RSS 1.1

January 19th, 2005

Looks like a couple of folks active in the rss-dev working group have taken Ian’s excellent RSS issues document to create RSS 1.1. This is a great idea, and one a long time coming.

The execution leaves me kind of cold. A list of changes from RSS 1.0 is given, however it’s written in some dialect (maybe high semweb geek?) that I don’t speak, so the disambiguations are ambiguous.
The major changes I can see are:

  • rdf:Seq has been removed in exchange for a more liberal of sprinkling of opaque RDF attributes. I’ve never figured out why rdf:Seq bothers people.
  • channel is now Channel
  • Channel is now the root element. Ick, that doesn’t match my internal modeling of what a channel is. But I’ll admit that is a personal thing.
  • through out the document the use of the rdf:about attribute on items is repeatable discouraged, which is unfortunate as this value acts as the defacto guid on RSS 1.0 feeds. Brent agrees. Already changed, apparently.
  • only allowed charsets are UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32. Umm, I have better tools for dealing Shift_JIS then UTF-32, not to mention the relative dominance of ISO-8859-1

What didn’t change

  • Not addressed one of the single ugliest outstanding issues in all RSS version, Markup In Core Elements. One of Atom’s clear advantages.
  • language is still confusing and inaccessible to non-RDF hackers
  • no standard for providing a unique identifier (like RSS 2.0’s guid and Atom’s id elements), and a distinct discouragement of the RSS 1.0 semi-equivalent.

I’m torn whether these changes are too drastic to justify a single sub-version increment (I’d expect all tools that work with RSS 1.0 to work with RSS 1.1, which won’t be true), or whether they’re too minor to justify adding yet another version of RSS into the already crowded, and confusing space.

I think Sean and Chris are doing good works, a clean up of the RSS 1.0 has been a long time coming. But my (very) quick glance at what they have says they haven’t nailed it here. Good discussion going on on rss-dev.

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