Friday, February 13, 2004
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More on Atom

With all the talk about openness and innovation, wouldn't you think there'd be an open source, public utility by now that, given an Atom feed, would supply you with an RSS equivalent? That way, if you wanted to offer a link to an RSS feed and your tools generated Atom, you could just write a link

http: //

and you'd have an RSS feed, too. Sure, there'd be some impedance mismatch, but you could get Close Enough pretty easily.

Aaron Swartz has pointed out to me that some XSLT utilities, such as Aaron Cope's, do exist. But none are well publicized, and I'm not sure their public implementations inspire much confidence that the service they provide won't suddenly break, or vanish. It's not as if it's baked into Google or Blogger.

Instead, we're going to have a format war. James Robertson writes:

It's been my contention all along that Atom is nothing but a tax on aggregator developers; it serves no useful purpose as a syndication format, but does manage to create tons of extra work (with more to come - the spec is only 0.3, and people are implementing). Wait awhile, and we'll have as many versions of Atom - and of the Atom API - as we have of RSS.

Dare Obasanjo figures that, with various people rushing to deploy the Atom 0.3 draft, we're likely to end up with a bunch of different version of Atom in parallel, indefinitely.

It's amazing how geeks can turn the simplest things into such a mess. I'm definitely going to sit it out until the IETF Atom 1.0 syndication format spec before spending any time working on this for RSS Bandit.

Also: Dwight Shih:

When I say Google owes us an explanation, I mean that Google needs to demonstrate good intent if they want to portray themselves as doing no evil. I am for applications, not against Atom. Breaking current applications is bad. Providing new applications is good. Where are my new applications?