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Robert Scoble is once again on his high horse about how RSS is amazing, comparing it to GUI versus CLI without looking at how primitive RSS itself is.  I propose it is around the other way, and that there is a successor for RSS out there.

RSS and ATOM as they are today WILL become extinct - or at least as limited as CLI's are today, with a small following; syndication and a standard way of reading content from a site without visiting the URI in a browser are going to be around for ages - I have no doubt about this.

The key is that someone needs to define a standard (e.g. - based on SOAP since we already happen to have it!) to query a 'feed' (now, we can term it a web service) for:

  • New entries without content since a previous point in time
  • New entries with content since a previous point in time
  • All entries ever
  • A specific web log entry
  • Comments for an entry
  • All comments since a point in time
  • All comments ever
  • An entry with comments at the same time
  • Indicating you linked to a post or comment
  • Posting a comment
  • And to 'subscribe' where you are e-mailed or IM'd (or using msn alerts, or Jabber alerts or whatever) when there is an update.

It is inevitable, RSS uses too much bandwidth and gives duplicated content only when you request it which means you need to keep checking back (even if you get a HTTP message to say it hasn't changed).

A web service could make available only the necessary information in a smart way, it could track and push information in the background to notify when your aggregator needs to look at your RSS/ATOM data for new entries, and it could allow a full integration of the site with the aggregator for comments.

Robert needs to look forward, not back...