Today I learned that Apple brings podcasts into iTunes which is excellent news. This will definitely push subscribing to music and videos via RSS feeds into the mainstream. I wonder how long it'll take MTV to start providing podcast feeds.
One interesting aspect of the announcement which I didn't see in any of the mainstream media coverage was pointed out to me in Danny Ayers's post Apple - iTunes - Podcasting where he wrote
Apple - iTunes - Podcasting
RSS 2.0 extension
(PDF). There are about a dozen new elements (or “tags” as they quaintly describe them) but they don’t seem to add anything new. I think virtually everything here is either already covered by RSS 2.0 itself, except maybe tweaked to apply to the podcast rather than the item.
They’ve got their own little category taxonomy and this delightful thing:
This tag should be used to note whether or not your Podcast contains explicit material.
There are 2 possible values for this tag: Yes or No
I wondered at first glance whether this was so you could tell when you were dealing with good data or pure tag soup. However, the word has developed a new meaning:
If you populate this tag with “Yes”, a parental advisory tag will appear next to your Podcast cover art on the iTunes Music Store
This tag is applicable to both Channel & Item elements.
So, in summary it’s a bit of a proprietary thing, released as a fait accompli. Ok if you’re targetting for iTunes, for anything else use
Yahoo! Media RSS
. I wonder where interop went.
This sounds interesting. So now developers of RSS readers that want to consume podcasts have to know how to consume the RSS 2.0
<enclosure> element, Yahoo!'s extensions to RSS and Apple's extensions to RSS to make sure they cover all the bases. Similarly publishers of podcasts also have to figure out which ones they want to publish as well.
I guess all that's left is for Real Networks and Microsoft to publish their own extensions to RSS for dealing with providing audio and video metadata in RSS feeds to make it all complete. This definitely complicates my plans for adding podcasting support to RSS Bandit. And I thought the RSS 1.0 vs. RSS 2.0 vs. Atom discussions were exciting. Welcome to the world of syndication.
PS: The title of this post is somewhat tongue in cheek. It was inspired by Slashdot's headline over the weekend titled Microsoft To Extend RSS about Microsoft's creation of an RSS module for making syndicating lists work better in RSS. Similar headlines haven't been run about Yahoo! or Apple's extensions to RSS but that's to be expected since we're Microsoft. ;)