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Preview: Comments on: The “invention” of RSS and the snowball effect

Comments on: The “invention” of RSS and the snowball effect



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By: Cleo Saulnier

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 01:57:03 +0000

RSS achieved success not because it's good, but because there was nothing else around that was any better. If something else comes out that works better, RSS will be gone tomorrow. Bloggers needed ways to inform users of new articles. RSS was not the only attempt, and RSS itself is still not well integrated into tools. Many RSS tools are still separate apps. As an invention, I would not want to be associated with it. It's a clunky concept based on polling. Nothing new here. Just like the rest of the Web, it's yet another badly strung together idea that doesn't work well with anything else. RSS is rather forced as a concept. Just like CSS, XML, client-side scripting languages (ever try using something other than JS?) and all the rest, the web is the new DOS. Only thing is that at least with DOS, you didn't have to worry that the architecture changed at any given time. With the web, you're constantly writing hacks to make it seem like everything is in order. That's no way to do things. I'm an optimist. And maybe a dreamer. But we need a web where the client's browser functionality is not limited. As much as we look at the web as something that provides content, so is the opposite true. Humans provide servers with content. So I believe that the browser should have a well-defined API so that web content can be displayed properly using whatever tools they want. Unfortunately, there's this other bad idea going around that portability is achieved with VM's (completely false BTW). And so we're stuck with things like RSS, XML and a backwards look at how software should be. With the New Year, it could signify starting fresh and doing things right. Who knows? Maybe someone will come out with something that's actually fun to work with.



By: Chad Dickerson

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 00:07:25 +0000

Scott, your account of Salon's use of RSS is right on the money as I recall. I believe we rolled it out in 1999. It wasn't until much later that I even became acquainted with the various RSS debates -- we were just doing what was convenient to us at the time.