Rich Site Summary – WTF!

So I see a headline from CNet in my news reader for an article saying Google may support RSS in Blogger again. I start reading the article and the first sentence of the second paragraph blows me away. It needs fisking, so here it is.

RSS, or Rich Site Summary, lets online publishers automatically send Web content to subscribers, giving readers a powerful tool to compile news headlines on the fly from several sources at once. Next to Atom, which launched as a challenger last year, RSS has become a leading candidate to form the basis of an industry standard for an entirely new style of Web publishing.

First the writer is clueless. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. How clueless can you be writing an article like this and not do a simple Google search to find out what you are talking about?

Atom came out last summer and RSS came out in 1996. RSS is the standard for weblog syndication. Has been for years and is so entrenched I doubt it is going a way for a long time to come.

Atom is the new kid on the block and the biggest thing it has going for it is that Google supports it. I’m using a beta version of my news reader, NetNewsWire Lite, which is the dominate news read for the Mac, so I can get Atom for one site. This means the main Mac newsfeed reader doesn’t support this new fangled feed type yet. How many other news readers do?

The author of the article goes on as if RSS is some kind of fringe thing and Atom is the standard.

Next to Atom, which launched as a challenger last year, RSS has become a leading candidate to form the basis of an industry standard for an entirely new style of Web publishing that lets readers compile news headlines on the fly from several sources at once.

RSS isn’t the “leading candidate”. It is the standard.

Another thing I don’t like about this article is it provides a link to the Atom page, but not to the RSS home page. That would be because the author never went there.

And what is the relationship between RDF and Atom? I see a lot more sites with a RDF feed than I do with an Atom one. But it isn’t mentioned

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.

Since I’ve been doing this blogging thing there has been a debate about RSS and wether to use it. Mostly this had to do with control. People didn’t like the fact Dave Winer controlled the format because he invented it. But as with many things those that were arguing about it we a small loud minority.

Sam Ruby, an IBM software engineer, launched Atom last summer as a way of bypassing what he and other critics called Winer’s de facto control over RSS. … Detractors of RSS argue that the format is closed because it is essentially governed by one man, Winer.

Notice this paragraph points out twice that the problem with RSS is that Winer controls it. Don’t miss it its an important point that we must make at the expense of good writing.

The gatekeepers for this standard are writers of aggregators and blog software. All blog software writers put in support for RSS first because it is dominant, easy to do, and all half way savvy users will demand it. All alternatives are more complicated to implement and most authors didn’t want to put the time in to implement one. On the aggregator side, the origin of aggregators is RSS. The players in that field aren’t likely to change and no one is going to take any kind of market share writing a Atom only aggregator.

And you have the classic chicken and egg software problem. Aggregators didn’t want to support new formats until blogs started using them, and blog software didn’t was to support the new feed types until aggregators did.

So the best thing that ever happen to Atom was Google buying Blogger and choosing it.

My personal thought on Google’s change of heart is they realize the market wants RSS.

Written while listening to “Country Boy Can Survive”
album Fire It Up (EP)
by Kid Rock
Written while listening to “Irresistible”
by Jessica Simpson
Written while listening to “Say It Isn’t So”
album Greatest Hits Rock ‘n Soul Part 1
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Written while listening to “How Soon Is Now?”
album 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane
by t.A.T.u.

46 thoughts on “Rich Site Summary – WTF!”

  1. When going off on a tirade and calling people stupid, you should be pretty sure you’re right. In this case you’re wrong. RSS originally stood for ‘RDF Site Summary.’ "Really Simple Syndication" was a retitling performed when it was being explained to the masses.

    Don’t believe me? Follow your own link "RSS came out in 1996" then follow Dave Weiner’s link titled "for use." The resulting article, written in 1999 (Dave’s timeline says RSS was introduced in 1999, by the way, not 1996) clearly states: "The network is built on the RDF Site Summary format. RSS is a new, open-file format that facilitates the exchange of content summaries and e-commerce data between Web sites."

    Now true, "RDF Site Summary" != "Rich Site Summary", but it’s not "Really Simple Syndication" either.

  2. When going on a tirade and calling people stupid for calling people stupid, you should be pretty sure you are bitching about the right thing. Yes, RSS _originally_ stood for RDF Site Summary. Now it _stands_ for Really Simple Syndication.

  3. First of all, Kevin didn’t call anyone stupid. Second, he’s right. When someone talks about RSS they really need to include a version number, because RSS stands for many different things depending on the flavor.

  4. Stupid is as stupid does:

    Some-a you lamer’s, like all-a you all, might notice SEVERAL inherent self-contradictions in the article. They are many, starting with the first sentence:

    "RSS, or Really Simple Syndication"

    Not to mention:

    "Two major versions of RSS currently exist. They are known as RDF Site Summary and Rich Site Summary, respectively."

    Some-a you, of Generation-Calculator, might wanna check the math.

    Two existing formats, plus Atom, equals three.

    There were plenty of other bogus things mentioned in the article, this post (which glosses over some things), and especially the comments of Kevin Fox et al. But as stupid does, facts make little difference anyhoo.

    Iow, just because Kevin Fox didn’t use the word stupid, doesn’t mean he didn’t imply it nor that he isn’t expressing it, either one.

    Sheesh…

  5. Well the article has been changed since I posted this. They now have Really Simple Syndication for RSS and a number of there changes.

    I guess it is good that they listen to feedback and make changes. It would kind of be nice to know when they change an article, but that would be hard to implement.

  6. It’s always wise to make sure you’re right before calling others clueless.

    RSS 0.91 did stand for Rich Site Summary. They didn’t link to the RSS 0.91 page because Netscape took it down.

    The Atom people had more problems with RSS than Dave Winer’s control. It was a badly-written spec, the result of a new idea shoehorned into an old one by someone who didn’t think carefully about what they were doing, with years of cruft thrown on top, with 7 alternate mutually incompatible versions, and a disjointed connection with a backup format and API. The result is constant breakage, incompatibility, frustration, and silent data loss.

    Atom aims to clean things up and replace the old formats. Will they succeed? Maybe not. But by misrepresenting it as a few people whining over control, you do us all a disservice. If Atom doesn’t succeed, we’ll all be stuck with this monster of a format stifling innovation forever. And that will hurt everyone.

  7. I haven’t seen latest version.

    But this is the EASIEST thing in the world to implement. In fact, been done… I didn’t like what Mark Pilgrim did with his implementation, but I liked this aspect of it.

    When it comes to "journalism", you’d think that "change logs" in stories would be a must-have, for the reader’s benefit if nothing else. Could make some-a the writer’s nervous, but I wouldn’t think so. And they might pay more attention to the first draft, as a result.

    (One reason I’m a commenter-blogger and not a journalist.. never wrote anything worth the time for a second draft…;-)

  8. Excuse me, Aaron, but you are not correct in several respects.

    1) You worked on Atom, and it shows

    2) Really, point 1 should be enuf

    3) "with 7 alternate mutually incompatible versions" is BS, and you know it. There are 3 basic flavors of RSS: RDF which is RSS1, RSS2-compatible (which includes .91 or .92 or whatever, and now Atom

    4) That makes 3 mutually incompatible formats (if you add them up correctly, kid…;-)

    And finally, if you’re gonna call someone stupid, you might wait a few decades:

    "Atom aims to clean things up and replace the old formats. Will they succeed?"

    You mean, will you succeed.

    And this is the falacy that goes on and on (see quote at end, if still there): Atom was intended to be THE ONE AND ONLY, and instead has just created another mutually incompatible format. It has NOT replaced RSS1 nor RSS2.. So how successful were you guys on that score, Aaron? And talking about misrepresentation…!!

    The issue IS Dave Winer’s control, **which is still an ongoing problem**, btw.

    Atom done ANYthing to help?

    Nup.

    And the day I learn from a 16-or-so-year-old kid about innovation, is the day they actually say something useful. (Not today, iow.)

  9. Don’t people get tired of bashing RSS; saying things like its a badly written spec? They’ve been saying this for a couple year and in that time RSS has become the top deployed XML Web services on the Internet. If it’s so bad, then how come everybody is using it? Several millions served proves that simple is better.

  10. Randy,

    "Don’t people get tired of bashing RSS;"

    No, that’s what provides the entertainment value. Besides, people are actually mostly bashing Dave Winer, via the "subtle" method of bashing the spec.

    "saying things like its a badly written spec? They’ve been saying this for a couple year"

    At least.

    "and in that time RSS has become the top deployed XML Web services on the Internet. If it’s so bad, then how come everybody is using it? Several millions served proves that simple is better."

    You would think, but you think too realistically, in this respect.

    The Combine is in favor of "any system will evolve to the complexity that it appears to be magic". And people ACTUALLY BELIEVE they’re out to help the "li’l guy" by supporting IBM/GPL, as well as Google (and all the other "bit" players…;-) (Thaz a joke, a couple actually…;-)

    (Speakin o witch: Google’s the company who’s motto is "Do no evil", and people believe THAT, right?)

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more short-sighted and less well-though-out than "And the day I learn from a 16-or-so-year-old kid about innovation, is the day they actually say something useful."

  12. Iirc, Kevin Fox works for Google, no?

    See above.

    I rest my case (and I ain’t gettin’ any paying work done this way, anyway…;-)!

  13. Spoke to soon, as did Jason:

    "I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more short-sighted and less well-though-out than ‘And the day I learn from a 16-or-so-year-old kid about innovation, is the day they actually say something useful.’"

    So, logically, you believe you CAN learn from something said/written which is NON-USEFUL??

    You need to study the mathematics and philosophy of "truth", which is entirely defined BY UTILITY.

    Sheesh, lemme guess how old you are, Jason: Twenty/30-something, at best…

  14. JamesJay et al:

    OK This has gotten off topic. Let’s either discussion RSS or move it somewhere else.

    Thank

    Ron

  15. My part of the discussion, Ron, was pertinent to RSS.

    Aaron Swartz is one-a the "players", and he knows nothing about innovation other than what he’s read and regurgitated. Yes, I’m aware that he is a principal in the design of RDF/RSS1.

    That factors in, in how misrepresenting the Atom group is, on most-all occasions. Randy spoke to this also.

    You might address the comment about being OT to the person who took the discussion in a haywire direction, which is Jason. His unintelligent comment was, in no way, related to RSS if you observe clearly.

    TIA…;-D And outta here.

  16. James:

    I wasn’t saying it was only you. You last comment didn’t seem to have anything to do with RSS. If it did I missed it.

    Others were just as off topic, you just happen to be the last one to comment before I said anything.

  17. Yes, my comment you refer to was OT, but I opted not to let Jason’s ignorance go uncorrected. Just my luck, right? ;-D

    The following is more OT bull, but mebbe interesting, Ron. You, of course, can delete any or all of above or below:

    ~~~~~~~~~

    Btw, I didn’t know you were 38, until just now. "Twenty/30-something" being an overly-broad categorization, I don’t split hairs. But this meme that kids who know eye-candy have an equal understanding of all the pieces that go and come together…?

    False meme, as I described over at Don Park’s place.

    "Youth" is still as stupid as any other generation of youth, including my own. ("Class" of ’54.)

    :

    Only in the Computer Industry and the Land of Blogaria, is it assumed that a smart-arsed youngster actually understands and lives what they talk..

    (..To FINALLY bring back on-topic…;-)

    Mebbe laterzzzz… … ‘n thx…

  18. Rich Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight XML vocabulary for describing metadata about Web sites, ideal for news syndication. Originated by UserLand Software in 1997 and used by Netscape to populate Netscape’s My Netscape portal with external newsfeeds ("channels") RSS has taken on a life of its own and has become perhaps the most popular XML format today.

    http://www.webreference.com

  19. RSS might stand for "Rich Site Summary," "RDF Site Summary," "Really Simple Syndication," or something else, depending upon your point of view. The two major variants 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).

    http://www.oasis-open.org/c

  20. DAVE WINER’S COMPANY, UserLand Software, released Radio UserLand 8.0 in the middle of January. By the end of the month, it had turned in its best sales performance ever. Widely acclaimed, the new version of Radio, a desktop Weblog tool, represents the latest step in a long journey. Points along the way include 1980s-era outline processors (ThinkTank and More), Macintosh scripting (Frontier), Weblogging and content management (Manila), content syndication (RSS, or Rich Site Summary), and Web services infrastructure (XML-RPC, or XML-Remote Procedure Call, and SOAP, or Simple Object Access Protocol).

    http://archive.infoworld.co

  21. The basis for this new model is an XML-based format known as Rich Site Summary. RSS was first developed by Netscape to drive channels for Netscape Netcenter. Netscape no longer seems to be leading the RSS effort, but others, such as Dave Winer of Userland Software, have picked it up.

    http://www.webtechniques.co

  22. The question of who created RSS, when it was created, and what the letters mean is seemingly impossible for anyone outside to understand. And endlessly debated by everyone else.

  23. I’m not sure why you feel it’s OK to dismiss the statements of people who worked on Atom, while accepting as fact those who are behind RSS. Anyway, I didn’t work on Atom for particularly long, and I don’t feel like I have a stake in its success.

    Mark Pilgrim has listed the seven incompatible formats in detail here (Mark lists eleven formats; I’m being more optimistic than he is):

    http://diveintomark.org/arc

    Despite what you say, I didn’t call anyone stupid. (I did imply you might have been unwise, but I was trying to be helpful.) But I do notice you have been liberal with the ad-hominem attacks. One might get the impression you’re not concerned with the truth.

    "Atom […] has NOT replaced RSS1 nor RSS2.. So how successful were you guys on that score, Aaron?"

    As I said, it seems now Atom will perhaps not succeed.

    "The issue IS Dave Winer’s control, **which is still an ongoing problem**, btw. "

    Why is that the issue, let alone an issue? RSS appears to be out of the control of anyone now.

    "And the day I learn from a 16-or-so-year-old kid about innovation, is the day they actually say something useful."

    I’ll give it another try, but don’t expect to succeed.

    You can’t control who will come up with the next innovation. A guy working on particle physics in Switzerland thought up with the Web. A college student came up with Napster. An Israeli kid invented ICQ. Nor does it seem the entretched people can recognize innovation if they were told about it. Western Union laughed at the telephone. Kodak turned down the idea for the Polaroid. AT&T dismissed the idea of packet switching. All you can really do is lower the barriers to entry.

    When the best RSS parser is over 2000 lines of Python and growing, that’s an absurdly high barrier to entry. (By comparison, the parser for my proposed RSS 3.0 is one line of Python.) That barrier to entry impedes innovation. This isn’t only theoretical, it’s empirical. RSS readers haven’t had few new ideas. Ideas that have been obvious for a long time haven’t been implemented. (And, not to brag too much, but thinking back I think I was the first to write two of the major innovations. I wrote the first aggregator that allowed users to combine news items from multiple feeds into one listing. I also wrote the HTML differences code to highlight changes in items, now found in NetNewsWire.)

    The fact that innovation is left to people like me is no accident. The only way to win in the market is to spend gobs of your time making sure you can parse each of the zillion forms of RSS. That’s stifled innovation.

  24. Aaron, why don’t you try making positive statements about Atom without dissing RSS. I think that’s what people are objecting to. You get it worse because you’re young, but they’re right. RSS has broekn the ground. It’s the winner, not Atom. No one would be interested in Atom *at all* if it weren’t for RSS. Take a step back and really appreciate that. These people like RSS, and they aren’t going to accept what you say as long as you so openly dis RSS. See if you can avoid that, and see if you don’t get better results.

    I had an epiphany about this when I read Tim Bray’s latest post where he says he doesn’t want war, but then takes several really unnecessary cheap shots at RSS. Win the World Series, and be gracious about it, and eveyrone will say you’re great. But only then, and only if you don’t rub our noses in your BS.

  25. "The Atom people had more problems with RSS than Dave Winer’s control. It was a badly-written spec, the result of a new idea shoehorned into an old one by someone who didn’t think carefully about what they were doing, with years of cruft thrown on top, with 7 alternate mutually incompatible versions, and a disjointed connection with a backup format and API. The result is constant breakage, incompatibility, frustration, and silent data loss."

    If RSS was that much of a mess, it would have been abandoned like CDF and other early efforts at Web site syndication. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of RSS parsing programs that serve thousands of publishers and users.

    RSS works. It might not be as lovingly specified as Atom or as precise in its content model as some people would like, but it meets a need. RSS created an entirely new software market in aggregators, helped spur the development of weblogs, and is reaching critical mass. There’s even a commercial market now — search Google for RSS and look at all the text ads.

    Mark Pilgrim’s frequently repeated assertion that RSS is unmanageable is disputed by his own code, the <a href="http://feeds.archive.org/va… Validator</a>, which handles all versions of RSS capably. There are issues that must be resolved, but RSS is hardly alone on the Internet in being less than perfect. Implementors have been able to handle the format.

    Here’s another project that handles all RSS versions in its first release: <a href="http://wiki.java.net/bin/vi… an open source Java library from Sun that parses and generates any version of RSS (or even Atom).

    Talking about how many lines of code it takes to support one of these formats seems like a bit of a red herring. If you have a library in your language of choice that can efficiently parse an RSS or Atom feed, you’re set, whether it’s 500 lines ot 2,500.

  26. (Part 1 of 2)

    What Rogers said.. plus:

    C’mon, Aaron…)-;

    Your intellect is better than you’ve let on in these remarks, I can assure you of that.

    "I don’t feel like I have a stake in its success."

    Doesn’t matter HOW you WANNA perceive your feelings. You’ve commented on the process, and how it wasn’t as open as you’d thought it would be, and then went back on that ephiphany… For another example of still-developing logic:

    "(I did imply you might have been unwise, but I was trying to be helpful.)"

    It’s convenient you choose to draw a distinction between unwise and stupid, and that you perceive yourself to even have a concept of wisdom at your young age. As far as ad hominem attacks, you WILL eventually learn (I hope) that there’s a great deal of truth to the fact that some can talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. (You know how many times I’ve read people say "it’s nothing PERSONAL against Dave", and then IN THE NEXT SENTENCE or next post make a pseudo-tech argument which is plainly and obviously BASED on a judgment of whether Dave is doing "the right thing" or not. And he does some-a each, of course.)

    "As I said, it seems now Atom will perhaps not succeed."

    That’s my problem with your’s and many other people’s line of thinking. Your goal, no matter what you CLAIM, was to wipe out RSS2 and then… ? (Was there ANY thought a-TALL given to the **impossibility of Atom becoming THE ONE AND ONLY format**, which was it’s primary selling-point initially?!?)

    It could STILL BE SUCCESSFUL, **if the goals were changed.** As I’ve posted a few (seemingly thousand) times before. (And granted, it could still be successful, but a piece-of-crap long-term, with the current semi-hidden agenda.)-;

    "Why is that the issue, let alone an issue? RSS appears to be out of the control of anyone now."

    That is as far as I read, when I decided to reply. You answered your own question. THINK THIS THROUGH, Aaron. And, btw, I learned a thing or two from your post on "RSS 3.0", but probably not what you’d expect. Probably learned a little legal from your posts at Don Park’s on copyright law, way back when… Iow, I take each post as it comes without regard to the "speaker", yet don’t leave that out entirely either. Knowhaimean??

    "You can’t control who will come up with the next innovation."

    Wanna bet? What, exactly, do you think is **the primary activity of the Computer Industry?**

    "Nor does it seem the entretched people can recognize innovation if they were told about it."

    You just finding this out?? This’ll be the same throughout your life, Aaron, no matter what field you go into… Why do you think people expend SO much energy putting themselves at the top-a-whatever-heap they play in??

    "When the best RSS parser is over 2000 lines of Python and growing, that’s an absurdly high barrier to entry."

    That’s only because the second- and third- and fourth-generation of coders can’t deal with anything larger than a weekend hack. (And yes, MOST-a the problems in the Industry are because, according to Alvin Toffler, we have in-actual-fact, 3 or 4 **distinct generations** operating in the same space/time coordinates.)

    You’ll also find that TLOC (like it’s a GREAT advantage to have a parse be 1 line), is THE WORST MEASURE OF ANYTHING related to coding. Dunno how THAT ONE got forgotten over the past couple generations?

    "not to brag too much, but thinking back I think I was the first…"

    First of all, you got the same problem as most-a the idiots claiming patents. Second, that would qualify as bragging.. but it’s ALWAYS a judgment call as to what "too much" of anything is.. I’ll pass on both these questions.

    "The fact that innovation is left to people like me is no accident. The only way to win in the market is to spend gobs of your time making sure you can parse each of the zillion forms of RSS. That’s stifled innovation."

    What’s amazing is that you got it EXACTLY incorrect. It’s a spec and primer’s that run into VOLUMES that prevents innovation. The innovation that WHOEVER has accomplished is almost ALWAYS simple things, simply executed.

    **And that’s where RSS2 shines, and the others spit crud!!**

  27. (Part 2 of 2)

    Going back to "Ideas that have been obvious for a long time haven’t been implemented."

    And this is what ALL THE WARS, each and every post, comes down to.

    What’s obvious to one, is not obvious to another, until a different point in time. Dave Winer has changed his views regarding namespaces (and I’m not sure if that’s for the better or worse, but HE IS MORE FLEXIBLE than those who criticize him, OBVIOUSLY).

    Which also goes back to Mark Pilgrim’s statements. Anybody that doesn’t recognize the BS, doesn’t recognize it because they’ve almost ENTIRELY lost perspective.

    THE FACT IS, there are 3 basic flavors of format which are mutually incompatible. You’ve been sucked in by your desire for Mark to be right, when he is 100% incorrect, and misrepresenting the situation.

    And this is the same lame meme that’s been floating around for about a year. "There’s already 7 or 9 or 11 or whatever formats, so OBVIOUSLY there’s PLENTY OF ROOM for Atom, right?"

    That’s just plain faulty logic.. a red herring.. for 1 purpose only:

    To wipe out Dave’s dream and that’s the PRIMARY goal and always has been. Atom cranked up PRECISELY as RSS2 was gaining it’s second or third wave. Coincidence??

    Impossible… Although you can DREAM UP all the tech reasons you wanna to justify that goal, it’s bogus.

    You’re too young, Aaron, to know what it is to have your life’s ambition attacked and destroyed before your very eyes (at least I hope so). It’s only for a tough-skinned person, and it’s almost impossible to have a tough-skin whilst still being creative. VERY difficult, because these two work in opposition to each other.

    Dave does better than most, in this regard, clearly.

    All THAT to say.. This is a detailed explanation of what Winer is saying. Almost ALL the advantages of Atom have been phrased as "this is why RSS2 stinks".

    Why is that? As I’ve posted before.. it’s the best Atom has to offer in their favor, so far. (Minor incremental advances notwithstanding.)

    "The fact that innovation is left to people like me is no accident."

    Umm. I’ve "beat you up" pretty good already, Aaron, but you exalt yourself a tad here.

    You been reading Sam Ruby’s?

    You have NO cottin’-pickin’ IDEA of what kind-a innovation is coming at you the next year.

    T’ain’t my fault that I got a call from my IBM Customer Engineer that one-a my hard drives had logged errors that eventually it’d need replaced. And I told him I’d seen the message, and interpreted it same (as non-, but potential-problem, so we arranged time he could do the work off-hours).

    T’ain’t my fault that you don’t know what a Hypervisor is, and that the above came about in the late ’80s (or possibly early ’90s). Iow, there’s a lotta innovation out there, and ONLY a youngster could lay claim to being the only guy in town capable of doing "innovative" thinking.

    T’ain’t my fault that (what.. 2 years ago) it was published that i5 users are "working on tomorrows technology today".

    Don’t kid a kidder, Aaron…! Not ONLY you and weekend-hackers are doing innovation!!

    (But keep up the posts, anyhoo!! I like to see young kids attempt critical thinking, because it seems most are almost solely concerned with how much flesh they can get or give.. although obviously an over-generalization.)

    Mebbe laterz, but thaz all for today.

    (Do I hear APPLAUSE?!?…;-)

  28. Oooops, spoke too soon in a couple respects.

    Rogers, I’ve heard this before: "If you have a library in your language of choice that can efficiently parse an RSS or Atom feed, you’re set, whether it’s 500 lines ot 2,500."

    This MAY be true, and it MAY be "the road paved by good intentions".

    You CAN build toolsets to handle ANY kind-a RUBE-GOLDBERG-type-a spec. Thaz the PROBLEM Moore’s Law CAUSED.

    The key is "efficiency". Both the implementation and the simplicity-of-design of the spec. I think we actually agree in this regard, but wanted to warn that you CAN build a parser to parse ANYthing (not just feeds), and that’s NOT a good thing in all, or even most, cases.

  29. Dave, how can anyone take seriously your entreaty to only promote one side without disrespecting the other when you follow it with a quote like, "No one would be interested in Atom *at all* if it weren’t for RSS"? You then plead for people to be gracious in their victories, but only after you say, "[RSS] is the winner, not Atom." It’s just laughable, but pretty much standard for these debates, and specifically for you.

  30. Dave, that’s a good idea. I’ll try that tack in the future. Thanks for the advice.

    Rogers writes "If RSS was that much of a mess, it would have been abandoned like CDF"

    What were CDF’s problems? It was pretty much equivalent to the early version of RSS, as far as I can tell. I suspect the reason RSS won out was less design than luck — it had the right combination of timing, Netscape’s backing, Dave Winer’s evangelizing, etc. to succeed. I don’t think "not bad enough to be completely abandoned!" is a particularly good requirement.

    James says "You’ve commented on the process, and how it wasn’t as open as you’d thought it would be, and then went back on that ephiphany…"

    How did I go back on it? What I said was true and I stand by it. I did say I didn’t know I was being logged and I think some people may have interpreted what I said the wrong way, but I haven’t backed off my statement. (In fact, around that time I left the project for those reasons.)

    "You know how many times I’ve read people say ‘it’s nothing PERSONAL against Dave’, and then IN THE NEXT SENTENCE or next post make a pseudo-tech argument which is plainly and obviously BASED on a judgment of whether Dave is doing ‘the right thing’ or not."

    Perhaps you misunderstand the meaning of "it’s nothing personal against Dave". For example, it seems like a lot of people liked Ronald Reagan and had nothing personal against him, but that doesn’t mean they can’t criticize decisions he made as the wrong thing.

    I wrote: "You can’t control who will come up with the next innovation."

    You replied: "Wanna bet? What, exactly, do you think is **the primary activity of the Computer Industry?**"

    As I noted, the Computer Industry has failed to come up with any of the major technology innovations of the past decade-and-a-half. So, while they do try, they seem to fail in the long run.

    You note sarcastically "like it’s a GREAT advantage to have a parse be 1 line"

    On this I have to strongly disagree. It is a great advantage to have a parser be one line, because it means that one line can pretty easily be thoroughly checked for bugs and security holes. A 2000 line program is much more difficult to audit.

    "THE FACT IS, there are 3 basic flavors of format which are mutually incompatible. You’ve been sucked in by your desire for Mark to be right, when he is 100% incorrect, and misrepresenting the situation."

    If you think Mark is wrong, could you point out a specific error he made. I’m sure he’d be happy to correct the piece if you found one as serious as you say.

    "To wipe out Dave’s dream and that’s the PRIMARY goal and always has been."

    I think you are projecting Dave’s motivation (getting credit for doing something big) onto the Atom hackers. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Atom people and I’ve seen no evidence this is the case.

    "ONLY a youngster could lay claim to being the only guy in town capable of doing ‘innovative’ thinking."

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest such an absurd idea. And I’m not sure why I did that bragging. (Maybe your ad-hominem attacks got me in the mood.) What I meant by "people like me" was independents and kids — as opposed to BigCos.

  31. <i>What were CDF’s problems? It was pretty much equivalent to the early version of RSS, as far as I can tell. I suspect the reason RSS won out was less design than luck — it had the right combination of timing, Netscape’s backing, Dave Winer’s evangelizing, etc. to succeed.</i>

    It’s wrong to dismiss the success of RSS as a product of luck. Dave Winer promoted site syndication tirelessly on Scripting News and in software like My.UserLand.Com for years when almost no one else recognized its potential. Netscape’s backing amounted to bupkiss — they gave up on the format and dropped their spec page. RSS would have been dead without UserLand. I can still remember trying Carmen’s Headline Viewer, the first RSS aggregator, in 1999 and failing to see the potential.

  32. Even more, "Dave, that’s a good idea. I’ll try that tack in the future. Thanks for the advice."

    I didn’t notice mucha-a anything positive said about Atom, (in fact, noticed a HUGE negative,) but noticed plenty-a negative about RSS. And Jason’s comment is typical of this approach, not just Aaron.

    But, once again, I disagree with Winer.

    Developing software IS personal… From what I’ve observed, developing Standards IS personal, because it’s entirely about people inter-relating.

    Developing Syndication Standards, whether the syndication is P2P or C2C makes no nevermind, comes down to being ENTIRELY about people inter-relating. And a lotta ANYthing comes down to, do people do as they say other people SHOULD do, or are they "total and complete" hypocrites.

    Iow, the question is: When ANYone projects a future, is it based on good, solid, self-critical thinking, or is it based on what they REALLY WANT the outcome to end up, because they will PERSONALLY benefit in one form or another form… This is what a LOTta the debates (on ANY subject) come down to.

    So leaving out the personal is like a school of fish getting together in conference, but starting with the supposition that the conference can have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with water.

    Now, if Winer had said "don’t start from personality-dislikes, and then work BACKWARDS to the tech reasons you are for-or-against something", I could agree with that whole-heartedly.. but that what wasn’t what he said. Nor what he’s said in the past.

    Aaron, thanks for reply!! That was a nice try!

    I’m not a kid, tho, and have to shove some code over to my client and (eventually) some money down my pocket. I’ll try-ta get back later on some (or all) of your points (or what-I’ll-show-as pseudo-points…;-).

  33. Earlier today Netscape announced a new low-tech format for syndicating web content called RSS, for RDF Site Specification. It’s a more realistic spec than the one proposed by Microsoft several years ago, called CDF, or Channel Definition Format, because it reflects the dynamic nature of news-oriented sites.

    http://davenet.scripting.co

  34. Compare RSS with scriptingNews format, which is richer, it includes enough information to do an elegant syndication-based search engine (coming later today). Netscape’s and Slashdot’s formats are basically equivalent, neither is as rich as our format.

    http://archive.scripting.co

  35. RSS : ATOM :: HTML : XHTML

    We wouldn’t have the web without HTML, but cleaning it up with XHTML (and CSS) would make it nicer. We wouldn’t have syndication magic as it exists today without RSS, but cleaning it up with Atom would make it nicer. Either way, HTML isn’t going away anytime soon, nor is RSS. Nor will any successes with Atom erase the fact that Dave *did* work hard to get this through many skulls.

    Props to RSS and Dave’s relentless promotion of the format and the idea. Props to people who care to make things better and progress. Zero props to everyone taking it personally, vomiting their ad-hominem bile, and obscuring the issues where real progress can be made.

    Now, I’ve got to get out of here. This pissing contest here is starting to smell, and I didn’t come in wearing my galoshes.

  36. What you smell, L.M. Orchard, is yourself.

    Go piss on yourself, elsewhere, then.

    In the meantime, those with eyes to hear can see that there’s some endemic problems in the system, and it starts with "if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything a-tall".

    Which then proceeds, almost EVERY time, to "say something nice about someone, and then piss on someone else, and call yourself taking the high moral ground", like above.

  37. Rogers: I meant luck from the point of view of RSS — that is, RSS is lucky Dave Winer picked it up.

  38. "Gain a matter of timing..

    ..loss a matter of acceptance"

    Applies in more areas ‘n you’d think/feel.

  39. Aaron,

    Perhaps we care clear some-a the deadwood out, first:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    AS1: "You can’t control who will come up with the next innovation."

    JT1: "Wanna bet? What, exactly, do you think is **the primary activity of the Computer Industry?**"

    AS2..: As I noted, the Computer Industry has failed to come up with any of the major technology innovations of the past decade-and-a-half. So, while they do try, they seem to fail in the long run.

    JT2..: As I noted, you noted incorrectly. Today marks, iirc and iic (I Interpret the tea-leaves and rumor-mill Correctly) the release of the first 128-bit Power5 Processors. This possibly-emulated (probably-in HW) processors also have a for-pay OS (Operating System: ‘/5’ ™ (sm), if nobody else has)).

    Where’d ya think that came from, exactly? And the PC/Mac you’re typing into? And the Wintel/*nixes/5/z servers (including white-boxes) that these posts are flying back and forth on? And the telco/cable/satellite/WiFi/etc. inter-connects?

    The W3C and the IETF, you actually think they’re not BigCo’s?

    And they SHOULD get the credit for what they accomplished (a cool $1M to TBL, if I heard correctly, which was rather perfunctory, imo/o!).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    AS2: You note sarcastically "like it’s a GREAT advantage to have a parse be 1 line"

    On this I have to strongly disagree. It is a great advantage to have a parser be one line, because it means that one line can pretty easily be thoroughly checked for bugs and security holes. A 2000 line program is much more difficult to audit.

    JT2: Ah!

    If you observer closely, I never said that a 1-line parser was a DISADVANTAGE, Aaron! What I said was that Total Lines Of Code is not a measure of anything.

    Btw, there are only 2 known platforms that I know of, that have ISO9001-type-a-quality in CERT. They would not be related to EITHER anything Windows/Mac/*nix-like, nor the software piled on top of it either.

    Did the Tech pseudo-journalism corps tell you which ones they are? And I’m only certain about 1 of them, frankly. I don’t think CERT would claim to be catching everything that’s out in the wild.

    What’s this to do with RSS2? Never know, but RSS2 may end up being used to transport votes, so that is a no-small concern of (a likely over-use of) RSS2 Specification.

    Btw, Aaron, I figured that one out a long while past, about a 1-line pgm being easier to work with than a 2500-line pgm! C’mon.. but still…

    ..anybody that thinks 2500 lines is a big problem/program…? Dunno how ta-tell some-a ya’s…..

    Not that I don’t appreciate a-lick, how much you can do with 1-liners, ‘course…;-D

    J. Toran

    /5 Pub/Subs

    "/5" ™ (sm) (again, if nobody else has)

  40. There is no way to know if "Tim Berners-Lee" is actually the person of the same name, as unfortunately anybody can sign your name. However I’ll hafta assume so, or just play along with some fools joke on me and others commenting/reading here.

    Mr. Berners-Lee,

    I’m only scantly familiar with French (H.S.), and less-so with Spanish (Jr. High). My apologies. I dunno what "alles" means.

    If I catch yer drift, I would agree and have above.

    But, in the whole scheme of all-the-Über-alles in the world, Dave Winer has managed to develop a better methodology for developing standards. As I posted at Sam Ruby’s Intertwingly. It is obviously not-even-close to perfected. (Obvious to me, anyhoo.)

    I don’t see why the methodology is being associated with Winer, personally, because he’s standing on the shoulder’s of others, including your-presumed-self. Nor why the methodology is attacked on the grounds that "Winer is an asshole", which has become over the past couple years a Googlism or Google–search-keyword or "code-word-and-secret-handshake" for those "pseudo-in the know". All that is immaterial to the discussion (whether or not it’s true to a greater-or-lesser extent, even more).

    On the assumption that you are, in actual fact, Mr. Berners-Lee:

    Do you know of any centrally-located-site which has serious discussion, and provides some *cogent discussion* in this regard??

    May I be invited to "speak", if there is such-a thing??

    Either way, if you are as you say, TIA/A

    (Thanks in Advance/Arrears…;-)

    Thanks in arrears, also, for providing the tools that allows a "BlowGun" hermit-like, like myself, to converse in multiple languages across the globe in near-real-time.

    I may have implied I have no appreciation of all y’all’s efforts, but actually I’m much MORE aware of (both the surrealism and) the amazing benefits this confers, than most.

    (Downside to everything, ‘course… .5…;-)

    And if you are not, in actual fact, Mr. Berners-Lee, hope ya enjoyed it as much as I did…! 😀

  41. Also, "alles" means "snake-oil salesman"…?? (I tried an online translator, prior to posting above, but it was as lame as myself…;-)

    And I implied something unintended. Developing standards CANNOT *BE* "perfected", or even obtain close-to-perfection.. as the growth it produces feeds on-and-back-into itself.

  42. Aaron,

    To continue our semi-pseudo-conversation:

    JT1: "James says ‘You’ve commented on the process, and how it wasn’t as open as you’d thought it would be, and then went back on that ephiphany…’

    AS2: "How did I go back on it? What I said was true and I stand by it. I did say I didn’t know I was being logged and I think some people may have interpreted what I said the wrong way, but I haven’t backed off my statement. (In fact, around that time I left the project for those reasons.)"

    JT2: I was looking for something else, and happened on the link I saw previously, comment #18.

    http://www.pycs.net/system/

    There is also Mark Pilgrims "article", one from ComputerWorld, and this one from CNet:

    http://news.com.com/Google+

    Now, objectively looking at which articles are MORE fair, and which are LESS fair, it’s pretty easy to see that you are biased in favor of Atom, as of the time of comment #18.

    That’s what I mean by going-back-and-forth on these issues.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    AS2: "Perhaps you misunderstand the meaning of ‘it’s nothing personal against Dave’. For example, it seems like a lot of people liked Ronald Reagan and had nothing personal against him, but that doesn’t mean they can’t criticize decisions he made as the wrong thing."

    I’m of the (possibly mistaken…;-) impression that I have a better understanding than you do, Aaron.

    It’s actually a case of people dis-liking Dave Winer personally, and not being able to criticize him objectively, PRECISELY FOR THAT REASON.

    Take L.M. Orchard.

    I’d read "decafbad" back in the day when I had time. Agreed with some, strongly disagreed with other stuff… After I pressed submit, I also recollected the name as being a contributor to the Atom-syntax-listserv. (Icbw, but I seriously doubt it.)

    His comments are typical of both Atom supporters, as well as 20/30-somethings that know more about tech than I do in some areas..

    ..but basically ONLY know they wanna be top dog in whatever playground they infest.

    His attempt to bury Winer with praise is disingenous, psuedo-respectful-but-entirely-disrespectful, and only put in proper perspective by the knowledge that he’s an Atomite.

    Very typical of the Atomites which, again, "prevents me" from understanding why Sam Ruby and Tim Bray allow these Atomites to represent them.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    JT1: "’ONLY a youngster could lay claim to being the only guy in town capable of doing "innovative" thinking.’"

    AS2: "Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest such an absurd idea. And I’m not sure why I did that bragging. (Maybe your ad-hominem attacks got me in the mood.) What I meant by "people like me" was independents and kids — as opposed to BigCos."

    First, you’ve forgotten that you ARE a part of BigCo, being one-a the principals in the RDF/"RSS1" spec, Aaron.

    Second, there are some similarities and some differences between independents and kids, but thaz a longer subject than I have time to get into. There are more disimilar than similar, I assure you. Perhaps it requires more capability to discern, than you have at this stage. (Note, I "said" ‘perhaps’.)

    Third, kids and adults alike will blame ANYBODY OTHER than THEMSELVES, for their own behavior/behaviour. That’s a game people and other animals have played as long as they’ve existed!

    And that’s something MOST (not all) the 20/30-somethings have yet to discipher.

  43. An example. I’m not friends with Winer, but I don’t hate him either.

    So I can assure y’all,

    BADA-BING!

    BADA-**BOOM!!**

    http://archive.scripting.co

    Then, (or eventually)-; to text.

    But there are people who will resist these kinds-a things, with every once of hate-energy they can muster, simply because they heard-a the idea first from Dave Winer.

    Make sense? I can **SEE/HEAR/SMELL** the "reasons" why that putrid attitude would make sense and does make sense to some.. but it doesn’t, nonetheless.

  44. Ughh.

    "I dunno what ‘alles’ means." Dawned on me it might be more obvious than I’d thought. Like mebbe "Winer over all"… Thaz sort-a how I took it, so no, I don’t go fer that, ‘tall.

    Don’t go for IETF Über alles, either. (The METHODOLOGY the IETF, in assigning ITSELF the responsibility for the RSS2 spec, shows *plainly and obviously*, their *non-ability to produce a decent standard*.) Not sure that W3C Über alles is a WHOLE lot better, because that which claims to be over all tends to move too slow.

    Better ideas?!? I believe I have some, but didn’t spend my career developing the political skills and credentials like some have and are doing, like Jason Shellen, for but one example. I mean how much point-blank-clarity do you need to see that there’s a lotta Yay-hoos involved in the Standards process that need to get a clue:

    http://www.imc.org/atom-syn

    But then, speaking of point-blank-clarity, and continuing on from here:

    http://www.imc.org/atom-syn

    But the point that is being missed (haven’t gone through all the replies yet), is that the Standards Orgs themselves are not directly-related enough to EITHER consensus or adoption. There isn’t an adequate process in place to do so, because… ALL the Standards Orgs SOLE (let alone primary) function is to keep their organization alive and on-going.

    Dunno precisely WHEN that happened, but the results (ill-fitting and non-adopted stardards) show the tale… If that were NO so, the Standards Orgs would-a reinvented themselves. (And Oasis and the other half-dozen Standards Orgs claiming to be developing THE ONE AND ONLY WAY to do Standards…? Another failed-committee-approach to solving a PEOPLE problem.)

    Bye, unless there’s more interest in this thread/topic, from somebody ‘sides me.

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