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RSS for Data Integration

April 14th, 2005 · No Comments

Jon Udell writes:

OpenSearch is interesting in lots of ways, but here I want to focus on its use of RSS. A9 doesnt subscribe to my search-results feed in the way Bloglines or FeedDemon or NetNewsWire would. It doesnt poll for changes. Instead it sends a request to my site when an A9 user with an active InfoWorld column performs a search. The response packet I send back just happens to be formatted as RSS 2.0, but from A9s perspective, it could be any XML format.

Why RSS 2.0, then? Because it creates network effects that go way beyond the point-to-point relationships between A9 and its search partners. The work I did to export RSS 2.0 search results served double duty. It accomplished the integration with A9, but it also dramatically expanded InfoWorlds RSS surface area. Now, for the first time, you can subscribe to any InfoWorld search in a feed reader. Want to be notified when the next review of a VoIP product shows up at InfoWorld.com? Run the query, and subscribe to its results.

Most people nowadays use RSS for person-to-person communication. You know the pattern: When a publisher posts a blog item, subscribers are alerted. A growing number of folks are also using RSS for process-to-person communication. Subscribing to searches is the best example of this pattern.

A9s use of RSS for process-to-process communication represents a third pattern. Well be seeing a lot more of it. Not because RSS enables process integration in special ways — it doesnt — but rather because RSS helps us blur the boundaries between human network and process networks.

the fact remains that we have yet to kick off a virtuous cycle that rewards microcontent creators, directly and immediately. That will require:

1. A way of producing microcontent that’s easy and natural for average folks.

2. A way of harvesting microcontent that’s easy and natural for average folks.

Tags: Software

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