[thelist] RSS Newsfeed

David.Cantrell at Gunter.AF.mil David.Cantrell at Gunter.AF.mil
Tue Oct 15 09:30:01 CDT 2002

> I'm considering  the best way(s) to create a RSS newsfeed from HTML
> hosted on an Apache site. I use Userland Frontier to create the HTML so
> I can easily create the XML for stand RSS, but then what. Is there more
> than badging my page so that newsreaders can link to the rss page?

Also, which version of RSS are you targeting? Many people may not be aware
of this, but there is quite literally an all-out battle royale cage match
holy war going on between two different camps regarding RSS.

Before reading further, just understand that it's in flux, but writing for
0.91 is your best bet. Pretty much every reader out there can read it,
because it was the first real version available and has lots of buy-in.

A bit of history from an observer: Dave Winer creates Scripting News XML
syndication format back in, oh, 1997 I guess. Netscape creates My.Netscape
in 1999 (I think?) and releases RSS 0.9, an RDF application before there
really was an RDF. They get together and work out some kinks and jointly
release 0.91, which is what I'd say most people think of and work with when
they say "RSS". Dave Winer gets RSS all the way up to 0.94 on his own,
because Netscape abandoned it. He evangelized it, and to be quite honest, it
is popular today in large part because he pushed it so much.

Then a couple years back a group comes along and decides to "take RSS back
to it's RDF roots". So they come up with an RDF syntax for RSS, which is
totally incompatible with Winer's RSS, without consulting Dave Winer, and
then they call their version RSS 1.0. This really confuses everybody, and
then the two sides get into bitter dispute over "I created it" (Winer) vs
"You made bad decisions and should be punished" (RDF folks). Both sides have
valid points, but they also both fall into name-calling and such. IMO, Winer
can be very egotistical and adversarial, but he wins the moral argument
here. They tried to screw him over from their ivory towers without even
telling him what they were doing.

Now Dave Winer has updated RSS 0.9x to include namespaces to enable
modularization (as several of us had wanted it to be done all along), and
now he calls the new version RSS 2.0. This has prompted "outrage" from the
1.0 crowd, but all he did was turn the tables on them. I find it to be a
pretty hilarious move, actually. :)

This of course prompted Aaron Swartz (a teenager who happens to be a W3C RDF
advisor and big-time structured markup fanatic) to propose RSS 3.0, a purely
text-based system with no structure whatsoever to illustrate what's "wrong"
with Winer's approach. ("Title tags optional? Bad markup allowed? Who cares?
Not me!")

Oh well, enough history lesson, I would give some links but our network is
shot right now. :(


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