RSS Advisory Board

Linking to the RSS 2.0 Specification

As chairman of the RSS Advisory Board, I've been called into two discussions recently about where people should link when referring to RSS 2.0.

There are two leading contenders: the RSS 2.0 specification published by the board and an older copy archived by Dave Winer.

The board's web site moved off Harvard's server in January 2006 to our own domain, We've published the RSS 2.0 specification since 2003 and the current version of the document will always have the permanent URL Our transition from Harvard's server to our own was described here.

Contrary to some claims I've read, the specification does not include new RSS elements or attributes that differ from what the board published prior to the server move. The only changes we've made to the document were administrative ones described in an August 2006 proposal and vote.

We're a public group that operates under a charter and has members from Microsoft, Yahoo, Netscape, Six Apart, BlogLines and others in the RSS community. I was asked to join in 2004 by Winer, who resigned shortly thereafter. I recently began a new two-year term as chair.

The copy of the RSS 2.0 specification archived by Winer is a just an older version of the spec. The board has archived the same version along with all of the older specs, for historical purposes.

There's contention within the RSS community about our work, as there is with anything involving RSS and syndication. But we've been conservative in regard to the specification and all other matters related to the format. We're primarily a place where people can get help with the format and developers can promote new namespaces and other ways to improve interoperability. Anyone who has questions about what we do is invited to join us on the public mailing list RSS-Public.

Chris Finke Joins RSS Advisory Board

Chris Finke, a senior engineer at Netscape, has joined the RSS Advisory Board.

Finke's a Netscape.Com and Netscape 9 browser developer as well as the creator of the Mozilla Firefox extensions RSS Ticker and OPML Support.

Netscape played a formative role in the development of RSS, publishing the first RSS specification in 1999 and spurring adoption by encouraging publishers to create feeds for the first aggregator -- the recently relaunched My.Netscape. Netscape published RSS 0.90, the common ancestor of both RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0.

For the past eight years, Netscape has hosted the RSS 0.91 DTD, a document type definition that receives four million hits a day.

Welcome to the board!

Vote: RSS Autodiscovery Specification Published

The proposal to create and publish an RSS Autodiscovery specification has passed the RSS Advisory Board with members Matthew Bookspan, Rogers Cadenhead, Jason Douglas, James Holderness, Eric Lunt, Randy Charles Morin and Jake Savin voting in favor and no one voting in opposition.

Both Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla Firefox 2.0 support autodiscovery, an effective way for publishers to let readers know that their sites offer a syndicated feed.

If you're using one of these browsers or another that supports autodiscovery, you might have noticed an orange icon on the right edge of the address bar when you load some pages.

RSS icon on Mozilla Firefox 2.0 address bar found through autodiscovery

This icon, the common feed icon, indicates that the site offers a syndicated feed. You can click it to subscribe to the feed in the browser's feed reader or another reader such as Bloglines, NewsGator Online or Google Reader. The board's web site uses autodiscovery to publicize our RSS 2.0 feed.

Comments and corrections regarding the new specification can be made on the board's RSS-Public mailing list.

Note: An earlier version of the same proposal passed on Nov. 27 with Bookspan, Cadenhead, Douglas, Holderness, Lunt, Morin, Paul Querna and Savin voting in favor and no one voting in opposition.

New Real Estate Listing Namespace for RSS 2.0

The real estate search engine Propsmart, created by the same team that developed BookCrossing, has launched an RSS 2.0 namespace for representing real estate properties in a feed.

Propsmart allows data feed partners to provide bulk property data by sending us a data file or providing a web data feed. ...

The feed should be provided as a URL, which we will crawl on a regular basis. The accepted format of the data feed is RSS 2.0.

They've been responsive to feedback. When I contacted the company about a couple of minor nits that prevented the feeds from being valid last week, they were quick to correct the problems.

James Holderness and Paul Querna Join RSS Advisory Board

James Holderness and Paul Querna have joined the RSS Advisory Board.

Holderness is a software developer working on the Snarfer RSS reader for Windows whose past projects include the WebFerret search utility and Delrina CyberJack Internet application suite.

He's also an active participant on the board's RSS-Public mailing list who contributed to the RSS Profile, a set of best practice recommendations for RSS in ongoing development.

Querna is a software engineer at Ask working on Bloglines, one of the most popular web-based RSS readers.

He's also a member of the project management committee for the Apache web server and formerly a developer of voice over IP communications systems at BitStruct.

Welcome to the board!

RSS News

A new draft of the RSS best-practices profile has been published. It includes help on how to properly format e-mail addresses in RSS elements. Feedback is encouraged on RSS-Public.

A new draft of the RSS best-practices profile has been published. It includes a new section on using an Atom element to identify an RSS feed's address. Feedback is encouraged on RSS-Public.

AOL has begun using FeedBurner to publish and manage its RSS feeds. "We'll be providing AOL with detailed analytics about how its content is consumed beyond the AOL Web site -- such as within widgets, in feed readers and on blogs -- to help them accurately measure influence wherever their content is consumed," FeedBurner CEO Dick Costolo writes on the company blog.

Twenty08 has released a plugin for AppleTV that reads RSS feeds. Support for Atom and video feeds is still on the to-do list.

Dan York is helping Yahoo work out the kinks in how Yahoo Pipes deals with date-time values in Atom, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0.