RSS Advisory Board Becomes Publisher of Media RSS

RSS iconLast night, I finished creating a copy of the Media RSS Specification as part of its move from Yahoo to the RSS Advisory Board. We found out 21 months ago that Yahoo was amenable to the idea of finding a custodian to publish the spec, so several board members and I have been working with them to make it happen.

Media RSS is a namespace that extends RSS to support sophisticated distribution of audio, video and image files. In the five years since it was created by Yahoo, it has become extremely popular with podcasters and other multimedia publishers. It is supported by Yahoo Search, Bing, Wikipedia, Flock, Picasa and a lot of other sites and software.

Because version 1.5 of the specification was just released in October, I expect the first priority of the board will be to help developers implement the new features such as user ratings of media content, the ability to define scenes, Creative Commons licensing and support for geolocation. Our first job should be to ensure that the Feed Validator for Atom and RSS can validate all of the elements in a Media RSS feed.

This move wouldn't have happened without Sapna Chandiramani and Nilesh Gattani at Yahoo and Randy Charles Morin and Ryan Parman on the board, so I'd like to thank them for their efforts.

In the nearly four years since the board went public with its votes and deliberations, we've been entrusted by Netscape to publish the first two versions of RSS -- RSS 0.90 and RSS 0.91 -- and now by Yahoo to publish Media RSS. I'm glad that we've gained the trust of the RSS development community for projects of this kind. The board can assure the permanent availability of any namespaces, documentation or services related to syndication, and we are an independent group with members who have been involved in syndication going all the way back to its creation in 1999.

Before I worked on moving the Media RSS spec this week, I didn't notice that it contained an example that only would make sense to people who grew up in Texas in the '80s:

<media:title type="plain">The Judy's -- The Moo Song</media:title>

The Judys were a twisted bubblegum pop band that toured Dallas, Austin and Nacogdoches when I was in college and had no money to see them. A few of their songs, though not "Moo," can be heard on MySpace. The Judys fan at Yahoo turns out to be David Hall, the author of the original version of the spec. He graduated from Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas, seven years after I did.


Having had a look at all of the new stuff added in version 1.5, it seems to me that this spec is going to require a fair amount of work before you'll have any chance of getting it to validate.

Most of the elements are hopelessly underspecified, and some are just plain broken. Some of the examples aren't even valid XML let alone valid RSS.

Is it now the responsbility of the board to deal with these issues, or is there a workgroup or committee somewhere to whom we should be feeding back bug reports?

The spec is our responsibility.

I only saw one example that wasn't valid XML, and I fixed it.

This mediarss will not validate.

the lang element is flagged. the type;width;height attributes for thumbnail are flagged. Also it is asking for an atom element. SlideShowPro expects these attributes or it will not read the file (especially the thumbnail, which are images, need a type and width and height declarations)
Also if I add the atom element to the channel, if fails on SlideShowPro.

any clues?

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