My newest book, Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours, Fifth Edition, recently hit bookstores. The book is a for-absolute-beginners guide to programming Java, and this section from chapter one's Q&A section shows how much license I get from the publisher to have fun with the series: Q. Do you only answer questions about Java? A. Not at all. Ask me anything. Q. Okay, why is Prince mad at the Foo Fighters? A. Prince is unhappy that the Foo Fighters performed a cover of his song "Darling Nikki" and released it as a ... read more

With the current interest in rssCloud and PubSubHubbub (PuSH), I've been thinking about all the bandwidth that's consumed by the RSS elements that describe the feed. When a client requests an RSS feed 10 times in one day, it gets the basic details of the feed over and over again. When clients request the Workbench feed, they get 1,800 characters containing optional RSS elements that I haven't changed in years, except for the PuSH element I added last month. Workbench has 1,900 feed subscribers, so if they average ... read more

I've begun digging into PubSubHubbub (PuSH), the real-time RSS update protocol created by Brad Fitzpatrick and Brett Slatkin of Google and Martin Atkins of Six Apart. I was under the impression that it's harder for RSS publishers to use than the RSSCloud Interface, but that isn't the case. The specification is simple and precisely written, adopting conventions like RFC 2119 that make a spec considerably easier to understand, and it communicates using basic HTTP requests. I wrote the software that runs the Drudge ... read more

I posted a call for comments last night on RSS-Public, the mailing list of the RSS Advisory Board, asking what people think the board should do in response to the ongoing effort to revise the RSSCloud Interface. The interface has been a part of the RSS specification since the publication of RSS 0.92 in December 2000. It determines how software can use the cloud element in an RSS feed to connect to a server that offers real-time notifications when the feed has been updated. In a nutshell, here's how it works: A ... read more

WordPress and Dave Winer are working together to bring real-time, Twitter-style updates to RSS feeds using the cloud element and the accompanying RSSCloud Interface. Yesterday, WordPress added RSS cloud support to "all 7.5 million blogs on WordPress.com." Winer's documenting the ongoing work at RSSCloud.org. Although some tech sites are reporting this as a new initiative, cloud has been around since RSS 0.92 in December 2000. I was getting real-time RSS updates as a Radio UserLand blogger back then, and it was a ... read more

Over the past few months, I've gotten back into contact with more than a dozen old friends and coworkers through Facebook. After blogging for nine years, I prefer hanging out here on Workbench over social networking sites, but I'm beginning to feel like an anachronism. It's easier for people to keep up with their BFFs on sites like Facebook than to visit a bunch of personal blogs, even with the help of RSS and a feed reader. I recently began linking my posts on Facebook using Simplaris Blogcast, a Facebook ... read more

I became the first subscriber on Bloglines to the feed for the new White House web site, which launched at 12:00 p.m. as Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. As a syndication dork, I was interested to discover that the feed employs Atom as its format: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <feed xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">   <title>White House.gov Blog Feed</title>   <link href="http://www.whitehouse.gov" /> ... read more