RSS Advisory Board

Vote: Board Recommends the Feed Validator

The proposal to recommend the Feed Validator has passed 8-0, with RSS Advisory Board members Meg Hourihan, Jenny Levine, Eric Lunt, Ross Mayfield, Randy Charles Morin, Greg Reinacker, Dave Sifry and myself voting in favor.

The Feed Validator tests syndicated documents for adherence to the specification and provides other warnings that are helpful when publishing a feed for the first time.

It supports the three formats in wide use today -- Really Simple Syndication, RDF Site Summary and Atom -- and is an open source project that takes bug reports and suggested patches from the public.

Kudos to lead developers Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, Joseph Walton and Phil Ringnalda for their work the past three years on the project.

Proposal: Recommend the Feed Validator

The following RSS Advisory Board proposal has been made by members Rogers Cadenhead and Eric Lunt and seconded by Randy Charles Morin.

Under the board charter, this begins a seven-day discussion period so any interested parties can comment on the proposal. (The best place to comment is on the mailing list RSS-Public.)

When that ends, the board will have seven days to vote on it.


In the time I've been serving on the RSS Advisory Board, I've been asked fairly often to look at a Really Simple Syndication feed and help someone figure out why it isn't working.

The first thing I do in response is load it in the Feed Validator, the open source validator developed by Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, Joseph Walton and Phil Ringnalda that supports RSS and Atom. I did the same thing when I was drafting the proposed specification, pasting each example into a sample document and running it through the validator to catch potential mistakes.

At FeedBurner, Eric Lunt has a similar troubleshooting approach when users have problems with their feeds, so we're making a joint proposal.

Proposed: The board should officially recommend and use the Feed Validator.

A validator complements a specification, as long as they're in agreement. In the three years the validator has been around, I've asked Sam a half-dozen times about its interpretation of RSS, and each time he was quick to address my concerns. If there's an area where the validator and board members have disagreed over an aspect of RSS, my experience has been that he eagerly defers to our judgment.

I've leaned on the validator so often that I recently became one of the developers so I could pitch in on RSS-related issues.

RSS Advisory Board Goes Public

A new era begins today for the RSS Advisory Board, an independent organization formed in 2003 that publishes the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) specification, helps developers create RSS applications and broadens public understanding of the format.

The board is taking on eight new members: Meg Hourihan, Loïc Le Meur, Eric Lunt, Ross Mayfield, Jenny Levine, Randy Charles Morin, Greg Reinacker and Dave Sifry. I'm serving as chairman this year unless they kick me to the curb.

The new members are an accomplished group that includes software developers, tech execs, educators and writers, all of them outspoken on the subjects of syndication and related technology, and all of them avid bloggers.

Under the board's charter, the organization holds its deliberations on RSS-Board and encourages feedback from RSS publishers, software developers and users on RSS-Public.

I'm bringing the first item to the board: a proposed specification for RSS that represents completely new documentation for the existing RSS 2.0 format.

This new specification is dubbed "Rss-Draft-1" and has not been adopted by the board. It's offered to encourage public review for at least 60 days. The goal of the spec is to make RSS simpler to implement by providing examples for all elements, better presentation and a more formal approach.

As an RSS Advisory Board member since May 2004, I'm glad to see the organization continue in a manner that encourages the public to take an active role in the effort.

RSS News

FeederReader developer Greg Smith has written a guide to RSS elements to help publishers "optimize your feed for FeederReader or other offline aggregators."

Opera has adopted the common syndication icon that's being used in Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer, lead developer Trond Hansen announced Thursday.

With its site redesign, Feedster supports the joint Mozilla/Microsoft effort to adopt a common syndication icon to identify RSS and Atom feeds.