Re: RE: Great piece on RSS
10/8/2002 4:52:03 PM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@i...> wrote: > >REST must die. What we really need is a weaker UDDI. ;-) More cryptic than usual today, Len. I'm missing the connection with RSS. Or maybe that's the point somehow? I found the article Mr. Winer linked to quite interesting in that it applied Shirky's thought-provoking parallels between evolutionary theory and the Web to XML and RSS. I was intrigued, however by the rhetorical device of calling the alternative to full-blown namespace wellformed and RDF compliant RSS 1.0 "RSS 0.9x/2.0". They seem to be two different beasts: "RSS 0.9x" is explicitly "XML" in appearance only, i.e., is clearly processable by the proverbial Desperate Perl Hacker that uses XML's syntactic patterns but not its "draconian error handling" philosophy. It has been evolved from all sorts of work at Netscape, Userland, and elsewhere (I will leave the job of sorting out the highly controversial details to future Ph. D students in Techno-History) and clearly has succeeded in its ecological niche. "RSS 2.0" on the other hand, is all of a month old, is controlled by Mr. Winer alone, and a casual reading of Mr. Winer's esteemed weblog leaves one with the impression that it has caused considerable challenges and inconveniences to its early adopters. I'm no fan of the complexity in XML (and namespaces in practice) but it seems obvious that if one is going to claim compliance with a spec, one should comply with it. If you're going to ransack it for ideas, say you're ransacking it. RSS 0.9x does this explicitly, whereas Mr. Winer's charmingly informal specification implies that it is well-formed, namespace-compliant XML. If indeed it is the hardy cockroaches that survive the flame wars of the Web, then the half-joking proposal for "RSS 3.0" will end up on top. XML is overkill for Really Simple Syndication formats that don't need the hierarchical and recursive structure that XML supports, because without the draconian error handling and namespace well-formedness constraints, (not to mention the array of additional tools such as XSLT that can be brought to bear on "real" XML) XML is just a verbose way of labelling text values. If one is not interested in leveraging the parsers that actually implement XML, a 1-line Python program is a more evolutionarily stable "meme" than reams of Desperate Perl Hackery.
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