inessential by Brent Simmons

Notes on RSS 2.0

From my point of view as a developer who builds apps that read RSS feeds, the RSS 2.0 spec has at least one major practical benefit: I did not have to change one line of code in my software to support it.

As an implementor, rather than a spec designer, this pleases me immensely.

It’s my position to remain agnostic regarding RSS specs: I’m not going to endorse one over another.

Lots of people want RSS to do lots of different things. That’s totally fine by me—but what I want from RSS is what it already supplies. Most items in most feeds have title, description, and link fields. That’s what I want.

The other thing I want is not to have to play catch-up. I don’t want to be always revising my software to catch up to the latest spec. For RSS adoption to continue, stability is important. Developers should not spend their time scrambling to support new specs: they should spend their time building better apps.

So. Even though I won’t endorse any one spec, I’ll be happy to say when a spec pleases me, and RSS 2.0 does indeed please me.