The Hardest Thing About Creating Atom Was Naming It

My RSS Advisory Board blog post marking 20 years of Atom includes an expression I learned during that project's boundless debate among a hundred people about what to name the format. An issue so simple that everyone feels comfortable voicing an opinion is a "bike shed discussion," and the length of discussion will be inversely proportional to its importance. The phrase was popularized by an email from developer Poul-Henning Kamp to a FreeBSD mailing list in 1999. He got it from a 1960s book ... (read more)

Fix a 'Missing: Updated' Error in Google Search on WordPress

Google Search Console reported a bunch of structured data errors in a new WordPress blog I began recently. This was a surprise, because I didn't know I was offering structured data. The WordPress theme I've been using, Twenty Twelve, includes CSS styles in blog posts to support the hAtom microformat, which helps search engines recognize the components of a blog post such as the title, author and tags. When Google crawled the blog, the Structured Data section of Search Console flagged 20 pages ... (read more)

Obama's White House Adopts Atom Format

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="">   <title>White Blog Feed</title>   <link href="" /> ... (read more)

Adding Atom:Link to Your RSS Feed

The RSS Profile includes a recommendation to add an atom:link element to an RSS feed to identify its URL, as in this example from my own blog: <atom:link href="" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" /> To make this work, all I had to do was declare the atom namespace in the feed's rss element: <rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom=""> The addition of atom:link, by letting an RSS feed reveal its own address, makes the feed ... (read more)

FeedBurner, Uncertainty and Doubt

On Scripting News today, Dave Winer writes that he can't trust FeedBurner: If things were different I might use Feedburner. Especially on weekday mornings it's amazing how much traffic one file, my RSS 2.0 feed, gets. So it occurs to me that I could streamline things simply by offloading that file to Google. Now that they own Feedburner, this is something I might do, if they take a pledge not to break aggregators that depend on the format of my feed not changing. If someday my feed were to ... (read more)

Switching to FeedBurner Without Handing Over Subscribers

I recently began using FeedBurner to publish the RSS feeds for five web sites, relying on it to provide usage stats, check regularly for errors, and make the feeds more useful. Since the service was acquired by Google, there's been some concern among bloggers about whether it's a good idea to trust a third party to publish your feeds. Though FeedBurner exec Eric Lunt is one of my homies on the RSS Advisory Board and I've had good experiences with the company, I think the caution is well-placed ... (read more)

Tim Bray: RSS 'Twice as Good' as Atom

Tim Bray, one of the creators of both XML and Atom, has some fun at the expense of the RSS Advisory Board: Yep, ladies and gentlemen, it looks like there's trouble on the horizon. On the RFC4287 syndication-format front, it may have been stable since 2005 and widely deployed, but watch out, there's a new version of RSS 2.0! (2.0.9, to be precise). RSS 2.0 is sort of RFC4287's main competition, and if there are two different specs, I guess that must mean it's twice as good. RSS 2.0 is clearly ... (read more)

Re-Elect Rogers and Rogers Rabbit

I've secured my first endorsement for RSS Advisory Board chair: it's like running for president of your own imaginary treehouse. with rabbits. "hello, my name is rogers, and this is my rabbit running mate, rogers. we're running for imaginary treehouse president on the rogers-and-rogers-rabbit ticket." ... (read more)

Microsoft Seeks Patent on RSS Platform

Don McArthur passes along some huge news in the syndication world -- Microsoft filed for a patent today on the Windows RSS Platform, a common feed database and API that can be used by other applications to read, write and store RSS and Atom feeds: The web content syndication platform ... can be utilized to manage, organize and make available for consumption content that is acquired from the Internet. The platform can acquire and organize web content, and make such content available for ... (read more)

Bloglines Fixes Atom 1.0 Display Bug

Bloglines has fixed the glitch that was causing Workbench's Atom 1.0 feed to display incorrectly, as a feed preview demonstrates. I reported the bug to them in e-mail last week and was told they forwarded it to the "appropriate technical department." I never figured out any possible cause of the error, but the fix is another sign that Bloglines is a lot more actively maintained today than it was a year ago. ... (read more)