May 21, 2005
@ 02:35 AM

From Bob Wyman's post Microsoft to support Atom!

Robert Scoble, a Microsoft employee/insider very familiar with Microsoft's plans for syndication, declares in comments on his blog " we are supporting Atom in any aggregator we produce ." Microsoft's example in supporting Atom should be followed by all other aggregator developers in the future and Microsoft should be commended for supporting the adoption of openly defined standards for syndication.

Given that virtually every aggregator in use today and virtually every blog hosting and syndication platform (expect MSN Spaces) already supports both RSS and Atom, it is clear that the heyday for the historical RSS format has passed. RSS is a historical format, Atom represents the future. We don't need two formats -- or twenty... We should consolidate on that format which incorporates the most learning and experience with the syndication problem. That format is Atom V1.0.

I'm surprised that Bob Wyman is crowing at such a non-issue. Supporting both versions of Atom (Atom 0.3 and Atom 1.0) is a must for any information aggregator that wants to be taken seriously. This is all covered in my post from a year and a half ago (damn, has this debate been going on for that long?) entitled Mr. Safe's Guide to the RSS vs. ATOM debate where I wrote

The Safe Syndication Consumer's Perspective
If you plan to consume feeds from a wide variety of sources then one should endeavor to support as many syndication formats as possible. The more formats a feed consumer supports the more content is available for its users.

Based on their current popularity, degree of support and ease of implementation one should consider supporting the major syndication formats in the following order of priority

  1. RSS 0.91/RSS 2.0
  2. RSS 1.0
  3. Atom

RSS 0.91 support is the simplest to implement and most widely supported by websites while Atom is the most difficult to implement being the most complex and will be least supported by websites in the coming years.

The Safe Syndication Producer's Perspective
...
The average user of a news aggregator will not be able to tell the difference between an Atom or RSS feed from their aggregator if it supports both. However users of aggregators that don't support Atom will not be able to subscribe to feeds in that format. In a few years, the differences between RSS and Atom will most likely be the same as those that are different between RSS 1.0 and RSS 0.91/RSS 2.0; only of interest to a handful of XML syndication geeks. Even then the simplest and safest bet would still be to use RSS as a syndication format. This is the same as the fact that even though the W3C has published XHTML 1.0 & XHTML 1.1 and is working on XHTML 2.0, the safest bet to get the widest reach with the least problems is to publish a website in HTML 3.2 or HTML 4.01.

So far this thinking has aligned with the thinking around RSS I have seen at MSN, so it is extremely unlikely that MSN Spaces will do something as disruptive as switching its RSS feeds to Atom feeds or as confusing to end users as providing multiple feeds in different formats.


 

Saturday, May 21, 2005 8:56:08 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Absolutely 100% in agreement!

If Bob was listening at the Syndicate Conference (he was there) I made this VERY clear. Aggregators should suck in ALL syndication formats. Tools and services that spit syndication files out should do just one to avoid confusing users. I don't really care which one you pick anymore. Hey, I see that below you are doing both RSS, Atom and even the coffeemug thing. So much clutter and so confusing.
Saturday, May 21, 2005 3:30:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Something that bugs me on this front is the way Bloglines asks me which of multiple feeds I want to subscribe to - as if I know the difference between an RSS 2.0 and an Atom feed - and as if I care. And I'm supposed to know about this field. Surely the aggregator can have some ruleset as to which feed variant it should subscribe to?
Saturday, May 21, 2005 10:32:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dare, I'm glad that you guys (RSS Bandit, etc) on the client end are doing all the heavy lifting so those of us creating feeds don't have to. I am adding feed functionality to a pet project of mine and, according to your quote above, you recommend a single RSS feed instead of multiple formats, correct?

What version of RSS would you recommend for my initial feed offering?
Sunday, May 22, 2005 11:23:15 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Shannon,
In the original article I advised using RSS 2.0 because it is the simplest and widest supported format. This advice has not changed.
Sunday, February 5, 2006 5:17:51 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Difference between rss atom and rss aggregator?
Manjula
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