Simon Willison’s Weblog

Problems with RSS

Tim Bray explains RSS to an imaginary bank manager:

Mr Safe: Well, I’ve learned that sometimes we have to take little risks on these Internet standards, and they pay off. RSS is an Internet Standard, right?

Tim: Well, er, actually, no standards organization has actually blessed RSS. But lots of Internet technology comes up from the grassroots like this, you know.

Mr Safe: Yes, you kids have a phrase, don’t you: “Rough consensus and running code,” wasn’t that it? I have to admire the way you engineers work together to get things done.

Tim: Well, actually, there are at least two competing versions of RSS, but we seem to interoperate OK.

Mr Safe: Yes, and I suppose the people behind them are working together constructively to bring order to the landscape.

Tim: Well, actually, the dialogue tends to devolve into childish name-calling. But the stuff does still seem to work really well.

It’s pretty much RSS in a nut-shell :)

This is Problems with RSS by Simon Willison, posted on 20th June 2003.

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Previously hosted at http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2003/06/20/problems