Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Your vision for RSS?

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:8/27/1999; 5:33:57 AM
Topic:Your vision for RSS?
Msg #:10085
Prev/Next:10084 / 10086

What is RSS?

RSS is a low-tech syndication format. A RSS file defines a flow of news stories. A news story is an HTTP url and some descriptive text.

RSS files change. Each file may change several times a day. A RSS file allows a news source to participate in an aggregation network. The content of several sites are added together to create a news flow which can then be filtered and searched.

RSS is low-tech. Any reasonably skilled HTML coder can understand RSS. Production of a RSS file can be automated by a script written in any popular scripting language.

RSS achieves the promise of "push" which was overhyped in 1995-96. RSS depends on editorial voices that cover what Jakob Nielsen calls "domain expertise". The weblog phenomenon is related to RSS because it gives us editorial judgement that we can choose from.

The news flow coming from a collection of RSS files is a valuable resource. It's possible that RSS will become so ubiquitous that aggregators will benefit from focusing on a domain. One could imagine a story flow coming from a broad community being aggregated into a portal that serves all sub-communities.

Further, RSS may be a back-end technology for creating a single entity from a diverse network of websites within a single organization. Therefore RSS may also be related to Intranet applications.

What's your vision?

I want to write my own summary of the state of RSS, but it would be helpful to know where other people think this is going. This technology is so new, and its rate of adoption is surprisingly fast. So now I want to invite other people to comment. Where do you think this is going?

What do you think the network defined by RSS will look like in two years? Do you think this technology is unique? What makes it different from email, the web or UseNet?

What's missing in RSS? For example, the Motley Fool folks want to include stock ticker symbols with each story. The O'Reilly people want to see a date attached to each story. Both ideas seem reasonable to me.

If possible, please provide a little background on what you do.

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