RSS Advisory Board

RSS 2.0 Specification (version 2.0.8) Published

The proposal to revise the RSS specification has passed 7-0 with RSS Advisory Board members Matthew Bookspan, Rogers Cadenhead, Randy Charles Morin, Greg Smith, Loïc Le Meur, Jenny Levine and Eric Lunt voting in favor.

The specification has been edited to reflect as the document's permanent URL and RSS-Public as the mailing list where users should post RSS-related questions and comments. No other changes were made.

All edits to the specification are logged. This revision of the document has the version number 2.0.8.

Proposal: Two Minor Specification Edits

The following RSS Advisory Board proposal has been made by Rogers Cadenhead and seconded by Matthew Bookspan and Greg Smith.

Under the advisory board charter, the board has seven days to vote on it. Interested parties can comment on the proposal on the mailing list RSS-Public.


The current RSS specification contains two minor issues I'd like to resolve.

1. The docs element refers to an outdated URL for the specification instead of the current URL.

For as long as the board operates, will be the permanent URL of the current version of the spec. The domain name is the property of the board, so it can move to a new host as needed in the future.

John Palfrey at Harvard told me that the URL is going to become the permanent URL of the original Harvard spec published in 2003 (not any of the board's subsequent derivations). You can find a copy of the original Harvard spec here.

2. The spec encourages people with questions about RSS to post them on the RSS2-Support mail list hosted by Sjoerd Visscher.

This list is no longer active, receiving more spam than RSS-related posts. Our own RSS-Public mailing list is a better place to seek help.

I propose the following:

  1. Revise the specification to reflect as the permanent URL of the document and RSS-Public as the mailing list where users can pose questions about the format.
  2. Give this version of the specification document the revision number "RSS 2.0.8".

Jason Douglas Joins RSS Advisory Board

Jason Douglas, the project lead on the RSS platform at Yahoo and the coauthor of an early attempt to syndicate web content, has joined the RSS Advisory Board.

While at Yahoo, Douglas led the integration of RSS into My Yahoo.

Douglas also was the vice president of product development for Grand Central, a web services provider for business-to-business communication.

At Pointcast in 1997, Douglas worked with Castedo Ellerman of Microsoft on Channel Definition Format (CDF), an early attempt at XML syndication employed by Internet Explorer 4's Active Desktop feature.

Welcome, Jason!

Vote: Board Supports RSS MIME Type

The proposal to request "application/rss+xml" as the MIME media type for RSS has passed with all 11 members of the RSS Advisory Board voting in favor.

The proposal has been made jointly with the RSS-Dev Working Group, the group that publishes RDF Site Summary.

The application for the media type was made yesterday to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the group that assigns these identifiers.

The board supports the designation of a common MIME type for all versions of RSS, whether the documents use RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication.

IANA's response will be reported here and on the RSS-Public mailing list.

Joint Proposal: Request an RSS MIME Type

The following proposal has been made by Jon Hanna and Bill Kearney of the RSS-DEV Working Group and Rogers Cadenhead and Greg Smith of the RSS Advisory Board.

Under the advisory 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 the discussion period ends, the board will have seven days to vote on it.


One of the most reliable ways for software to distinguish different kinds of files on the Internet is through a MIME media type, an identifier that's part of the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions standard.

Web servers return a Content-Type header that identifies the kind of file being returned, such as "text/html" for an HTML page, "image/gif" for a GIF graphics file, and "application/atom+xml" for Atom syndicated feeds.

RSS documents lack an an official media type.

If a media type was defined for RSS, when a user opened an RSS feed in a web browser, the browser could open the document with the user's preferred software -- just as browsers crank up an MP3 player when a link to an MP3 is clicked.

Media types must be requested from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority with a formal RFC that chooses the desired type, explains the nature of the content, and describes why the type is needed.

Hanna, Kearney, Smith and I have prepared an application to request "application/rss+xml" as the official media type for RSS documents.

We propose that the RSS-Dev Working Group and RSS Advisory Board request "application/rss+xml" as the desired media type for RSS documents and encourage its use for all versions of RSS, whether they use the RDF Site Summary specification or the Really Simple Syndication specification.

RSS News

RSS Advisory Board member Greg Smith has a booth at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo Sept. 29-30 where he'll be demonstrating the FeederReader PDA RSS reader and podcasting client.

Manuel M T Chakravarty has released code for publishing RSS feeds with Haskell 98 under the open source GNU General Public License.

A new article by Paul Sobocinski on XML.Com describes how to create a simple RSS reader with AJAX.

The developers of Microsoft's RSS support in Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 describe how their software deals with one of the biggest security issues in RSS: feeds that include scripts.

For people hoping to reach millions of My Yahoo users with their syndicated feeds, Yahoo offers an extensive Publishers Guide to RSS. You can submit your feed to Yahoo to confirm that it works with the site.