Monday, July 21, 2003

RSS Style Guilde Intro

I'm going to set up the RSS Style Guide in my content management system software, HEMS. But until I do, I'm going to post some stuff here. So, below is the first draft of the intro.

Desktop RSS readers, web news aggregators (portals) and search/directory engines all use RSS feeds. When creating an RSS file either directly, by writing a blog or by writng an enewsletter, it is important to keep these applications in mind. The purpose of this style guide is to maximize your presentation in these applications.

The technical specification for RSS are not useful as a style guide. The specs are so flexible that almost anything goes. For example, while headline, link and description are essential parts of a RSS feed, only one of the three is required in the technical specs. While the guide will look at the specs for limitations, this is not a place to look for style advice.

This guide will address three widely used versions of RSS: 0.92, 1.0 and 2.0. It is not the purpose of this guide to rehash the history of the development of RSS. Because these version are widely used, the guide will discuss each.

This guide will also assume that you may have limited control over the creation of your RSS file. While some people may create their RSS files "by hand" using a text editor, most people will be using an appplication which automates the creation of the RSS file. Blogging software and enewsletter software does this. For the most popular of these tools, the guide will point out the limitations of these tools.

These words are meant as a guide and not as a set of rules. Please, go your own way to accomplish your RSS goals, if you feel it is necessary. But then, please add that style to the guide.

This is community work, so comments by email are welcomed. I'll add them to the appropriate page. However, this might be done better with a Wiki, but I just don't know enough.

I'm working on the outline/structure of the guide. Let me review it tomorrow on the Metro and I'll post it after that - unless I get HEMS set up for this first.

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