Heal Your Church WebSite


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Inverting a Proposal: Weblogs for RSS

I’ve been reading with some amusement the religious debate over at Six Log with respect to Ben Trott’s A Proposal: RSS for Weblogs. Here it is straight from the source:

What we need is a profile of RSS specific to weblogs: “RSS for Weblogs”.

RSS 1.0 and 2.0 are designed for extensibility, and can be used to represent non-weblog data. Currently they’re really only being used for weblogs/news feeds, and Dave has said in the past that RSS is intended only as a news/syndication format. But the point of making RSS extensible is so that new features can easily be added, and new types of data can be represented.

Of course, no statement by someone of Ben’s stature goes unnoticed by David Winer … who via various comments on Ben’s post, appears to be in violent agreement with Ben. And why not, it is a good idea. The problem is, who else besides those participating in the thread cares?

Think about it, we can’t even get users to upgrade their free browsers. Nor can we get (church) web sites to give up deprecated HTML. Now we’re going to get everyone to sit up straight and play right with RSS?

But being the optimist, I do think there is a way to force this issue in a friendly way. Running blogs4God, I can tell you that much blogging is done by otherwise technophobes who use whatever templates and tags Blogger gives them. And as a result, I’ve been begging myself blue in the face to get these people to RSSify their page on ANY level. Heck, I’ll even take comment tags at this point.

But Ben Trott is in an interesting situation. With the incipient arrival of TypePad, why not turn the tables and render blogs in a strict RSS format, and then offer client apps to transform the data as each user pleases? Yeah, that’s a big step. So why not render everyone’s blog in a strict RSS format, and and provide them with some stock templates to render the pages for equally technophobic as an (X)HTML page for those still using browsers? Meanwhile, the rest of us will use aggregators that no longer have to try and REGEX their way through HTML hell just to figure out who said what.

Here is how I put it in a shorter, more concise comment back on Ben & Mena’s blog

Which is why I suggest rendering blogs as RSS by default, providing HTML as a secondary interface for those still nursing a browser dependency. It would be alot easier then to say “this is the RSS for blogging, and this is how you’re going to render it if you want to play.”

In other words, maybe with blogs becoming RSS, aggregators will become browsers. Either way, it would give individuals using services such as Blogger incentive to move over to TypePad.

Okay, enough inverted thinking. Time for bed.

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