Slug: status-autodiscovery-relstatus Date: 2009-11-24 Title: Status Autodiscovery (rel=status) layout: post

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS"
      href="url/to/rss/file">

7 or so years ago, the web community pretty much finalized the way that we were going to link from an HTML page to a subscription formatted version of same. This was called RSS Autodiscovery and it made the jump from “wow I like this person’s writing” to “I want to read everything this person writes here” a one-step process. Later on we added a variant for Atom feeds:

 <link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml"
       href="url/to/atom/file">

I was thinking this morning, while tending my garden of subscriptions, that it would be nice if Jeremy Keith’s website could tell me his Twitter handle as well as his feed location. (Yes, I know it’s @adactio - it’s an example, ok?) This got me thinking about autodiscovery, and, as I mentioned in my tweet, to an implementation idea:

<link rel="status" type="text/html"
      href="http://twitter.com/steveivy" title="twitter">

It’s not just for Twitter:

<link rel="status" type="text/html"
      href="http://identi.ca/steveivy" title="status.net">

[Update] And, lastly, combined with rel=me for identity consolidation (thanks Jeremy):

<link rel="me status" type="text/html"
      href="http://twitter.com/steveivy" title="twitter">

This would make the process of getting from “I like this person’s writing” to “I want to follow this person’s status updates” a much shorter distance.

This is about the simplest possible implementation - I can also imagine adding this sort of information into the web of meta-documents - but this gets us there today. I’d like to see support for this (or something like it) built into Tweetie, Seesmic, etc.

Just as feed autodiscovery let us just paste just about any blog url into a feed reader to subscribe to an author’s blog, status autodiscovery could do the same for following their status updates.

P.S. The rel value could be applied to normal hyperlinks as well:

<a href="http://twitter.com/steveivy"
   title="me on twitter" rel="status">@steveivy</a>

I have no idea what that would be used for, but that’s why I have smart readers like you.

P.P.S. I’ve added my twitter status <link> to this site.

P.P.P.S. Added rel=me version thanks to Jeremy’s reminder, and added to the microformats wiki on rel brainstorming.