RSS won the
Battle over Atom and other Syndication Protocols
November 7th 2005
Pluck Feed Reader
RSS appears to have conquered the last
hurtle in becoming the industry syndication standard.
Microsoft's inclusion of RSS into the newest version of Internet
Explorer and reports that RSS will be in Longhorn's coming release
appears to be the final nail in the coffin of the Atom specification.
Even Atom's steadfast supporter Google, appears to have seen the light.
Google had previously acquired Blogger, a popular blogging tool that
uses the Atom specification to syndicate the contents of blogs created
on the Blogger platform. In the past Google had strategically steered
clear of endorsing the RSS specification hoping that Atom, would take
Google's recent new service that allows web surfers to monitor Google
News using either RSS or Atom feeds, appears to be an acknowledgment
that perhaps in purchasing Blogger, they chose the wrong specification.
The adoption of a syndication standard was slowed by
the struggle between Atom and RSS. Two defined syndication standards
vying for the number one position. In an IT industry that clearly favors
single standard solutions, Atom supporters claimed added flexibility,
but RSS' wide sweeping support from heavy hitters like Microsoft, Apple
and Yahoo. Along with the popularity surge of podcasting, which is based
on the RSS 2.0 specification appears to have sealed the fate of the
future syndication standard.
The history and relationship between RSS and Atom is a sordid tale that
has hindered the progress of an online syndication standard. Now that
the leader has been defined their is little in the way of RSS' growth.
Businesses leery of becoming entwined in a standards struggle are now
embracing RSS as a communication channel.
It is clear that those who have lined up behind RSS as the leading
specification are the winners.
Oddly enough, while those entrenched in the industry acknowledge the
difficulties with a dual standard, users rarely see a difference in
feeds created using the Atom and RSS standards. Most popular RSS readers
support reading feeds in both formats. Though the purpose of RSS and
Atom is the same, the specification itself is very different, making it
difficult and time consuming for tool developers to move between the
Now that Atom's attempt at replacing RSS has fallen flat, the
syndication arena will likely see significant innovation and progress.
Large companies are taking advantage of RSS' extendibility using
namespaces adding needed tags. Apple has done this with iTunes,
Microsoft for ordered lists, and Yahoo with MediaRSS. All use the same
basic RSS 2.0 format but supports defined RSS' future is bright with
many companies working proactively to unite a once divided standard.
Sharon manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing,
publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing
for FeedForDev an RSS component
Keywords and misspellings: Pod-cast pod cast