Hammersley, Ben. Content Syndication with RSS. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly, 2003. ISBN 0-596-00383-8.
Sometimes the process of setting standards for the Internet just leaves you wanting to avert your eyes. The RSS standard, used by Web loggers, news sites, and other to provide “feeds” which apprise other sites of updates to their content is a fine example of what happens when standards go bad. At first, there was the idea that RSS would be fully RDF compliant, but then out came version 0.9 which used RDF incompletely and improperly. Then came 0.91, which stripped out RDF entirely, which was followed by version 1.0, which re-incorporated full support for RDF along with modules and XML namespaces. Two weeks later, along came version 0.92 (I'm not making this up), which extended 0.91 and remained RDF free. Finally, late in 2002, RSS 2.0 arrived, a further extension of 0.92, and not in any way based on 1.0—got that? Further, the different standards don't even agree on what “RSS” stands for; personally, I'd opt for “Ridiculous Standard Setting”. For the poor guy who simply wants to provide feeds to let folks know what's changed on a Web log or site, this is a huge mess, as it is for those who wish to monitor such feeds. This book recounts the tawdry history of RSS, provides examples of the various dialects, and provides useful examples for generating and using RSS feeds, as well as an overview of the RSS world, including syndication directories, aggregators, desktop feed reader tools, and Publish and Subscribe architectures.

November 2004 Permalink