS channels can be transformed into XTM Topic Maps, to be displayed by Topic Maps visualization systems, and be enriched by the statistics extracted from the database in order to propose topic associations..."

  • [May 14, 2001] "The Evolution of RSS." By Andrew King. From May 14, 2001. "We look at how RSS has evolved from its humble beginnings through present day and beyond. We survey all versions of RSS, including a feature comparison, a new RSS usage survey, and format and validation information. We also interview the people and explore the standards behind RSS. Learn how the newest version of RSS will move us towards a more Semantic Web..." See also "Introduction to RSS."

  • [January 12, 2001] "RSS 1.0 and its taxonomy module: bringing metadata back into RSS." By Eric van der Vlist (DYOMEDEA). Presentation slides from the IST Semantic Web Technologies Workshop (Luxembourg, November 22-23, 2000). "RSS ('RDF Site Summary') is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the W3C's RDF Specification and is extensible via XML-namespace and/or RDF based modularization. RSS 0.9 was introduced in 1999 by Netscape and has been one of the first RDF vocabularies to be widely adopted. This format has rapidly given birth to RSS 0.91 introducing many application specific features but losing its RDF nature. RSS 1.0 is a proposal to come back to RSS roots -- by reintroducing RDF -- and to define a namespace based modular structure. The proposed modules include modules to embed metadata using the Dublin Core syntax. Amongst the other points to highlight: the attempt to keep a coherent dual view on the object models for both XML and RDF parsers and an experimental implementation of a taxonomy module assigning RDF resources to DC subjects."

  • RSS 1.0 Modules. "RSS modules are XML-namespace based compartmentalized extensions to RSS ('RDF Site Syndication') 1.0. Namespace-based modularization affords for compartmentalized extensibility, allowing RSS 1.0 to be extended: (a) without need of iterative rewrites of the core specification; (b) without need of consensus on each and every element; (c) without bloating RSS with elements the majority of which won't be used in any particular arena or application; (d) without namespace collisions. The only module that ships 'in the box' with RSS 1.0 is the RSS091 module for sideways compatibility with RSS 0.91. This document serves as a registry for modules discussed on and adopted by the members of the RSS-DEV Mailing List."

  • [November 29, 2000] "RDF: Extending and Querying RSS channels." By Dan Brickley. November 2000. "This document explores some examples based around the idea of extending RSS using RDF-based modularisation, and then querying the resulting data in ways that exploit those extensions. The examples explored here are based on the RSS 1.0 proposal, as refined in release candidate 1.0 on the RSS-DEV WG list. You are are looking at a preliminary draft -- in particular, we have not written schemas for the extension vocabulary used, nor polished the example(s)... RSS is often used to expose a structured view of data from web-sites whose content has some richer consistent structure. For example, RSS channels might represent items from a Job-listing service, online auctions, an aggregation of personal Weblog feeds, or descriptions of houses for sale. In these examples we explore ways of extending RSS to expose more of this structure to RSS aggregation and query services..." As noted in a posting of 2000-11-29, by Dan Brickley: "... a note to encourage implementors interested in the RSS channel/syndication data format to take a look at our release candidate ... While RSS is not a W3C or DCMI effort, it'd be great if folks from the RDF IG and DCMI Architecture lists could take a look. My implementation experience to date leads me to think we've got it just about right. DC-augmented RSS 1.0 can be scraped from XHTML using XSLT, so content producers can avoid the need to author RSS/RDF by hand -- i.e., it can be pretty simple to deploy. RSS 1.0 can nevertheless serve as a transport for richer application specific data structures (e.g., job descriptions, dublin core extensions etc) that can work with more sophisticated query and inference tools from the RDF / Semantic Web community..."

  • [November 20, 2000] "Syndication, Actionable Content, and the Supply Chain." By Bill Trippe and David R. Guenette. In The Gilbane Report on Open Information & Document Systems Volume 8, Number 7 (August/September 2000). "It has been well over a year since we have had anything to say about syndication beyond reporting a few news items. Like Digital Rights Management (DRM - our topic last month), syndication over the Internet has had trouble getting any serious traction in the market. But, while significant technical and user-interface challenges have hindered the adoption of DRM, the problem with syndication has had more to do with either a lack of imagination (in many cases) or with a more pressing need to get basic content management capabilities in place (in most cases). It is also true that 'syndication' still suggests newspaper columns more than the Internet, Java Beans, or metadata to most people. This is changing. More and more we are seeing business managers thinking of all kinds of enhanced business models or new business opportunities that are, in fact, straightforward syndication applications, although they might not think of them that way. We think 'syndication' is a useful term -- it refers to a well known model, and has a simple clarity all too often lacking in marketing or IT-speak (equally exasperating languages!). This month Bill and David team up to provide a simple introduction to syndication and to explain why it is central to a wide variety of applications in both B2B and B2C environments. Syndication is surely a topic we will be coming back to. There are many questions about proposed syndication standards and where syndication functionality best fits in architectures. For example, should syndication be considered a content management function? Or is that too limiting? [...] Both ICE and RSS use XML, so the syndicated content is at least well-formed, self-describing data. As such, both formats give implementers a clear target. They know what's coming in, how much is there, and what it will look like. Even with the recent extensions to ICE, and despite some complaints that ICE is complex, parsing ICE data is not a massive undertaking. (The ICE authoring group recently developed an ICE 'cookbook' breaking down the tasks, and they will soon be providing an open source reference implementation.) And RSS is even simpler, easily handled with tools like perl or JavaScript. This leaves implementers free to spend their time on other problems, opening up the possibilities to bring streaming media, business logic, and application integration into the mix. One of ICE's oft-cited weaknesses, interestingly, may end up being its strength in this regard. As specified, the ICE container can include any kind of data -- a perceived problem for some. But this also means implementers can put just about anything into the ICE container. In addition to the syndicated content, the container could include messages for other receiving systems, such as back office applications, ERP systems, and more... Syndication is clearly something to pay attention to. Whether you completely buy Werbach's assessment, syndication is indeed a compelling new model for business. It applies to companies in all markets, making all kinds of products. And if it doesn't apply to all of your business, it applies to a good percentage of it. Business managers and IT should collaborate on infrastructure and application requirements. Collaboration is especially critical when 'content' includes code and application services. ICE, RSS or other industry XML DTDs should be used if they work for your needs, otherwise build your own. But keep it a simple XML application -- this is not an overly complex project. The ICE Cookbook could be a good starting point for your IT organization. They can prototype applications quickly, and begin working with deployed XML shortly thereafter. Use your imagination about possible new ways to improve supply chain service and efficiency and new business models for B2B and B2C environments. Imagine the idea five years ago of for ordering airplane parts. It would have sounded preposterous, and now here it is. Expect to see 'syndication' mature to buzzword status, but don't let that blind you to the possibilities. The idea of syndication as the creation and distribution of distinct products may simply reflect an incomplete conceptual transition from print to digital. Yes, electronic content may be easily searched, accessed across networks, updated as needed, controlled for security and access, and otherwise be more efficient and useful and less costly than older print models of supplying information. But efforts to deliver actionable content from its various sources to partner enterprises within the supply chain holds greater promise yet for syndication."

  • [December 15, 2000] "Tools Update: RSSApplet and Xparse-J." By Michael Classen. From Exploring XML Column (December 15, 2000). "Webmasters need tools for many technologies, and XML is no exception. The venerable RSSViewerApplet had a few problems and limitations that have been removed in the newly released version 1.2. First and foremost there is better compatibility with the RSS 0.91 version upgrade from 0.9: The top level element in the RSS file can now also be <rss version="0.91"> instead of <rdf:RDF rdf:xmlns="..." xmlns="..."> Optional elements are really optional now. A number of bugs were related to omitting optional elements in the RSS file. Improved error handling and more useful error messages... RSSApplet can be downloaded in both source and binary form."

  • [November 29, 2000] "An introduction to RSS news feeds. Using open formats for content syndication." By James Lewin (President, The Lewin Group). From IBM developerWorks, Web architecture library. November 2000' ['RDF Site Summary (RSS) is catching on as one of the most widely used XML formats on the Web. Find out how to create and use RSS files and learn what they can do for you. See why companies like Netscape, Userland, and Moreover use RSS to distribute and syndicate article summaries and headlines. This article includes sample code that demonstrates elements of an RSS file, plus a Perl example using the module XML::RSS.'] "RDF Site Summary (RSS) files, based on XML, provide an open method of syndicating and aggregating Web content. Using RSS files, you can create a data feed that supplies headlines, links, and article summaries from your Web site. These files describe a channel of information that can include a logo, a site link, an input box, and multiple "news items." Other sites can incorporate your information into their pages automatically. You can also use RSS feeds from other sites to provide your site with current news headlines. These techniques let you draw more visitors to your site and also provide them with up-to-date information. The RSS format originated with the sites My Netscape and My UserLand, both of which aggregate content derived from XML news feeds. Because it's one of the simplest XML applications, RSS found favor with many developers who need to perform similar tasks. Users include Moreover, Meerkat, UserLand, and XML Tree. This article looks at the RSS format and examines some open source Perl modules that will allow you to work with RSS files easily." Also in PDF format. [cache]

  • [August 25, 2000] "Writing RSS 1.0." By Rael Dornfest. August 25, 2000. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. ['A step-by-step guide to building an RSS 1.0 document by hand. Updated for RSS 1.0 RC1.] "Much of the reason RSS has been successful stems from the fact that it is simply an XML document. You can write an RSS document by hand. With minimal effort, you can have your content-management system write it for you. Or, if you're a programmer at heart, you can utilize one of the abundant XML libraries available for your programming language of choice. While originally conceived as a portal language, RSS has been repurposed again and again for aggregation, discussion threads, home and job listings, sports scores, and more. It's not just for breakfast -- or headline syndication -- anymore. The recently proposed RSS 1.0 supports extension via XML namespaces. I won't go into detail here on namespaces themselves, but we'll revisit the topic throughout the tutorial...

  • [August 25, 2000] "RSS Delivers the XML Promise." By Peter Wiggin. Published on The O'Reilly Network. August 25, 2000. "Despite a tidal wave of marketing hype, we don't see that many XML-based applications surfacing. A notable exception, however, is RSS -- a simple, yet powerful, web content syndication format. If you're new to XML and would like to get your feet wet, RSS can be a great place to start. I'm going to show you some of the ins and outs of the 0.91 spec, which is a stable, widely accepted version. RSS (RDF [or Rich] Site Summary) is an application of XML (eXtensible Markup Language). In essence, RSS is a file format that uses XML. It can be created easily by hand or by any web content management system. The RSS core file defines a 'channel.' Surrounding this core file are a number of tools, services, and protocols that, while not strictly RSS, extend the power of this simple format to the point where it can compete with many high-priced commercial content-sharing and syndication systems..."

  • [August 16, 2000] XML::RSS 0.9. "I'm pleased to announce the latest version of the XML::RSS Perl module for processing RSS 0.9, 0.91, and 1.0. Depending on the version, RSS stands for RDF Site Summary or Rich Site Summary. It's generally regarded as a light-weight syndication format currently used by many Web sites. The module is available at your local CPAN archive. Alternatively, you can download it from: From Jonathan Eisenzopf, posted to XML-DEV. [cache]

  • [July 31, 2000] "Syndicating XML." By Rael Dornfest. From (July 17, 2000). ['This special issue of focuses on XML's application in syndication, including XML news formats, ICE, and syndicating web site headlines with RSS.'] "RSS is a portal content language. RSS is a lightweight syndication format. A content syndication system. And a metadata syndication framework. In its brief existence, RSS has undergone only one revision, but that hasn't stopped its adoption as one of the most widely used web site XML applications to date. The RSS format's popularity and utility has found it uses in many more scenarios than originally anticipated by its creators. RSS v0.9, standing at that time for "RDF Site Summary," was introduced in 1999 by Netscape as a channel description framework for their My Netscape Network (MNN) portal. While the 'My' concept itself wasn't anything earth-shattering, Netscape's content-gathering mechanism was rather novel. This simple XML application established a mutually beneficial relationship between Netscape, content providers, and end-users. By providing a simple snapshot-in-a-document, web site producers acquired audience through the presence of their content on My Netscape. End-users got one-stop-reading, a centralized location into which content from their favorite web sites flowed, rather than just the sanitized streams of content syndicated into most portals. And My Netscape, of course, acquired content for free."

  • RSS (My Netscape Network) Quick Start [local archive copy]

  • "Becoming an RSS Channel. Challenges, Categories and Suggestions." By Jon Udell. In Byte (September 20, 1999). A couple of weeks ago, I established myself as an RSS (RDF Site Summary) channel. I've written about this process elsewhere. The drill is simple: you write a file in RSS format, post it somewhere Web-accessible, and register it with one or more channel hosts. Notable hosts include Netscape's and UserLand Software's These sites then periodically fetch your channel file, render its XML content as HTML, and rebroadcast it to their visitors. [code examples follow . . .] It's easy to play this game, and a lot of people are starting to play it. There are hundreds of these RSS channels registered at the Netscape and UserLand sites. What's more, it's easy to get into the channel-hosting game."

  • [November 18, 1999] RSS Channel Editor "RSS Channel Editor. RSS Maker has been renamed to the RSS Channel Editor. It includes most of the RSS 0.91 channel elements. It also includes the ability to save the RSS to the Web server's file system instead of prompting one to download it via a Web browser. For more information on installation and configuration, read the README file that's included in the zip file." From Jonathan Eisenzopf.

  • [January 26, 2000] "Making Headlines with RSS." By Jonathan Eisenzopf. In WebTechniques Volume 5, Issue 2 (February 2000), pages 67-71. "Created at Netscape as a way of advertising data channels, Rich Site Summary (RSS) has become a vital syndication tool for such sites as Slashdot, The Motley Fool, Wired News, and Linux Today. Jonathan gets into the details of the standard, its use, and his XML::RSS Perl module... RSS can be used easily as a generic format for exchanging content on the Web [...] but there are other XML formats like XMLNews and ICE that are better suited for handling larger syndication systems." [Note: The February 2000 issue of Web Techniques magazine highlights portals and syndication.]

  • [January 28, 2000] XML::RSS 0.8 announced by Jonathan Eisenzopf. This release fixes a bug that causes problems when working with multiple instances of XML::RSS. See: This Perl module provides a basic framework for creating and maintaining Rich Site Summary (RSS) files. RSS is primarily used for distributing news headlines, commonly called channels, and is used primarily on Netscape's Netcenter,, and Userland Software's /

  • [November 18, 1999] RSS Maker - "RSS Maker is a Web based tool that makes it easy to create and maintain RSS files. RSS is an XML format that many content providers are using to create content channels. RSS is maintained by Netscape and used on Netscape's Netcenter, It is also used on other sites like You can use RSS to display or distribute content on or from your Web site. For more information on the RSS format, please visit From Jonathan Eisenzopf.

  • [November 18, 1999] Tutorial: RSS News Feeds with XML::RSS

  • "The Scoop." Jon Udell, on WebBuilder.

  • "A Bright Future for Syndication." Dave Winer on DaveNet.

  • [October 04, 1999] A posting from Jonathan Eisenzopf announced a version 0.6 release of the Perl module for Rich Site Summary ('RSS'). The XML::RSS Perl module "provides a basic framework for creating and maintaining Rich Site Summary (RSS) files. RSS is primarily used for distributing news headlines, commonly called channels, and is used primarily on Netscape's Netcenter and by Userland Software. This release fixes a a number of bugs thanks mostly to Chris Nador's efforts; it is an alpha release because the API has not been finalized."

  • "RSS News Feeds with XML::RSS" explains "how to add free news headlines to your Web site from any site that supports Netscape's Rich Site Summary (RSS) format... make your site stickier than a roach motel. RSS is an Uber-cool XML format for exchanging meta-info for stuff like press releases, news...The Rich Site Summary (RSS) format, previously known as the RDF Site Summary, has quietly become the dominant format for distributing news headlines on the Web."

  • RSSMaker - "RSSMaker makes RSS files. The program visits these sites every couple of hours and sucks down the latest headlines and spits out an RSS file for your viewing pleasure. It can also simply copy RSS files from other sites..."

  • [October 04, 1999] " Community Portal Adds Fine Grained Access Control And XML Based Syndication. Community Portal Adds Fine Grained Access Control and Enables XML Based Syndication for its Popular and Free Web Forums." - "Network54, a provider of advanced resources for communication between groups of people over the Internet, launched new access control and syndication features for its popular free forum service. XML Syndication: Network54 has enabled its directory structure as well as every forum with XML. The hockey directory, for example, syndicates a list of the most popular discussions on the ice sport, while a specific forum transmits its most recent message titles. To insure easy dissemination, Network54 supports ScriptingNews and both revisions of MyNetscape RSS formats. Already, according to, Network54 is the largest supplier of publicly syndicated XML content. Network54 provides advanced resources for communication between groups of people over the Internet, specializing in forums and chat rooms." [From the Web site, 'XML and Content Syndication': "For the purpose of this site, XML is a kind of file that lets web servers talk to each other in an open manner. Like multimedia files, there are many different formats (WAV and MP3 for music, JEPG and GIF for images, etc). XML formats which Network54 currently supports are: RSS, RSS v0.91, Scripting News 2.0b1, and OCS Directory 0.4. If you use or other site that imports XML, you can add Network54 directories and forums to your homepage as added channels. Using the XML version of a forum listing in the Network54 directory will show a channel that lists the most popular message borads on that subject, right inside your homepage. You can do the same thing with a forum, so you can see the latest messages in your forum on the same page as your news and stock quotes..."]

  • See also: Open Content Syndication

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