mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Sunday, 15 February 2004


A Strategy for Atom Migration

One of the problems facing the syndication community as a whole is the number of formats that have been minted. This a particular concern for Atom as the newcomer; a common argument against it is that RSS content will never go away, so it’s just adding to this problem.

Somebody has probably come up with this already, but it strikes me that this might be mitigated if there were simple extensions for each format that advertised the availability of the feed (or channel, or whatever you want to call it) in other formats.

Then, aggregators and other clients could have a “preferred” format that they would always look for, automatically using it when that format becomes available.

Over time, this would result in the deployed software actually in use determining what format becomes dominant, without the millstone of perpetual, multiple format support; content providers would be able to look at their Web server logs and determine which formats are falling out of favour, and then deprecate them when demand falls below a reasonable level.

In some ways, this is analogous to HTTP’s Upgrade mechanism; it allows a deployed technology to be replaced by something more successful when the market wants it.

Will this work? Any aggregator vendors interested in supporting such a module?

One Comment

Sam Ruby said:

An Atom feed could certainly have a feed level element that exactly matches the autodiscovery links such as you already have on this page, i.e.:

<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”RSS” href=”” />

Sunday, February 15 2004 at 5:10 AM