Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The evolution of RSS

It is very cool to see how RSS is being used for a wider range of solutions than just blogging. In experimenting with my iPod, I have been studying the RSS enhancements that Apple has started to use, and this article talks about a bunch of the enhancements that Microsoft is experimenting with.

Where I have been thinking a lot lately is on new ways to use RSS. Since there are now so many news aggregator applications that can consume RSS, it's about time to think of new ways to create feeds that are customized to the requestor. And these would not necessarily be the time-ordered "news" feeds ... but maybe new forms of reference material on demand. What about educational content being delivered on demand via RSS? You simply subscribe to a "feed" that begins to release content to you - posts or enclosures - on a regular basis. Your aggregator consumes the feed and presents you with the content is more of a "chapter-order". At some point, maybe there is even an extension that tells your aggregator that a feed is now "dead" ... or "finished".

I'm thinking about how I might experiment with these Microsoft extensions ... in addition to some of the things I'm doing with my iPod. In the field of "identity management" I begin to think about how I might want to give someone the ability to "subscribe" to "me". I could easily do this via SSL, and then add authentication. People who I want to share with could then subscribe to updates to my identity attributes. Things like sharing my GPS location could easily be done this way. It's fun to see this whole area of technology get more and more mature.
Microsoft making RSS a two-way street. Microsoft is creating extensions for the RSS syndication format to make it multidirectional, a move that could allow RSS to be used to synchronize information such as contacts and calendar entries across different applications. [Computerworld News]


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