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Re: Partyin' like it's 1999

  • To: xml-dev@l...
  • Subject: Re: Partyin' like it's 1999
  • From: Jeff Rafter <lists@j...>
  • Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 10:15:09 -0800
  • Cc: Eric Hanson <elh@c...>
  • In-reply-to: <20041029040017.A79613@a...>
  • References: <15725CF6AFE2F34DB8A5B4770B7334EE07206889@h...> <20041028210212.A27335@a...> <41819419.6000707@m...> <20041029040017.A79613@a...>
  • User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.8 (Windows/20040913)

thunderbird dns
>>Umm, RDDL?
> RDDL is great, and I think it would be a fundamental part of
> such an infrastructure.  But I don't think it is or was ever
> intended to be a mechanism for third parties to associate
> resources with a datatype in a universal fashion.  RDDL alone is
> a closed environment where resource associations are under the
> control of whoever owns the namespace.  RDDL is authoritative,
> first party info -- but that's just part of the equation. 

Clearly I am missing the problem here. It strikes me that you can do 
exactly what you want to do with RDDL. If you are adding an extension to 
an RSS document that is namespaced-- make sure you place an RDDL 
document at the end of the namespace. If you are implementing someone 
else's extension in your RSS document use their namespace (that points 
to an RDDL document). At the end, the RDDL document will describe 
plugins, rendering algorithms or what-have-you that can be employed by 
many or by specific aggregators (e.g. a style sheet to present the feed 
information in a customized fashion).

Then when Sally User subscribes to your feed in her favorite aggregator 
it encounters a namespace it does not recognize *attempts* to resolve 
the namespace hoping for something useful and finds the RDDL. Then it 
finds that there is a stylesheet it could use to display your 
extension-- prompts Sally to see if she really wants that and installs 
and executes it.

I don't understand how this is fundamentally different than setting up a 
name server for a DNS lookup-- apart from the propagation of the entry 
throughout the distributed database. Regardless though I think the 
distributed database is intended to solve a different problem-- I think 
it is acceptable to have the RDDL entry maintained at one location-- if 
it fails, then it is likely that the associated resources would fail.

The remaining problem is when I want to write a stylesheet for someone 
else's namespace. How does one discover it? In this case I see what you 
are driving at but would still shy away from a distributed database. It 
seems like you might accomplish much of what you want simply by adding 
in additional RDDL pointers:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" 

In any event I don't think I would want random people making assertions 
about any namespace they want. I wouldn't want to load up my aggregator 
and have 7000 popups for extensions/plugins to RSS... requiring it to be 
embedded in the document at least gives you a source for any malicious 
plugins. For more broad range applications the aggregator itself can 
host a site for extensions (a la Firefox or Thunderbird).

Jeff Rafter


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