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

Alf Eaton alf at hubmed.org
Sun Aug 14 15:30:21 PDT 2005

On 15 Aug 2005, at 00:19, Andreas Haugstrup wrote:

> On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 00:03:33 +0200, Alf Eaton <alf at hubmed.org> wrote:
>>> But I can't use that RSS archive for anything. I can't read it  
>>> (or I'll have to add it to a subscription list to read it just  
>>> once). I can't link to it. For it to be usable as an archive  
>>> format RSS readers will have to reinvent every aspect of the  
>>> webbrowser - with an added RSS wrapper. That's more tha a little  
>>> silly.
>> There's already an HTML version for you to read in your browser  
>> [1], but the XML version of a single post (RSS in this case [2])  
>> is still a great place to store metadata - and of course you can  
>> link to it (and so can the HTML page, and vice versa). Remember  
>> Ken MacLeod's "Is a feed the right place for your data?" [3]:  
>> Blosxom can make different versions of each post easily, based on  
>> templates, and so can Movable Type - RDF for example [4]. Once the  
>> Atom Publishing Protocol is in place, each post will have a  
>> version in Atom too.
>>> [1] http://mike.teczno.com/notes/podcasting.html
>>> [2] http://mike.teczno.com/notes/podcasting.rss
>>> [3] http://bitsko.slc.ut.us/blog/feed-data.html
>>> [4] http://hublog.hubmed.org/archives/001142.html
> Why is that RSS (both XHTML and RSS are XML) document a good place  
> to store metadata?

Because you can add arbitrary namespaced fields to store metadata,  
separate from the main content. I'm not saying this is better or  
worse than microformats embedded in XHTML, but it does exist and can  
be useful.

> Why create a new copy if it doesn't give me more than what I  
> already can have?

It definitely can give more than you already have (in HTML), at least  
for certain purposes, otherwise I wouldn't have gone to the trouble  
of making an RDF template for Movable Type [4] ;-) It depends on what  
you need from the data though.

> With HTML I can link to individual entries. That's the power of  
> permalinks. I can't do that in RSS.

I just linked to an individual RSS entry above (#2).

> Well, I could if I created RSS documents with only one item and  
> someone created an "RSS browser". But then I'd have to reinvent the  
> whole web using a different flavour of XML than the one that has  
> ten years of developement behind it.
> The way I see it I have two options. I can either create *another*  
> copy of my content, or I can add a little bit of extra metadata in  
> the content I already have (using a microformat). I cannot see why  
> someone would even consider using RSS over HTML as their archive  
> format.

It depends on your storage format - if you already have the metadata  
stored in separate fields, then it's easier to present that data in  
separate fields. If all you have is (X)HTML then it's easier to use  
microformats to mark up that embedded data.

Creating another copy of your content (dynamically) isn't as hard as  
you're making it out to be, given the right CMS.


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