Why RSS?

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Dave asked the question: Why is RSS 1.0 called RSS? Since I’m writing a book on RDF and just finished my chapter on RSS (no, that wasn’t the one I lost), I feel qualified to answer this.

Dave, the RSS in RSS 1.0 stands for “RDF Site Summary”. The RSS in previous versions of RSS stood for “Rich Site Summary”.

Though Dave didn’t specifically ask this, I will: why involve RDF? And my answer is: for the exact same reason we build databases based on the relational data model rather than create our own storage scheme for each business data need – expediency.

By using an accepted and agreed on data model to define and store the data, a wide variety of tools and APIs can process the data without having to be rewritten for each specific application. The relational data model provides this for traditional databases; RDF provides this for XML.

By bringing RSS into compliance with the RDF specifications, you can (as I did yesterday) process an RSS document using the same pre-built APIs, services, and applications used to process RDF/XML defining other business processes. This processing reuse allows folks to focus on the unique needs of the business and the business data, rather than on the mechanics of how to process, store, or generate the XML.

This is no different than being able to store many different types of business data in an Oracle database and then access it using SQL.

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