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.

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