Slug: dave-and-rss-stop-breaking-my-software Date: 2001-01-20 Title: “Dave and RSS: Stop Breaking My Software!” layout: post

OK, I didn't trash Dave before. Now I'm ready to. Dave has made a big deal about RSS 0.91 being his format of choice for content syndication. Now he's developing RSS 0.92 on his own, and writing tools that not only use the new elements of RSS 0.92, but his software has stopped using the tags RSS 0.91 introduced! How are we supposed to join Dave's "flow" if he swaps out features on us?

Case in point, and the reason for this rant: I'm working on an outline-based RSS reader (to be announced shortly) and decided that I wanted Adam Curry's weblog to be one of my sources. Look at this RSS 0.92(d2) file that is on Adam's site. Now Adam is using Userland's latest gizmo, a content-thingy that runs on the desktop but uses a web interface. It is generating Adam's RSS file. RSS 0.91 defines elements for headlines like <title>, <link>, and <description>. Most every other RSS 0.91 file on the planet uses these three elements to describe the news content in their file. Most RSS clients/readers, mine included, assume that they will find at the least a <title> and <link> in there to work with. Common sense would say that the <description> is optional - in fact, so does Dave.

What do you se in that RSS 0.92 file? Adam's <item>s (through no fault of his)have only a <description> (with the link embedded as escaped HTML <a> tags) and one of version 0.92's tags: <source>. Now what, pray tell, are RSS-based tools supposed to do with that?

Dave - stop breaking my software!