O’Reilly Covers RSS

RSS book jacket.Ben Hammersley’s Content Syndication With RSS has got me back on the RSS wagon.

Hammersley covers the history and context of RSS’s development in more detail than many other tech books have given their subject. I’m ashamed that I didn’t know RSS got its start as “Hot Sauce” in Apple’s research labs. You won’t find it on the web now, but Hot Sauce was an interesting technology demonstration in 1996/7. I’m also ashamed I didn’t know of the connections between efforts at creating the “semantic web” and RSS (1.0). Everybody knows about the noise Dave Winer has made regarding RDF and RSS, but now I understand the reasons for the complexity of RSS 1.0 that Winer is complaining about (or, I’m actually excited about the features and complexity of RSS 1.0).

Readers will find a few RDF tags in the body of this blog and I’ve just started an RSS 1.0 feed to go along with the RSS 2.0 and RSS 9.x feeds.

As usual with the O’Reilly books, the tech stuff is covered impeccably. There loads of Perl examples that help even if your aren’t developing in Perl (though isn’t it time they started giving more PHP examples?). The book does a great job of introducing RSS and will have lasting value as a reference item.