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Re: [RSS-DEV] RSS 1.1

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean+rss@infomesh.net>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:02:28 +0000
Message-ID: <41EE6874.6030700@infomesh.net>
To: t.hammond@nature.com
CC: rss-dev@yahoogroups.com, www-rdf-interest@w3.org

Hammond, Tony wrote:

> 1. The one thing that really sticks out for me is the (rather silly?)
> capitalization on the 'Channel' element

[I'll reply to this in another thread.]

> Abstract has 'popular RSS 1.0'. 2. Motivation has demoted this to 
> 'however, uptake for RSS 1.0 has been relatively limited'. Do we need
> to decide?

It's popular but could've been better. Obviously we don't want to set
out to underemphasize RSS 1.0's achievements, which would have been an
easy trap to fall into given that we're seeking to phase it out, but at
the same time we feel that RSS 1.1 is a significant step forward and
need to convey that in the motivation.

We'd certainly be happy to entertain alternative suggestions, however,
if you would like to propose some concrete text.

> Abstract has 'RSS 1.1. is as extensible as RSS 1.0 and can even make 
> use of its extension modules.' All sounds a bit desperate to me.

Desperate in which way? When people read about RSS 1.1 for the first
time, they're going to be in tabula rasa mode, which is to say that they
don't know a single thing about the format. The easiest way to explain
its nature is to compare it feature-by-feature with other formats--RSS
1.0 being the obvious choice for such comparisons.

If I were an RSS 1.0 user coming across RSS 1.1 for the first time, I'd
be concerned as to whether anything that I'm using in RSS 1.0 has been
taken away, and how steep my upgrade path is going to be. The fact that
you can extend it in pretty much the same way, even to the extent of
being able to use the old admin module etc., is a pretty important fact.

> 1. Introduction [...] We would argue that RSS 1.0 (and by extension 
> 1.1 ;) is not just for 'up-to-the minute' syndication but represents 
> a generic format for distributing content using a specific RDF 
> profile.

Agreed. We'll seek to re-word this. Ironically, given their
non-normative status, the Introduction and Motivation sections were
probably the most difficult to write :-)

> 2. Motivation. 'RSS 0.92, RSS 2.0, and Atom'. Is that right? - I 
> don't know. Is '0.92' more successful than '0.91'?

Actually, you're probably right. Before we published the specification,
I took googlecounts of various version numbers:

"RSS 0.9": 117,000
"RSS 0.90": 152,000
"RSS 0.91": 1,690,000
"RSS 0.92": 516,000
"RSS 1.0": 6,030,000
"RSS 1.1": 459
"RSS 2.0": 9,520,000
"RSS 3.0": 9,330

I was unable to include Atom, of course, due to its multiple senses.

I'd consider half a million mentions of RSS 0.92 rather successful, but
wouldn't mind switching to RSS 0.91 in the text in question.

> 2. Motivation. 'however, uptake for RSS 1.0 has been relatively 
> limited'. Again true? How limited is 'relatively'?

Relative to RSS 1.1, we hope. This is mainly Christopher's point, and
relates to the inception of RSS 1.1 in general: RSS 1.0 had features
that put him off to a great extent when he first came across the format,
and hence impeded his use thereof--and even his liking of RDF in
general. He subsequently came to understand that it really could be
improved; that time and circumstance had been the main reason behind
some of RSS 1.0's grotesquenesses, and that many other people shared his
beliefs. I just happened to be closest to him when he was venting.

As for me, I've been irritated by RSS 1.0 architecturally for different
reasons since at least November 2001 [1]. It's been wonderful to have a
chance to resolve them properly.

> 2. Motivation. 'developing the other descendant of RSS 1.0, Atom'. 
> Excuse me. I wasn't aware that Atom, as such, was a descendant of RSS
> 1.0.

More politically than technically. I do still like your little summary
diagram here though:


But Atom was politically a response to Dave Winer's publishing RSS 2.0,
which itself was a response to RSS 1.0, and I think that more of the
latter camp went to Atom than to RSS 2.0 :-)

> 3. Just a minor point. The <url> element. Why?

Yes, I can safely say that <url> is one of the grotesquenesses. But our
intention has been to ensure that producers of RSS 1.0 have minimal
upgrade impact, which means that we're not opposed to people having a
harmless <url> element lying around. RSS 1.0 requires it, so RSS 1.1
deprecates it. We can always remove it in RSS 1.2.

> Yours, vehemently opposed, etc.

Sincerely delighted, and with many thanks,

[1] <http://rdfig.xmlhack.com/2001/10/22/2001-10-22.html

Sean B. Palmer, http://inamidst.com/sbp/
Received on Wednesday, 19 January 2005 14:03:06 UTC

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