A Java application I wrote that reads several dozen RSS feeds started running into trouble with the W3C. Feeds failed with HTTP 503 "Service Unavailable" errors like this one: Server returned HTTP response code: 503 for URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd At first I thought this was a temporary error. HTTP 503 errors are defined to indicate that a server is temporarily overloaded or undergoing maintenance. However, the W3C Systems Team announced in February 2008 that they were dealing with so ... read more

I'm working on a programming project that requires an XML format to represent bookmarks and other collections of URIs, but before I reinvent the wheel I'd like to see if there's an existing format that meets my goals. The format should be able to hold all of the following information: Bookmarks in web browsers Links in web directories like the Open Directory Project Feeds in an OPML subscription list Social bookmarks in Delicious There are several potential formats that could be put to use: XBEL, the outline ... read more

I spotted a new XML button on a blog yesterday: The button links to an APML file that describes a person's interests, in an XML dialect suitable for consumption by software. APML, which stands for Attention Profiling Markup Language, has a short-on-detail spec that wasn't easy to figure out. There's an example and a schema, but no description of each APML element and how it can be used. The web applications Engagd and Dandelife support APML, so I joined them to see how they use APML to describe my interests. Like ... read more

I spend a lot of time these days trying to master search engine optimization, the practice of making Google's great and terrible algorithm give you the love you never received from your emotionally closed off, impossible to please father1. A commercial venture like Wargames.Com, which I'm running as a bootstrap with no advertising budget, would be utterly hopeless without search traffic. Towards this end, I've created a sitemap for each of my sites -- an XML file that tells Google and other search engines where to ... read more

Chris Finke, a senior engineer at Netscape, has joined the RSS Advisory Board. Finke's a Netscape.Com and Netscape 9 browser developer as well as the creator of the Mozilla Firefox extensions RSS Ticker and OPML Support. Netscape played a formative role in the development of RSS, publishing the first RSS specification in 1999 and spurring adoption by encouraging publishers to create feeds for the first aggregator -- the recently relaunched My.Netscape. Netscape published RSS 0.90, the common ancestor of both RSS ... read more

I announced today that I'm interested in continuing for the next two-year term as chair of the RSS Advisory Board, the group that publishes the RSS 2.0 specification and helps foster interop on issues such as RSS autodiscovery and the common feed icon. The board went public one year ago with eight new members, publishing our charter and conducting all votes on a public mailing list. Previously, we operated in private and were accorded little credibility -- when I joined the board in 2004 at Dave Winer's ... read more

When Randy Charles Morin and I were trying to wrap up the RSS Autodiscovery specification, we removed references to Atom to avoid discord. Telling Atom publishers how to implement autodiscovery while they're working on their own spec seemed like a good way to spark a war between syndication formats worse than "Dick York vs. Dick Sargent" or "let the rabbit eat Trix." Naturally, our decision angered Atom developers. Sam Ruby: Push the reset button, and get a better attitude. I thought I had the right attitude. Even ... read more