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4045Re: [RSS-DEV] Why is RSS 2.0 Bad? (Not a Rhetorical Question)

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  • Ben Hammersley
    Sep 25, 2002
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      On Thursday, Sep 26, 2002, at 00:27 Europe/London, Ben Hammersley wrote:
      > . My dad loves RSS, he just
      > wouldn't recognise it over HTML if he viewed source. The simplicity of
      > the spec, for him, is meaningless.

      <much snippage/>

      An anonymous benefactor just privately pulled me up over this, citing
      the common wisdom that the web was a success because "(HTML) was
      transparently understandable to people with a minimal technical
      background". It's a common argument for simplicity uber alles within

      I disagree with it, however. Not with the premise - the transparent
      nature of HTML taught me well too - but with the implication. The
      amount of early web content created was due, yes, to the transparent
      nature of HTML. Because people had no choice but to learn the code. But
      that argument died years ago, and never really existed with RSS. Why?
      Because of tools.

      Nowadays, you never need see a single bit of HTML to make a web page.
      With blogging tools you don't even need to consciously make a page. For
      the vast majority of users, using Frontpage or Dreamweaver or whatever
      to create their little project, the use of <em> over <b>, or <br/> over
      <br> may well be transparent, but is utterly moot. Who cares? Not the
      end user.

      Now, the evolution of RSS has been very fast, and we left the notepad
      and view source era years ago. RSS feeds are produced automatically by
      tools created by developers, using templates created by developers, to
      work on applications created by developers (most likely the same ones),
      and then and only then do the general userbase get involved. No one
      creates their RSS feed from scratch in notepad, the way I did sites in
      1995, and to insist on simplicity for this reason alone is doing
      ourselves a disservice.
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