Is RSS team pushing people to ATOM?

Netscape has decided to remove RSS DTD, but – under brunt of developers’ fury and logic – brought it back. But until July 1st only!

Given that back in 1999 Netscape, insisted that RSS documents must be validated, this feels more than a little annoying. And given that – as a developer of web content – I cannot control which client my users will use to read my feeds, I don’t have too many options. I cannot wait until July to find out whether every RSS reader will start caching the DTD or whether Netscape/AOL will relent and promise to keep the file as long as they own the domain (I might forgive them if AOL dies…).

In practical term, it means a switch to ATOM as a syndication format for all my feeds. I was planning to look into it anyway, but now Netscape/AOL is forcing me to. The main delay was in switching users over from RSS to ATOM, but maybe I can do it by only advertising ATOM feed to the new users and adding ‘deprecated’ message to the RSS feed items.

2 thoughts on “Is RSS team pushing people to ATOM?”

  1. This seems a little like a worrying about people using horse and buggy. Netscape’s market share is miniscule and shrinking.

    It would be a lot of hassle to switch all your feeds from one system to another and a lot of less techie readers probably wouldn’t understand the distinction. Bloglines does, I think, both but when I subscribe to a new feed I usually just tick the top box without worrying about which protocol I’m using. If I had to suddenly change them all it might prompt a rethink and I’d end up dropping feeds.

  2. Caitlin, the problem is not that Netscape is going away. The problem is that its disappearance (or it removing the files in questions) will break the feeds for the users.

    So, you could wake up one morning and discover that – unbeknown to you, but because of this issue – half of your RSS feeds are broken. You probably would tolerate it for a day or to, but then drop the feed. I suspect you would not go back to the original site and try to unsubscribe again.

    So, the more readers I have now on RSS, the more of them will drop out when the deadline hits. To minimise that, I want to get all the new readers onto ATOM transparently and as soon as possible, while still being friendly to the RSS users.

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