Blog posts tagged "privaterss"

Private Feeds, and Atom as Open Pipe

January 25th, 2005

Tim Bray has a short entry on Private Syndication this morning, which I by and large agree with. Personal feeds make sense; they make sense from the perspective of business workflow , content model, and a scalability.

In order to make it happen we really need an updated list of what aggregator support which key features. HTTPAuth (at least Basic, if not Digest) and SSL are the fundamental building blocks of private feeds, with the addition that the major aggregator services need to be aware that content could be negoiated at auth time. The only list I know of is from July 2003.

I was puzzled and pleased to see his closing line:

One detail: I think that for this kind of content-critical, all-business feed, Atom is a more attractive choice than any of the RSS flavors.

Which is odd, because all of the time I’ve spent with the Atom community (which was admittedly still called Pie/Echo at the time) was focused on blogs to the exclusion of all else, and all arguments I made about the potential of pushing other forms of data over this new format were ignored/squelched.

For example, an Atom feed, requires every entry to have an author element, which is defined as a Person contruct. Who is the “person” in an Atom feed generated by your “bank account, credit card, or stock portfolio”?

Additionally perhaps the language of the spec needs to be updated with some namespace best practices, and some non-blog examples?

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Magpie 0.6

April 24th, 2004

MagpieRSS 0.6 is out. It was a rather long alpha, hopefully that means people tried it, and it worked.

Key features are

  • support for private RSS feeds (via SSL, and HTTP Auth Basic) is working again.
  • refactored the code to support Atom’s “content constructs”, now supports: atom:title, atom:tagline, atom:copyright, atom:info, atom:summary, and atom:content. Thanks to Tim Bishop for feedback and encouragement.

update: – where “refactor” meant introduced bugs. MagpieRSS 0.61 is now out.


Quick review
  • Content is normalized. You can access core RSS elements using Atom field names and visa vera.
  • atom:content is stored in $item['atomcontent'] to avoid clashing with RSS modcontent.
  • content constructs are flattened (as if they were always mode="escaped")
  • Everything else is concatted into hierachical namespace.
  • I’ve made no attempt to support base64 encoding

Private RSS (and Atom)

  • To access a feed via SSL use the https:// scheme, e.g.
  • To access a feed behind basic HTTP authentication include the username and password in the URL, e.g.
  • And, no surprises here, you can combine them
It would be useful if someone could step up and maintain a list of aggregators that support private RSS feeds, a matrix of support for SSL, HTTP Basic Auth, and HTTP Digest Auth, like Ted has done for GZIP encoding. (Danny started to put together a feature matrix but it looks like that project was stillborn.)

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