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Microsoft Extends RSS

Microsoft has announced Simple Shared Extensions for RSS and OPML. I’m not enough of a geek to understand or explain it all, but even I know this can be a very good and powerful thing. Basically, it allows synchronized cooperative work, allowing a set of data through RSS or OPML to be updated just like in your RSS aggregator.

The classic example is a calendar that exists as an RSS feed. Rather than pushing the last ten items, as a news feed does, an SSE feed would contain structured data. If you change the calendar, the feed changes, and a person can view the whole calendar, with refreshes coming extremely fast through RSS. While some applications have done a good job of public calendars and synchronized calendars, SSE-RSS allows a standard that any application can use. You could create a calendar in Outlook, publish it as RSS, and any calendar app in the world could display that calendar, including web-based apps.

Dave Winer seems quite happy:

Now, in 2005, almost ten years later, we may be grown-up enough to actually work this way. Microsoft’s new approach to synchronizing RSS and OPML, using methods pioneered in Ozzie’s earlier work, and keeping the “really simple” approach that’s worked so well with networked syndication and outlining, combines the best of our two schools of thought, and this creativity is available for everyone to use. It’s a proud moment for me, I hope for Ray and Jack and the rest of the people at Microsoft, and perhaps for the open development community on the Internet.

And ha also puts out a call for Google (specifically Adam Bosworth) to make this big:

This is how I got into XML in the first place. It was another Microsoft person, Adam Bosworth, who persistently and gently nudged me into working in this space. The result was what we’re working with today, now the ball has been picked up by Ray and Jack Ozzie. They didn’t work at Microsoft when Adam was pushing me. Now he works at Google, who could, with a single act, ratify this work and instantly make it a standard. Such power! One wonders if it will be used. The same power lives at Yahoo and Apple.

In some ways, Microsoft is giving the big “F you” to many of their own proprietary formats. Sure, there are apps in Microsoft that use their own formats, but as more and more applications become RSS-aware, more people will be able to work together even if they have different applications and different platforms, and they will be able to choose the best applications for the job, not the one compatible with their coworker’s applications.

Do you understand now why Ray Ozzie is so important to Microsoft?

Alex Barnett has a great roundup of the reaction.

November 21st, 2005 Posted by | Applications, General | 7 comments



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7 Comments »

  1. Microsoft 推出 RSS çš„åŠ å¼·ç‰ˆ SSE

    SSE 可以讓 RSS / ATOM 有雙向溝通的能力。

    剛看到一篇文章,說是 Microsoft 推出了一個 RSS / ATOM 的延伸規格 SSE;另ï…

    Trackback by 國生三年才開始 | November 22, 2005

  2. [...] In essence, I agree – while the overall format is fairly simple, and the logic outlined is fairly clear, there is a lot of aditional data added to RSS with these extensions – feeds using this technology could easily double in size, so I have to assume that Microsoft is counting on the continuing expansion of disk space and bandwidth to help with this.  As RSS and OPML start flying around the web in ever-greater volume, potentially in multiple recursive loops as one feed subscribes to another which subscribes to the first, (and so on), the demands for storage, bigger pipes, and faster processing will inevital come into play.  The additions right now, with the current installed base of RSS/OPML won’t make a huge difference, but as the technologies grow…. Paul Mooney: A forum where we can talk about it amongst implementers will be forthcoming. and Will this be in Office 11 or will it be part of Windows Live? Clearly those aren’t the only two choices, but are good ones to tart thinking about.  I would dearly love to see said forums, as well. Niall Kennedy supposes that developers will take a wait-and-see approach: “I think developers will wait and see what implementations of Simple Sharing Extensions take hold within Microsoft before coding against the developing specification. Having access to Microsoft’s large customer base will be enough motivation to drive adoption across each industry vertical the company touches. Dave Winer will continue to evangelize the idea throughout the industry as he has been for years. I think Atom can also be easily added as a supported format as the specification moves towards version 1.0.” Then proceeds to have working (proof of concept) code for NetNewsWire up just over 12 hours later.  I happen to agree that once Microsoft starts incorporating this into their current applications adoption in the wider world will come swiftly. Thomas Hawk proposes extending SSE into Media Center offerings.  “Money” quote: “Integrating media sharing into the digital home of tomorrow will be as important as integrating calendar and contact sharing. Right now Microsoft’s two primary media offerings Media Center Edition and Windows Media Player are not sophisticated enough to assign user preference to media, hopefully this is another challenge that Ray will take on.” I’m not much of a Media Center person myself, but it does seem as though the Media Center platform and its inheirators are likely to be the route into the living room and family life, not just for Microsoft, but for any other company that wants to get there.  Intergrating seamless sharing technology between different people’s preferences for media is a reasonable goal. Eran Globen take a microformats/XHTML view: “Calendar data? Easy. Contacts? Easy. Just use hCalendar and hCard to represent those. What did you just get? Is this a feed of your events that also serves as your calendar? Amazing! And importing contacts into your favorite PIM application is as easy as applying a XSLT? Magic! Synchronization can be done as per Microsoft’s schema or, since we’re just dealing with XHTML here, use any existing solution.” I’m not sure I agree that XHTML is going to replace RSS as a publication mechanism, though it’s possible, I suppose.   And microformats could be leveraged into this solution as it stands, I believe. Ian Kennedy: “Microsoft is clearly taking the lead of embracing and extending the functionality of RSS.” I agree, though this is certainly a different knd of “embrace and extend” then we’ve seen coming out of Redmond in the past.  The CC AttributonShareAlike 2.5 license is testament enough to that. The Creative Commons Blog has this interesting perspective: “Sharing calendars and contact lists, though conceptually very simple, turns out to be hard, as evinced by the lack of widely adopted solutions that work outside of a single website or corporate network. Sort of reminds one of the conceptual simplicity and harsh reality of sharing creative works, though the obstacles, largely technical and legal respectively, are very different (though something like “standards politics” plays a role in each).” ZDNet’s Dan Farber (and Steve Gillmor): It’s progress when Microsoft, Winer, Creative Commons and simple scenarios for making the Web more useful converge. I called attention obsessed Steve Gillmor to get his take. “SSE is the doorway to attention,” he pronounced. “Adding namespaces to RSS and OPML brings us to the era of the integration of the Web and the crown jewels of [Lotus] Notes: Replication. Replication creates the timestamp to close the loop on the fundamentals of attention–who (a feed), what (an item) and for how long (time). From those three things you can infer 99 percent of the data that makes attention valuable.” ‘Nuff said. Nathan Weinberg: “…as more and more applications become RSS-aware, more people will be able to work together even if they have different applications and different platforms, and they will be able to choose the best applications for the job, not the one compatible with their coworker’s applications.” Precisely! Danny Ayers is understandably, perhaps predictably, disappointed: “Rather than sharing, they’re ringfencing their own territory away from everyone else, a strategy likely to end in tears for them cometh Web 2.0.” I don’t happen to agree with that assessment – I believe that RSS is as much a part of Web 2.0 as Atom.  Indeed, if you look at the web landscape today, even more so.  I do agree, however, with Danny’s opinions of the URI and Date aspects.  Dates in RFC 822 is an annoyance in RSS, from my point of view (and thus an annoyance in SSE as well), and arbitrary strings for identfiers work great in the Windows Registry, but when I’m sending my data across the wire, or getting someone else’s, I’d much rather have an identifier I can resolve.  In fact it seems doubly silly since in order to be publishing this data you’re likely to have access to the original URIs. [...]

    Pingback by elliptical . . . » Blog Archive » Simple Sharing Extensions up close… | November 23, 2005

  3. How Simple Sharing Extensions Will Change the Web

    I’ve been studying Microsoft’s proposed new RSS extension, Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE), for a few days now. Authored by Groove’s Jack Ozzie and George Moromisato (pictured in this article towards the bottom), Simple Sharing Extensions has two b

    Trackback by web2.wsj2.com | November 26, 2005

  4. [...] More importantly, will Google Calendar use some company’s calendar format (not Googly), a brand-new incompatible format (Googly), offer converters from but not to other formats (very Googly, a year or two into the beta), or will Google do the smart and diplomatic thing? Will Google Calendar steal some of Microsoft’s thunder and support RSS SSE? [...]

    Pingback by » Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow  InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel | December 5, 2005

  5. [...] More importantly, will Google Calendar use some company’s calendar format (not Googly), a brand-new incompatible format (Googly), offer converters from but not to other formats (very Googly, a year or two into the beta), or will Google do the smart and diplomatic thing? Will Google Calendar steal some of Microsoft’s thunder and support RSS SSE? [...]

    Pingback by Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow at TechZap | December 5, 2005

  6. [...] More importantly, will Google Calendar use some company’s calendar format (not Googly), a brand-new incompatible format (Googly), offer converters from but not to other formats (very Googly, a year or two into the beta), or will Google do the smart and diplomatic thing? Will Google Calendar steal some of Microsoft’s thunder and support RSS SSE? [...]

    Pingback by Bloggin’ Around the Clock! » Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow | December 5, 2005

  7. [...] More importantly, will Google Calendar use some company’s calendar format (not Googly), a brand-new incompatible format (Googly), offer converters from but not to other formats (very Googly, a year or two into the beta), or will Google do the smart and diplomatic thing? Will Google Calendar steal some of Microsoft’s thunder and support RSS SSE? [...]

    Pingback by CyberVenuThomas.com » Blog Archive » Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow | December 6, 2005

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