RSS 1.1

I had no idea that people were working on RSS 1.1!

A quick look suggests it’s a cleaned-up version of 1.0. The text of the draft says as much, “RSS 1.1 is hence to be considered a bugfix and streamline release of RSS 1.0 for users of RSS 1.0 who do not want to migrate to Atom.”

It looks good. I like it. My favorite change is removing that items sequence thing that was in RSS 1.0.

But there is a little bad news in here too, unfortunately. I’ll explain:

In RSS 1.0, every <item> had to have an rdf:about attribute that functioned as a unique identifier. NetNewsWire used this as the equivalent of an RSS guid or an Atom id.

Unique identifiers are hugely important to aggregators. Huge. I can’t stress this often enough or strongly enough.

In RSS 1.0 these unique identifiers were mandatory. In RSS 1.1, they are not mandatory. This is a step backwards.

Is there any way that this could be changed?

Update 5:00 p.m.: I heard from Sean Palmer—and it’s not too late to change it. In the next draft of the RSS 1.1 specification the rdf:about attribute will be required. I’m quite pleased.

18 Jan 2005

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