RSS Best Practices Profile Published

The proposal to endorse and publish the RSS Profile has passed 8-1 with RSS Advisory Board members Christopher Finke, James Holderness, Eric Lunt, Randy Charles Morin, Paul Querna, Jake Savin, Jason Shellen and myself voting in favor and Matthew Bookspan voting against.

The RSS Profile makes it easier for feed publishers and programmers to implement RSS 2.0, offering advice on issues that arise as you develop software that employs the format. For 18 months, the board worked with the RSS community on interoperability issues, receiving help from representatives at Bloglines, FeedBurner, Google, Microsoft, Netscape, Six Apart and Yahoo. The profile tackles the most frequently asked questions posed by developers:

  1. How many enclosures can an item contain?
  2. Are relative URLs OK in item descriptions?
  3. Is it OK to use HTML in elements other than an item's description?

For the answers, read the sections on enclosures, item descriptions and character data, respectively.

Sam Ruby announced this morning that the Feed Validator now tests for conformance to the profile, offering 11 new checks for improving interoperability.

If you'd like to comment on the profile and the new validator checks, post on the mailing list RSS-Public.

As part of the vote, the following sentence has been added to the About this document section of the RSS specification: "The RSS Profile contains a set of recommendations for how to create RSS documents that work best in the wide and diverse audience of client software that supports the format." No other changes were made and all edits to the specification are logged. This revision of the document has the version number 2.0.10.

With the publication of the profile, the board is eager to work with companies and individual developers on the adoption of its recommendations and is looking for people who can write foreign language translations of the document, which has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

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