Google killing Google Reader may be the best thing to have happened to the RSS ecosystem in a long time.
Looking at the efforts Dave Winer is undertaking in terms of getting OPML to become yet another standard, I’ve been thinking about how formats get adopted. The key insight I came up with is that standards are actually a form of social contract and increasingly, data formats is following the same path. Looking at the history In order to look forward, it always pays to look back. The dominant standards for the web today are undeniably HTML (or its variances like XHTML) and HTTP. More recently, XML has emerged and, increasingly, RSS is becoming the dominant type of XML for sharing a variety of data. How did each of those standards become a standard. It is obvious now (hindsight is always 20/20) that standards bodies have relatively little bearing when it comes to influencing the succes of a format. Take, for example, SGML, which was the dominant standardized format for document formatting. It was quickly superceded by HTML which, at the time, was not considered a standard. The same is true of RSS and other standards for syndication. Formats like ICE, CDF, and NewsML were touted as the future when they were first introduced. However, they’ve recently been superceded by…Read More
I keep trying to work on an entry to close the loop on the search engine and links research but RSS news is getting in the way. Last week, it was Microsoft’s welcome endorsement and a new set of extensions and this week, it’s Apple and its announcement of a new specification to add more data to RSS feeds used for podcasting. All this is nice but it seems that we’re seeing the beginning of a fairly new battle around RSS. Some History Before I go into details about Apple’s new offering, I want to give a little background that will clear up some of my confusions. I’ve been involved in the RSS community since 1999, way back when it was just the domain of geeks. Back in 2000, I made a few suggestions as to how RSS could be improved. At the same, the main version of RSS was version 0.91 and there was some interest in making a new version that would be called RSS 0.92 (yes, it was the alpha days of RSS). So five years ago, I was pushing for crazy concepts like adding a date to an item or finding ways to attach sound files…Read More
Although I haven’t written about them, I’ve been quietly monitoring the podcast space. I am amazed by how quickly they’ve taken hold and today’s announcement by Infinity Broadcasting that they were launching KYOU Radio, a radio that’s distributing podcasts seems to be the tipping point for that new technology. For my readers who are not familiar with the concept, a podcast is essentially an audio file that is distributed via a syndication feed like RSS. Mosts podcasts are encoded in MP3 format and, for the most part, podcasts have been the equivalent of audio blogs. The initial concept behind them came in a dinner at Katz’s deli in New York (fall of 2000) when Adam Curry and I urged Dave Winer, who was then the only person keeping RSS on life support, to provide a way with RSS to distribute data other than text. Adam had written an article talking about the last yard issue in terms of delivering content in the home (realize this is before BitTorrent was popular.) From there, Dave added the enclosure item to the format and things were quiet for a long time. Last summer, Adam introduced iPodder, a program that simplified the creation of…Read More
In yesterday’s entry, I took Yahoo! to task for the fact that there was a Yahoo! copyright notice against the RSS feeds for blogs generated via 360. In a comment on the site, Mike La Rotonda, Sr. Product Manager for Yahoo! 360, said that it was a bug not a feature. Glad to hear that it was only a bug and not something that one should be that concerned about… and congrats to Yahoo! for being so quick to get a reply to this posted! It’s always very impressive to see such quick response.Read More
There’s an old rule in journalism that trends can be spotted when you hear/see the same item happening three times in a row over a short period. If that’s the case, the trifecta yesterday was: Yahoo! announcing native support for RSS and ATOM in the “my yahoo” page Bloglines announcing a new set of services to ease the load of distribution Newsgator announcing new partnerships to drive adoption Let’s review why those announcements herald the arrival of RSS into the mainstream. Yahoo! and RSS As Jeremy Zawodny said, it does something […]–something that Yahoo is in a unique position to do: bring RSS to the masses. Why is this significant? Well, quite simply, while geeks like myself and readers of this blog know, RSS is still something for early adopters. Every time a large player gets into that field, the concept gains a little more traction. With the arrival of RSS into the Yahoo! personal page, the format becomes a major new delivery channel for content creators. With this, TNL.net can now figures prominently next to Reuters feed, being given the same kind of weight. It represents a major shift in the way Yahoo! distributes content. In the late 1990s,…Read More