inessential by Brent Simmons


On the subject of NetNewsWire requiring that Atom feeds be well-formed XML, Mark Pilgrim wrote:

A member of the RSS advisory board -- a group whose charter explicitly states that you "advocate for RSS" -- has announced that he will use his product's dominant market position to punish his own paying customers by applying a double standard that makes Atom appear less useful than RSS.

I'm not usually given to conspiracy theories, but Jesus H. Christ, are you f$@#ing kidding me?

Good question.

I’m not trying to cut down on Atom’s chance of being popular. On the contrary—what I haven’t expressed is that I’m excited by the chance to do this right, to not have the ugly workarounds in my code that exist just to parse that minority of bad RSS feeds.

I certainly didn’t discuss my decision with other members of the RSS board.

If Atom’s popularity is dependent on whether parsers are liberal or not, then that’s a problem with Atom, or Atom feed generators, not the parsers. I don’t think that this is the case: I think Atom will be popular whether parsers are strict or liberal. And I think NetNewsWire will help Atom become popular.

What I’d like to see is a commitment to well-formed XML on the part of everybody that has anything to do with Atom. Atom has the chance to set a high standard, not just as a good spec but as good-in-practice. I bet Mark agrees with me on this.