Related link: http://intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/RoadMap
There’s been a lot of excitement recently around the Echo weblog format (formerly known as Pie), and hopes that a fresh start will help the weblog community move past the infighting that’s snarled RSS. I share some of that hope, but also recognize that RSS isn’t just complicated because of personalities - it’s complicated because there are some genuinely hard issues underneath it.
I’ve done my best to stay out of RSS, though I did edit (thankfully not write) a book on it. I’m not known for my reluctance to get out the flamethrower, but the RSS flames have been extra-hot for a long time, and I don’t have that much asbestos to spend on it.
There’s a lot more to fights over RSS than personality. The questions that RSS answers are pretty tough questions, not to mention that the list of questions has changed and expanded regularly over time. Different people come to RSS with different expectations and different hopes, and every now and then someone throws a platypus into the mix. RSS has always included more than channels and items, but the variety of things it covers has grown over time. Some people want RSS to provide full XHTML content or access to multimedia features, others want much less or much more.
Creating interchange formats that make a lot of people happy is a tough project. Extensibility and modularity are important for balancing these kinds of needs, but they often add overhead (XML namespaces, RDF) that some people can’t stand. Choosing which pieces go into a core and which pieces don’t is a difficult problem. Some of these problems are issues that affect most standards projects, but RSS has an enormously diverse audience, with perhaps too many knowledgable vendors and consumers (over 100 on this page alone). There are a lot of cats to herd here, and “forward motion” still offers one hundred and eighty degrees of possibility.
I wish the particpants luck, but I plan to stay well away from it. I suspect some people will be glad for one fewer likely dissenter during the process, but it’s really only for my own sanity. At least they did choose a different name. I’m glad about that.
Can Echo escape recent history?