The Evolution of RSS | 9 | WebReference

The Evolution of RSS | 9


The Evolution of RSS

The Future of RSS

So news mavens, despite Netscape's fumbling of RSS, the RSS movement continues. In fact, new versions of RSS are in the works. On April 20, 2001 UserLand announced the beginnings of RSS 0.93:

The RSS-Dev Working Group (which includes WebReference's Jonathan Eisenzopf, O'Reilly's Rael Dornfest, and others) isn't resting on its laurels. They've announced a number of modules including a threaded discussion module, a content module (enclosures), a taxonomy module (categories), with more in the wings.

RSS is the most successful XML format to date by virtue of its simplicity. Humans can easily read and understand RSS files, fostering its rapid adoption. But RSS's simplicity belies its power. Widely adopted standards can create synergistic "meta-opportunities" for value-added services that span domains of knowledge. In fact the most recent versions of RSS can become the basis of extensible Slashdot-like applications, far beyond simple news syndication.

Jonathan Eisenzopf says, "RSS 1.0 can be used to glue together data from systems such as content management, knowledge management, and enterprise information portals, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management."

By utilizing its rich metadata to organize news in new and useful ways aggregators like O'Reilly's Meerkat and UserLand's My UserLand add value to separate RSS feeds. The RDF used in RSS 1.0 is the basis of the Semantic Web. If all goes according to plan, perhaps someday we'll see the realization of Tim Berners-Lee's dream.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Further Reading


Thanks to Dan Brickley, Ian Davis, Leigh Dodds, Rael Dornfest, Jonathan Eisenzopf, Lars Marius Garshol, R.V. Guha, Aaron Swartz, John Turnbull (of SoftQuad Software), and Dave Winer for their help with this article.

Note: Jonathan Eisenzopf, the author of the XML::RSS module and co-author of the RSS 1.0 spec, is also an expert columnist at, whose Managing Editor is Andy King, the author of this article.


Created: May 11, 2001
Revised: May 19, 2001