The Evolution of RSS | 4 | WebReference

The Evolution of RSS | 4

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The Evolution of RSS

RSS 0.91

In July 1999 Netscape introduced RSS 0.91 (re-dubbed "Rich Site Summary"), incorporating most of the features of UserLand's <scriptingNews> 2.0b1 format. 0.91 added 14 elements to better describe channels, items, and update frequency, including a new "description" element for items (what some call "leads" or "blurbs").

From the 0.91 DTD:

<!ELEMENT rss (channel)>
          version     CDATA #REQUIRED> <!-- must be "0.91"> -->
<!ELEMENT channel (title | description | link | language | item+ | 
  rating? | image? | textinput? | copyright? | pubDate? | lastBuildDate? | 
  docs? | managingEditor? | webMaster? | skipHours? | skipDays?)*>
<!ELEMENT title (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT description (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT image (title | url | link | width? | height? | description?)*>
<!ELEMENT item (title | link | description)*>
<!ELEMENT textinput (title | description | name | link)*>
<!ELEMENT rating (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT language (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT width (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT height (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT copyright (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT pubDate (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT lastBuildDate (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT managingEditor (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT webMaster (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT skipHours (hour+)>
<!ELEMENT skipDays (day+)>

Example RSS 0.91 File

Here's a snippet of an equivalent RSS 0.91 file from

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE rss PUBLIC "-//Netscape Communications//DTD RSS 0.91//EN"
<rss version="0.91">
<title>WebReference News</title>
<description>Daily news, views, and how-tos on all aspects of web design 
and development. Features free web-based tools, open source scripts, and 
in-depth tutorials on DHTML, HTML, JavaScript, 3D, Graphics, XML, and Design 
for webmasters.</description>
<title>The Evolution of RSS</title>
We look at how RSS has evolved from its humble beginnings 
through present day and beyond. We survey all versions of RSS, including a 
feature comparison, a new RSS survey, plus format and validation info. Learn 
how the newest versions of RSS will move us towards a more Semantic Web. By 
Andrew King. 0504 
<title>Weblog 2.0 Released</title>
Completely rewritten, Weblog 2.0 makes it easy to manage 
multiple RSS channels and Yahoo-like directories. Highlights include a revamped 
interface, multi-user support, one-step posts to multiple channels, Xhoo 
directory integration, and more. This new version makes use of two RSS 1.0 
modules, the Dublin Core, and the Taxonomy module. By Jonathan Eisenzopf. 0504


The beauty of these early versions of RSS is their simplicity. RSS 0.9 and 0.91 were designed for simplicity. That's one reason why they are one of the most popular XML formats today (with 96.8% of RSS files surveyed using one of these formats). Humans can easily read and understand RSS files and create them by hand, or with programs like Weblog (by our own Jonathan Eisenzopf) or Manila (by Dave Winer's UserLand).

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Created: May 03, 2001
Revised: May 07, 2001