5 February 2007

What about those RDF, RSS and Atom icons?

To the left of this page, in the Varia box, one finds three little icons or labels:

RSS 1.0
Atom 1.0
RSS 2.0

What are these for?

In fact they are links to a XML version of this blog. With this version it is possible that not only other persons, but also other programs can read this blog. Just like the links to the first 5 hid lines of my Live Space you find to the right. There are standards how to do that, not one, but a number.

My favourite is RDF/RSS 1.0. This one is based on the Resource Description Framework, which is a W3C Recommendation (http://www.w3.org/RDF/). This RDF is part of the W3C Semantic Web Activity, which tries to turn the world wide web into a web of data, which has meaning not only to humans, but also to machines. RDF is a generic framework, within which vocabularies can be for different goals. RSS 1.0 is such a vocabulary for Site Summaries (RDF Site Summary). del.icio.us uses RDF, and so does the Open Directory Project.

RSS 2.0 is not a successor, but a derivation or a fork, which is popular mainly (but not only) at Microsoft. RSS 2.0 does not obey the rules of the semantic web. More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_(file_format).

Atom is an attempt to leave al this confusion behind. It is an Internet Proposed Standard (RFC 4287), but unfortunately no longer part of the semantic web efforts. Atom is the favourite of Google, which bases its GData-protocol on it.

Link to dutch version of this posting: http://ableijs.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A5676E446DB7316!152.entry

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