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RSS 1.0 vs. RSS 0.9*

Matt Sergeant writes:

 [in response to Dave Winer writing on RSS 0.92]

 > All in all, it gains most people nothing. I for one have moved on
 > to RSS 1.0, which by the use of namespaces has allowed me to build
 > an entire slashdot-like web site around the format, using standard
 > vocabularies.  When I need an author on each item, I use dc:creator
 > from the Dublin Core. When I need a date, I can also use Dublin
 > Core. For rich descriptions I can use dc:description with an
 > xhtml-basic content. For my purposes, RSS 1.0 rocks. Note that none
 > of these additions required me to write a new spec.

I agree with Matt.  RSS 0.9* was simple enough to get people hooked on
a particular kind of information exchange (pretty-much headlines and
links) and was one of the greatest XML success stories, but it
wouldn't scale for other kinds of syndication.  RSS 1.0 is complicated
enough that it might scare people away, but it will scale better.

Personally, I tend to err on the side of simplicity, but the proof is
in the implementations: the number of RSS 1.0 feeds (both converted by
a middle party or encoded by the source) is multiplying rapidly.  I
have a small selection of RSS 1.0 feeds listed at


including feeds from ITN and Reuters Health, but there are many, many
more out there, and new ones are appearing regularly.  Obviously, the
extra complexity in RSS 1.0 hasn't been enough to scare away
implementors, and the RSS 1.0 WG has hit a sweet spot between
simplicity and functionality.  Kudos.

Dave (Winer), I shared some of your reservations about RSS 1.0 at the
start, but given the proof of RSS 1.0's rapid adoption rate, I'd
suggest that it's time now to bow out gracefully and admit you were
wrong.  I had to do just that when I gave up my initial opposition to
XML and wrote AElfred, and again when I abandoned dozens of my initial
design proposals for SAX, and again when I gave up my opposition to
Namespaces and became an advocate, and so on and so on.  Hell, I'm
probably wrong now, too (let's get that out of the way in advance this

That said, the RSS 1.0 WG is now busying itself creating new add-on
modules, just like the XHTML people, and that's a BAD move: people
will (incorrectly) think that they need to learn and support all the
modules to support RSS, just as people think that they need to learn
and support XSL, XML-Schemas, XLink, XInclude, etc. etc. etc. to
support XML.  I agree with the Kent Beck and the other XP people on
this point -- never add new functionality in anticipation, but wait
until people are screaming so loudly that you can no longer ignore

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com