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Re: [syndication] Evangelizing RSS

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  • Dave Winer
    Jeff, what is RSS? Dave ... From: Jeff Barr To: Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2001 5:46 AM Subject: RE:
    Message 1 of 18 , May 9 7:45 AM
      Jeff, what is RSS?

      Dave


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jeff Barr" <jeff@...>
      To: <syndication@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2001 5:46 AM
      Subject: RE: [syndication] Evangelizing RSS


      > Julian says,
      >
      > > ISTM that an RSS FAQ aimed at content providers, with a clear
      > > explanation of why and how they should produce an RSS file would be a
      > > *good thing*[1]. It ought to present a clear business case as well as
      > > the developer detail. All the explanations I've seen so far are squarely
      > > aimed at programmers and don't make any sort of business case.
      >
      > Definitely! I was thinking about evangelizing syndication last night while
      > walking past the offices of "Deseret News" in Salt Lake City (I'm here for
      > the day). We need a nice FAQ-like document, one that we control, which
      makes
      > the business case first, and then proceeds to the details. This should be
      a
      > one or two pager.
      >
      > The business case part should be pretty simple:
      >
      > Q: Why should I syndicate my site's headlines.
      >
      > A: Because an investment of just a few hours of development time will
      > bring your site's headlines to the world in such a way that your
      > site will get more traffic. There will be little, if any, continued
      > investment.
      >
      > > [1]I know the response is "well write one then", but I'm a little busy
      > > right now... Perhaps a group effort?
      >
      > We need a coordinator that can paste finished results into a master
      > document (it should be a single document for easy printing). And we
      > need an outline. The rest is easy. I'm in the "little busy" boat with
      > Julian. I can contribute, but I cannot coordinate right now.
      >
      > Jeff;
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Julian Bond [mailto:julian@...]
      > Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2001 1:47 AM
      > To: syndication@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [syndication] Evangelizing RSS
      >
      >
      > I have just had this conversation with a content provider.
      >
      > >On Tuesday, May 08, 2001 10:08 AM, Julian Bond wrote:
      > >| Do you produce an RSS file for syndication of headlines?
      > >| If you do, where is it?
      > >| If you don't, why not?
      > >| If you don't know what it is, look here http://www.blogspace.com/rss/
      > >Please excuse my ignorance. I checked the site, distinct concise reasons
      > >for why we should be offering RSS docs were not easily forthcoming and I
      > >ran out of time. Please send me a link to a dummies guide, I am
      interested
      > >but don't have time to trawl through RSS history looking for explanations
      > >of why RSS should prevail.
      >
      > Here's another one from a site that outsources it's web development. I
      > think I hit the outsourcing company not the owners.
      > >No one has ever offered us money to produce one.
      >
      > ISTM that an RSS FAQ aimed at content providers, with a clear
      > explanation of why and how they should produce an RSS file would be a
      > *good thing*[1]. It ought to present a clear business case as well as
      > the developer detail. All the explanations I've seen so far are squarely
      > aimed at programmers and don't make any sort of business case.
      >
      > This particular guy is the webmaster for one of the titles at EMAP ("400
      > titles"). I'm still hopeful that I can convince him.
      >
      > [1]I know the response is "well write one then", but I'm a little busy
      > right now... Perhaps a group effort?
      >
      > --
      > Julian Bond eMail: julian@...
      > HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
      > WorkURL: http://www.netmarketseurope.com/
      > WebLog: http://roguemoon.manilasites.com/
      > M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)20 7420 4363
      > ICQ:33679668 tag:So many words, so little time
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
    • Julian Bond
      Sometime it helps to wait a day or two before hitting the send key. I shouldn t even have to say this, but I m not trying to be contentious here, I m trying to
      Message 2 of 18 , May 12 12:47 PM
        Sometime it helps to wait a day or two before hitting the send key. I
        shouldn't even have to say this, but I'm not trying to be contentious
        here, I'm trying to get some perspective.

        I came to this late, long after the major work was done on defining rss.
        I've read enough and done enough research to understand some of the
        sources of the discontent, but I really wonder what all the fuss is
        about. From where I'm standing, rss looks like a major success. I don't
        have figures to back it up, but I suspect it's *the* most successful XML
        format in terms of implementations. Anyone care to guess how many Mb of
        rss data are created every day?

        The competing standards are close enough that from the point of view of
        a consumer of rss, or a programmer parsing the data, the differences are
        a small pain but really not hard.

        So without further ado. And in order from the ridiculous to the
        sensible.

        Q: What is RSS?

        1: It's a set of three letters that seem to create tension between
        people whenever they're mentioned.

        2: It's a name not an acronym. At least no one acronym. At various
        times, it has been converted into an acronym meaning Rich Site Summary,
        Really Simple Syndication or something else entirely.

        3: It's one of several XML formats that Userland use to transport
        information around various parts of the Userland cloud. Despite (or
        perhaps, because of) their involvement in the development of several of
        the rss variants, their use of rss is subtly different to everyone
        else's. But the differences are so small as to be effectively irrelevant
        and the Userland sites are a major source of information in rss format.

        4: It's a name for a loose collection of related but subtly different
        and competing standards using XML. The standards are simple enough that
        it's easy to create the files either with code or by hand. They
        are also close enough that it's fairly trivial to write code that can
        read the data from any of them and do something useful with it. The
        standards are designed to allow a content generation website to
        syndicate its headlines to other websites in a simple, and easy to
        create form. Inevitably, inventive people have thought of many other
        sources and uses.

        It's hard to tell how many websites publish an RSS file but estimates
        suggest there are now >4000 publically accessible rss feeds on the
        internet. Manila and most of the "Slash" codesets like Scoop,
        PHP-Nuke and Drupal generate rss by default. In addition, there are
        several efforts round the web to convert existing websites into an rss
        feed with or without the approval of the website owners. All this
        suggests that the actual figure may be much higher. On the commercial
        and semi-commercial side, Moreover, 10.am and others are collecting
        headline data from mostly commercial sites, categorizing it and then re-
        publishing it as rss, among other formats.

        5. But above all, rss is really simple, simon. I bet if you stripped the
        descriptions to the bone, you could fit all the variants on a single
        sheet of A4. Even a pretty poor programmer, such as myself, can extract
        the data from rss with a few string functions and generate it with a few
        more.

        This is it's greatest strength.

        -----------------------------------------------------------------
        So what to do?

        Well, if you manage a website, generate an rss file. Pick a format and
        just do it, by hand if you have to. My preference would be for 0.92 but
        if you prefer rdf, use 1.0. I don't care. And then make sure it's
        obvious on your site where it is.

        For my uses, I keep wanting to pick up rss from sites that don't
        currently produce it. So I hassle the webmaster. It doesn't always work,
        but sometimes it does. I suggest you do the same.

        --
        Julian Bond eMail: julian@...
        HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
        WorkURL: http://www.netmarketseurope.com/
        WebLog: http://roguemoon.manilasites.com/
        M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)20 7420 4363
        ICQ:33679668 tag:So many words, so little time
      • Dave Winer
        Right on Julian. I m glad you had the courage to hit the Send key. My main question, beyond what you ve covered here, is how to evolve. Based on other uses of
        Message 3 of 18 , May 12 5:35 PM
          Right on Julian. I'm glad you had the courage to hit the Send key.

          My main question, beyond what you've covered here, is how to evolve.

          Based on other uses of version numbering in software, one would reasonably
          conclude that 1.0 came after 0.92, but that's not true. And what of future
          versions? And what if RSS starts getting press? Or would it already *be*
          getting press if it were not for the confusion?

          Perhaps you have some ideas about this as well.

          Dave

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Julian Bond" <julian@...>
          To: <syndication@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2001 12:47 PM
          Subject: Re: [syndication] Evangelizing RSS


          > Sometime it helps to wait a day or two before hitting the send key. I
          > shouldn't even have to say this, but I'm not trying to be contentious
          > here, I'm trying to get some perspective.
          >
          > I came to this late, long after the major work was done on defining rss.
          > I've read enough and done enough research to understand some of the
          > sources of the discontent, but I really wonder what all the fuss is
          > about. From where I'm standing, rss looks like a major success. I don't
          > have figures to back it up, but I suspect it's *the* most successful XML
          > format in terms of implementations. Anyone care to guess how many Mb of
          > rss data are created every day?
          >
          > The competing standards are close enough that from the point of view of
          > a consumer of rss, or a programmer parsing the data, the differences are
          > a small pain but really not hard.
          >
          > So without further ado. And in order from the ridiculous to the
          > sensible.
          >
          > Q: What is RSS?
          >
          > 1: It's a set of three letters that seem to create tension between
          > people whenever they're mentioned.
          >
          > 2: It's a name not an acronym. At least no one acronym. At various
          > times, it has been converted into an acronym meaning Rich Site Summary,
          > Really Simple Syndication or something else entirely.
          >
          > 3: It's one of several XML formats that Userland use to transport
          > information around various parts of the Userland cloud. Despite (or
          > perhaps, because of) their involvement in the development of several of
          > the rss variants, their use of rss is subtly different to everyone
          > else's. But the differences are so small as to be effectively irrelevant
          > and the Userland sites are a major source of information in rss format.
          >
          > 4: It's a name for a loose collection of related but subtly different
          > and competing standards using XML. The standards are simple enough that
          > it's easy to create the files either with code or by hand. They
          > are also close enough that it's fairly trivial to write code that can
          > read the data from any of them and do something useful with it. The
          > standards are designed to allow a content generation website to
          > syndicate its headlines to other websites in a simple, and easy to
          > create form. Inevitably, inventive people have thought of many other
          > sources and uses.
          >
          > It's hard to tell how many websites publish an RSS file but estimates
          > suggest there are now >4000 publically accessible rss feeds on the
          > internet. Manila and most of the "Slash" codesets like Scoop,
          > PHP-Nuke and Drupal generate rss by default. In addition, there are
          > several efforts round the web to convert existing websites into an rss
          > feed with or without the approval of the website owners. All this
          > suggests that the actual figure may be much higher. On the commercial
          > and semi-commercial side, Moreover, 10.am and others are collecting
          > headline data from mostly commercial sites, categorizing it and then re-
          > publishing it as rss, among other formats.
          >
          > 5. But above all, rss is really simple, simon. I bet if you stripped the
          > descriptions to the bone, you could fit all the variants on a single
          > sheet of A4. Even a pretty poor programmer, such as myself, can extract
          > the data from rss with a few string functions and generate it with a few
          > more.
          >
          > This is it's greatest strength.
          >
          > -----------------------------------------------------------------
          > So what to do?
          >
          > Well, if you manage a website, generate an rss file. Pick a format and
          > just do it, by hand if you have to. My preference would be for 0.92 but
          > if you prefer rdf, use 1.0. I don't care. And then make sure it's
          > obvious on your site where it is.
          >
          > For my uses, I keep wanting to pick up rss from sites that don't
          > currently produce it. So I hassle the webmaster. It doesn't always work,
          > but sometimes it does. I suggest you do the same.
          >
          > --
          > Julian Bond eMail: julian@...
          > HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
          > WorkURL: http://www.netmarketseurope.com/
          > WebLog: http://roguemoon.manilasites.com/
          > M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)20 7420 4363
          > ICQ:33679668 tag:So many words, so little time
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
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