Thursday, 12 June 2003
Identifying RSS-Like Formats
I’m surprised by Dave Winer’s continuing reluctance to identify RSS 2.0 with a namespace, given how strongly he feels about interoperability and respecting format definitions.
If RSS 2.0 had a namespace, the conformance and semantics of a particular RSS document would be unambiguous - if you use the namespace, you follow the spec.
Versioning doesn’t buy you this, because there isn’t any management of the version namespace - anybody can say “that’s RSS 2.0”, and only people that recognize Dave as the owner of 2.0 will acknowledge that his is the spec to follow.
Of course, it would be even better if people didn’t use the term “RSS” to identify multiple formats. That situation brings problems with humans, but it doesn’t directly cause interoperability problems between computers.
As it is, RSS is a conceptual term, like “Wiki” is. When I go to a Wiki, I don’t expect it to necessarily have the same markup conventions as my own; it might be completely different technically, but it’s still a Wiki. In the same manner, RSS is a shared concept; it’s definately not a shared format.