Saturday, March 13, 2004

RSS and Atom merged into one format?

Atom versus RSS and RSS versus Atom. Does it make a difference as long as you have a newsfeed for your site?

The future of syndication is confused at the moment with Blogger supporting only Atom and with most newsreaders at this point in time only supporting RSS. That's why it's interesting that Dave Winer, the main force behind RSS as the "one and only" syndication system is now suggesting that RSS and Atom merge.

After discussing the importance of RSS and recent successes of RSS, Winer states that RSS is in a position of strength to make an offer:

So from this strength, I've outlined a plan to merge RSS and Atom, much the same way we merged UserLand's format with Netscape's format in 1999. By making this offer to the Atom people I'm giving them a chance to get out of conflict with RSS. I think it's something users can support. I hope they get together and make a serious counter. Why shouldn't they?

The plan itself can be found HERE.

It would be nice to have a single format, but I don't see it ever happening. I don't want to get into the egos involved on both sides, nor is it necessary to get into the technical issues. Let's just say it would be something like the VHS and Beta people getting together in the 70's to combine the best of both formats into one format that would be backward compatible with Beta.