XML

Microsoft Considers Atom to Be an RSS Format

Looks like Microsoft will be considering Atom an “RSS format” in Windows Vista.

From the Windows Vista Developer Center RSS homepage:

Windows Vista will support all common RSS formats, including: RSS 1.0, 2.0 and Atom 0.3. We will support Atom 1.0 when it’s released.

And from the RSS Support in Longhorn article:

RSS, as we use it in this document, refers not to a single format (such as RSS 2.0), but to the general concept of feeds of syndicated content. It should be considered to cover all feed formats that meet the basic criteria of updateable [sic] collections of items.

I do see why Microsoft has chosen to define RSS this way, and at the same time I don’t.

There really isn’t a term that exclusively encapsulates both “RSS” and “Atom.” You could say the word “feed,” though that can include other formats such as OPML.

But don’t you think “feed” is more technically accurate and user-friendly than “RSS” when describing both RSS and Atom?

Does Xanga Have RSS?

The answer: yes, it does!

I really don’t know why this isn’t publicized more, but each Xanga blog has its very own RSS feed. You don’t even need to be a Xanga member to access the feeds.

Just enter the following URL into your feed aggregator, replacing the word username with the username of the Xanga blogger to whose blog you want to subscribe:

http://www.xanga.com/rss.aspx?user=username

Xanga bloggers, be sure to announce on your blog the fact that you have an RSS feed! (The sidebar is a great place to show off your new-found site syndication options.) This also applies to users of other blogging services. Having an RSS feed, a link to which is plainly visible, can increase the number of readers and will allow subscribers to read your blog without having to remember to visit your website.

IE 7 To Adopt Firefox RSS Icon

About three months ago, the Microsoft RSS Team posted a request for feedback on various proposed RSS icons.

About two months later, Microsoft announced that they would be using the same RSS icon as Firefox.

I’m excited to announce that we’re adopting the icon used in Firefox. John and Chris were very enthusiastic about allowing us (and anyone in the community) to use their icon. This isn’t the first time that we’ve worked with the Mozilla team to exchange ideas and encourage consistency between browsers, and we’re sure it won’t be the last.

Actually, the icons aren’t identical, but they are very close:

Firefox 1.5: Firefox's RSS Icon
Internet Explorer 7: Internet Explorer's RSS Icon

Shortly after the Internet Explorer announcement, the Outlook team announced that they’ll be using the same icon in the next version of Outlook (currently known as Outlook 12).

I find it surprising that Microsoft would be willing to work together with its biggest competitor in the browser market — and vice versa. The only possible explanation for such cooperation that I can think of is a genuine attention to the needs of the end-user on the part of Microsoft and Mozilla. Which is really good; it means a further step towards XML feed identification consistency, something sorely lacking as evidenced by the array of XML buttons available today.

Google’s New RSS Reader

Google announced earlier this month that they’ve released a new RSS reader, dubbed “Google Reader,” in Google Labs. Like the Google Personalized Homepage, the Reader is designed to present the web user with personalized content, but the Reader is dedicated entirely to feed reading. Visit the Google Reader homepage to start subscribing. Oh by the way, my blog has an RSS feed. ;-)

I tried out the reader briefly, but personally, I think for now I’ll stick with Firefox for my RSS reading. In these early stages the reader just seems too… clumsy to use for my taste.