Why don’t you explain Atom to me?


Go follow the links on Robert’ post “Lead engineer at Amazon recommends Atom over RSS

David Sifry told me when I asked him at a conference if they have a preference on the formats RSS or Atom. He was careful not to dismiss one or the other but said “We can deal better with Atom”. So in simple terms: Technorati works better with Atom. If I want to be ‘loved’ by Technorati I should probably switch. ;o)

But this is a good example: I may sound naive, but for me RSS and Atom both deliver the same – my feed. I concentrate on purely delivering one system now (all feedreaders should be able to read both formats). Now, I do podcast. And in my head it is stuck that I “need” Rss to have those enclosure, but if I think about it, there should be no reason, why Atom does not have this feature.

But I don’t know about this. I don’t know about the benefits of Atom over RSS. I don’t know if I even can switch to Atom. Now, you could say that I should ‘just’ go out and read about it. Inform myself. Which I – and most of you as well – will not do. Because we are lazy and it is okay working at the moment.

So if you have a preference – If you like Atom, blog about it. Blog about why you prefer it over RSS. What the beauty of it is. “Go read the spec and see the beauty of it” does not work for me. “Technorati loves you more with Atom.” does. :o)

Technorati Tags: , ,


3 Responses to “Why don’t you explain Atom to me?”

  1. Mark Wubben says:

    For hackers, Atom is easier to handle because it is unambigous. Thus, if you want people to take your feed and do cool stuff with it, like Technorati does, it’s easier on them if it’s an Atom feed. And the more Atom feeds, the lower the barrier to implement. Plus, since RSS can be hard to handle, Atom support is likely to come sooner. Ergo, if you use Atom, you can participate sooner!

    Regarding enclosures, in Atom they work like this (source: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-atom10.html#N100EF ):

    <link rel="enclosure" 
              length="1234" />

    You can even use multiple enclosures per feed item!

  2. Bob Aman says:

    Yeah, recent versions of iTunes should handle Atom enclosures just fine. I know the first version of iTunes with podcasting had some trouble with them, but it’s been pretty good for awhile. But yeah, the serious advantages of Atom aren’t likely to be noticed by anyone who isn’t knee deep in code, which is likely why it hasn’t caused people clamoring for Atom over RSS… yet.

  3. Manuzhai says:

    Well, I think the consumer part of the world is going to take up Atom because all of the producers end up preferring Atom over RSS. And actually, for aggregator developers, Atom is probably a lot easier as well. So I think it’s not a feature thing as such, but it’s going to bubble up from the developer side to the consumer side.