Talk:History of web syndication technology

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The first RSS[edit]

I don't remember seeing anything documenting Guha's role in the creation of RSS 0.9, but in this post from Dan Libby he identifies himself as the primary author of the spec. (There's also some relevant stuff re. their original plans & the "Futures Document"). Danja 14:46, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Hi Danja--I had never even heard of Guha until a few weeks ago. I simply transfered the statement here that originally lived over at RSS, without checking its bonafides. I notice that Guha's own CV [1] (not an encyclopedia-quality source, but informative here) claims credit for MCF but doesn't tie it to RSS. Re. his Netscape work, he references a press release that is no longer online, [2] but available via the Wayback machine: [3]. Dated March 15, 1999, and not mentioning Guha, the document says "The My Netscape Network is built on the RDF Site Summary format (RSS). RSS is a new, open file format that enables the exchange of content summaries and e-commerce data between web sites. By joining the My Netscape Network, publishers can use RSS to create their own My Netscape channel. This channel can then be used by the publisher to deliver frequently updated content to the fast-growing My Netscape audience."
Another online source, which sounds credible but lacks the kind of bonafides Wikipedia likes, is [this page on a commercial website http://www.rss-specifications.com/history-rss.htm]. It describes Guha's Netscape creation as RDF. Wikipedia's bio of Ramanathan V. Guha references only a 1999 interview Marc Andreessen of Netscape did with Guha; in this piece Guha makes it sound more as if he was a co-creator with Tim Bray of RDF, which (Guha says) is "based significantly on MCF", an adaptation "of MCF, using XML." BTW, my impression is that Dave Winer also gives a lot of credit to XML for inspiring RSS, and you'll notice that his original orange buttons say "XML" not "RSS." In 1997, when Dave blogged about syndicating his content as a web feed, he called that feed XML, not RSS. [4]. Maybe this article should say more about Tim Bray!
But you asked about encyclopedia-quality sources for Guha's role in RSS 0.9 which (I agree) gets no mention at all in Dan Libby's claim. There was a snarky response to a snarky comment by some anon recently which despite its not-very-funny hammering away at "Dave Winer didn't invent RSS" has some good links, one to an author-list for RSS 1.0: [5] that includes Guha's name.
The trouble with trying to find sources the meet Wikipedia's quality standards, thus avoiding the shibboleth of WP:NOR (No Original Research) is that "real" newspapers and books didn't and don't care who planted which first seeds. Andreessen and Guha both remembered (in 1999) that Guha played a big role in Netscape RSS. Dan Libby's memory doesn't see Guha as such a major figure. Onemight be inclined to discount Guha's own claim in that interview with Andreessen; on the other hand Andreessen seems to endorse it. FWIW, I think the 1999 Andreessen-Guha interview is the best source for Guha's claims on RSS. A different 1999 interview with Guha, also still online, describes his work at Netscape as "RDF", which is also how Libby describes it.
Another possible direction: Wikipedia on CDF has an encyclopedia-quality link to a 1997 spec for it that includes an author name: [6]. Maybe RDF, MCF, etc. might have some similar documentation at w3? betsythedevine 23:15, 16 February 2007 (UTC), reorganized and (I hope) clarified a bit later. betsythedevine 00:10, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Golly, research eh? What I've heard re. Guha is along the lines you suggest, that he was a prime mover behind RDF, but I'm not sure of anyone involvement in RSS specifically. I'll ask around re. W3C docs. Danja 15:09, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Ok, got this RSS-Classic, RSS 1.0 and a historical debt mailing list post which dates from the time of the RSS 0.91/RSS 1.0 fork in 2000 but references a fair bit of earlier material. It suggests:

On the basis of these various observations, we have two traditions, both rooted in Guha's MCF work.

MCF > CDF > scriptingNews > RSS 0.91 > RSS-Classic // MCF > XML-MCF > RSS 0.90 > RSS 1.0

(The "RSS-Classic" tradition is "Really Simple Syndication", the RSS 1.0 tradition "RDF Site Summary")

i.e. Guha is effectively cited as the source of syndication technology, but not RSS per se.

Danja 15:56, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

POV in usenet posting by Dan Brickley[edit]

Danja, you added this usenet message to the list of External resources--I agree that it makes reference to a lot of interesting external resources, but I just want to comment here on the talk page that I think it is not an unprejudiced, calm statement of facts about the history of RSS. It's an angry polemic by somebody in the middle of a fight.

Brickley says "I for one am fed up with the repeated accusation that we (to put it bluntly) stole RSS from Dave Winer. I've been through that debate once[1] on the FoRK list, and it wasn't at all pleasant. That link goes to another usenet posting as if it supports his claim that Dave has repeatedly claimed the RSS 1.0 people "stole" RSS from him. That usenet posting still lives in the Wayback machine: [7] and quotes Dave describing RSS as "a standard that I co-authored" which was being stolen "by a big name." That's very different from the implied claim that Dave is claiming to be the sole author and owner of RSS.

Brickley claims that ScriptingNews format is essentially identical to Microsoft's CDF, and links to a comparison of the two: [8]

But when I went over there to look, what I found did not support Brickley's contention.

Yes, both formats use <channel> and <item> tags.

But here's what a channel header contains in CDF:

   <IntroUrl VALUE="http://www.foosports.com/channel-setup.html" />
   <LastMod VALUE="1994.11.05T08:15-0500" />
   <Title VALUE="FooSports" />
   <Abstract VALUE="The latest in sports and atheletics from  FooSports" />
   <Author VALUE="FooSports" />
   <Schedule>
     <EndDate VALUE="1994.11.05T08:15-0500" />
     <IntervalTime DAY=1 />
     <EarliestTime HOUR=12 />
     <LatestTime HOUR=18 />
   </Schedule>
   <Logo HREF="http://www.foosports.com/images/logo.gif" Type="REGULAR" />

Here's what a channel header contains in ScriptingNews RSS 0.91

<title>WriteTheWeb</title>

         <link>http://writetheweb.com</link> 
         <description>News for web users that write back</description> 
         <language>en-us</language> 
         <copyright>Copyright 2000, WriteTheWeb team.</copyright> 
         <managingEditor>editor@writetheweb.com</managingEditor> 
         <webMaster>webmaster@writetheweb.com</webMaster> 
         <image>
          <title>WriteTheWeb</title> 
          <url>http://writetheweb.com/images/mynetscape88.gif</url> 
          <link>http://writetheweb.com</link> 
          <width>88</width> 
          <height>31</height> 
          <description>News for web users that write back</description> 
         </image>

I can see quite a difference there, can't you?

Here's what an item looks like in CDF:

       <Item HREF="http://www.foosports.com/articles/news2.html" />
           <LastMod VALUE="1994.11.05T08:15-0500" />
           <Title VALUE="Islanders winning streak ends" />
           <Abstract VALUE="The New York islanders' 10-game winning streak ended with a disappointing loss to the Rangers" />
           <Author VALUE="FooSports" />
       </Item>

Here's what an item looks like in ScriptingNews RSS 0.91

         <item>
         <title>Giving the world a pluggable Gnutella</title> 
         <link>http://writetheweb.com/read.php?item=24</link> 
         <description>WorldOS bla bla bla</description> 
         </item>

I can see quite a difference there, can't you?

Of course later formats build somehow on earlier ones, and TBL is an inspiration to us all, but XML wasn't "stolen" from HTML. Just as I don't think Kevin Marks was "stealing" from Dave Winer when he made improvements to audioblogging, I also don't think it's fair or accurate to claim Dave Winer was changing essentially nothing to CDF or MCF when he was working on ScriptingNews format. There is, of course, a constant cat-fight going on between people who do later work on X and people who did earlier work on Y over who should get more credit for Z's success. The point of this history article, I hope, is to display what people actually contributed at each stage. Then each person gets accurate credit for what that person did, without having to deny similar credit to others who made different contributions.

I guess my complaint about the Brickley article is that, instead of documenting what Brickleh and his team did, it consists largely of a polemic attempt to deny any value to the contributions of Dave Winer. betsythedevine 02:48, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

In defence of history[edit]

The post does seem agitated, but in fairness it was in response to an accusation of theft, and the points seem generally well-supported. (I believe it wasn't on Usenet but a new-fangled mailing list).

"That's very different from the implied claim that Dave is claiming to be the sole author and owner of RSS." - In the mail Brickley actually says "co-author" not sole author. But even so, I don't see an implied claim, I see two fairly explicit claims, one that Winer claimed rss-dev "stole" RSS from him. This is confirmed by Winer in his reply. (To me the talk of theft strongly implies some perception of ownership). The other claim is that Winer's technical contribution at that point in time was negligible (and therefore the ownership implied by Winer had no basis). That part is debatable.

So, regarding the similarities between CDF and scriptingNews. They are both XML formats designed for use of data delivery by polling over HTTP. They both have the concept of a channel, featuring a collection of linked items, decorated with metadata. Their specific elements and style are somewhat different. Similarly a mechanism with two wheels, handlebars and pedals used as a means of personal transport may differ from an existing bicycle because it has a bell and is painted red.

You suggest that the notion of "stealing" is spurious in a context like this. I personally agree, but remember it was Winer that made the accusation.

"The point of this history article, I hope, is to display what people actually contributed at each stage." - A point, certainly. But the history of syndication has been something of a messy battle. You may disagree with the views of one side or the other, but the fact that they held them is part of the history. Danja 18:47, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Hi Danja -- I agree that the fact people held certain views is "part of the history." But I was hoping that the point of this article was to document the actual technical contributions made by each person/group rather than the nasty accusations that got made behind the scenes. And in this particular case, Dan Brickley's POV is expressed at great length but Dave's POV is given only as a few out-of-context quotes that leave it unclear what he is claiming was stolen. My guess is that he's grousing that RSS-DEV was stealing whuffie, not technology, when it privately created a fork based on RDF and called it "RSS 1.0" as if it were an agreed-to improvement on the "RSS" that was already getting used pretty widely, based more closely on ScriptingNews format.
But we don't get to hear Dave's justification for that short out-of-context quote for which he gets abused nastily and at length in Brickley's tirade. Dave's own timeline of RSS makes no accusation of stealing wrt the RSS 1.0 fork.
Nobody would claim, and I don't, that CDF and scriptingnews aren't both, as you say, "both XML formats designed for use of data delivery by polling over HTTP", with channels, links, items, metadata, etc. But that's entirely different from the statement Brickley makes in the words "scriptingNews was a clone of CDF." That statement by Brickley, made in the heat of argument, is not historical or even POV--it's false.
I'd like this article to document encyclopedia-quality sources that have something to say about who made which advances when. Brickley's polemic doesn't even try to describe the history with any accuracy. It does not rise to the level of the other lists of RSS events that are included on this article giving the history from various people's POV, and I am removing it from the list of external links for that reason.
If somebody wants to start a separate article called History of web syndication squabbling, Brickley's diatribe would be a perfect addition. Of course, to meet Wikipedia standards, it should be balanced by some similar piece that explains and espouses Dave Winer's side of the quarrel. betsythedevine 21:05, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Addendum--Mark Pilgrim's history of the RSS fork, which is on the list of External links to the article, does include Brickley's diatribe as one of its many historical sources. So those with a deep interest in RSS history will be able to find that info through Mark Pilgrim's piece. Mark's piece, I might add, works hard to reference contemporary sources from many different sides of the argument. betsythedevine 23:00, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I won't revert the change, but still believe Brickley's post is valid supporting material for the text in the "RSS (2000 - 2003)" section. Squabbling is a notable characteristic of the history of syndication, I don't think selective sanitization is appropriate in an encyclopedia. I would have preferred to see the addition of link to a similar piece that explains and espouses Dave Winer's side of the quarrel. But perhaps the reason Dave's own timeline of RSS makes no accusation of stealing wrt the RSS 1.0 fork is because it was an unsustainable position. Danja 10:43, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Mark Pilgrim's history of the RSS fork, which I think you added and which is an excellent resource, is valid supporting material for the text in the "RSS (2000 - 2003)" section, giving both sides a chance to express their points of view. That is my reasoning--not a desire for "selective sanitization." I also don't think selective character assassination is appropriate in an encyclopedia--when a lengthy personal attack on one contributor gets added to a list of references about technical history. That POV exists but is not undisputed. It gets to have its say as one of the many links from Mark Pilgrim's timeline. betsythedevine 14:03, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:ShowRSSButton.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:ShowRSSButton.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 05:59, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Safari feed favicon.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Safari feed favicon.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 11:49, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

expand-template[edit]

The article is good as it is. buit i add the expand-template! this is easy to explain: there are more thechnologies except rss, atom, mcf! for a more "expanded" list see List of content syndication markup languages mabdul 0=* 12:42, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

It could also use expansion by including earlier history. There are news distribution protocols (e.g. NNTP) that precede RSS and the web. Should show how relates to earlier ideas and technologies. Zodon (talk) 05:53, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Authorship of RSS 0.90 DTD[edit]

I see authorship for the RSS 0.90 DTD is attributed to me, but this is inaccurate. RSS 0.90 was published without a DTD. I made one for my own purposes, and when Dan Libby (who wrote the 0.90 spec) showed up in a web discussion I posted that DTD for some reason. Libby took it and adapted it to what became the RSS 0.91 DTD.

Since this involves me personally I prefer to post here on the talk page and leave the actual editing, if any, to others. --LarsMarius (talk) 15:32, 6 May 2010 (UTC)