[microformats-discuss] Evaulating RSS per the microformats principles.

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Sun Aug 14 11:40:05 PDT 2005

On 8/14/05 9:33 AM, "Michal Migurski" <mike at stamen.com> wrote:

>>>>> Basically, what I want is a microformat for blogs. I think there's
>>>>> enough similarity among blog markup to warrant trying to develop a
>>>>> format.
>>>> Isn't RSS already a microformat for blogs?
>> RSS is not a microformat for numerous reasons.  From a design
>> perspective,
>> RSS violated many microformat principles.  Of course RSS pre-dates
>> that
>> specific collection of principles so this is no fault of RSS in
>> particular,
>> nor of anyone who worked on it.
> <snip>
>> Total (unscientific:) score:
>> principles followed: five +1s
>> principles violated: five -1s
>> principles neutral: one 0
> I agree that RSS violates a number of microformat principles, but it
> does have one major point in its favor over an XHTML-based format: it
> exists. RSS is in wide use right now, and blogging tools auto-
> generate it as a matter of course.

Certainly the wide adoption of RSS (of some flavor or another) is

To be clear, the point of my post was two-fold:

1. To answer the question of "Is RSS a microformat?" because it has been
asked several times, especially in reference to Adam Rifkin's seminal post:


2. As a case-study of a well-known format (or set of formats as it were),
analyzed according to the principles to gain further understanding of their

> That makes me wonder whether
> adding a blog-entry mf isn't spitting into the wind?

The point would be to be complementary, not competitive.

> It could raise  
> that score to a perfect 10, but receive the same warm welcome that
> other efforts have, when based on the  desire to add a new perfect
> format to fix the problem of too many imperfect formats.

"perfect" implies ideal along some axis or axes.  Being "ideal" is perhaps
not necessary, but certainly it would be an interesting experiment to see if
something could be developed that satisfied all the principles and be based
on a practical need.

> So: I'm not arguing that RSS perfectly fits the bill, but I do wonder
> whether it fits the bill *well enough* to make a blog mf unnecessary
> for now.

It would be unnecessary if RSS could be used *in* (X)HTML to mark up a blog
post etc.  However, RSS is unable to fill that role, and there have
certainly been a critical mass of publishers/implementers on this list, who
want that role to be filled.

> You point out that some participants in this thread do not
> themselves have blogs, which makes me think this is an academic
> desire not rooted in actual potential use.

Yes, I have some concern that the folks without blogs that are participating
in this discussion are doing so for academic reasons.  However, they are
fortunately greatly outnumbered by folks *with* blogs that are attempting to
put their ideas into practice in order to properly exercise and iterate
their ideas.  Thus I expect one of two things from the people without blogs,
either they'll become frustrated by the discussion, by having academic
points being ignored, or they'll decided to get a blog and start
experimenting themselves.



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