mark nottingham

RFC 4287: The Atom Syndication Format

Monday, 5 December 2005

Web Feeds

Atom has finally realised its most important advantage over the various flavours of RSS — it’s a Standards-Track RFC.

What does this mean? It doesn’t mean that it’s (necessarily) technically better, is easier to use, or will be more broadly adopted. Hopefully, it will have these things due to the quality of the WG participants and exposure to the resources of the IETF.

What it does mean is that there isn’t any contention at all about who owns it and the specification is stable, with a well-understood change process. This doesn’t sound like much, but it can be sorely missed when you don’t have it, whether you’re dealing with a single person or with a huge company.

Congratulations to everybody who worked so hard in the Working Group, especially Tim Bray and Paul Hoffman, as well as Sam Ruby, who all put in overtime herding cats.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank Robert Sayre, my co-editor. I was the original editor in the early days of Atom, but when the Addressing WG came along, I became too busy to do it. Tim and Paul found Robert, and he took charge of getting the revisions out without missing a beat. Thanks, Robert!