RSS Auto-Discovery

A very interest 4 days in the Blog world. Started with a simple idea by Matt Griffith in his blog on using the LINK option in the HTML TITLE to enable RSS aggregators find the feed easily. Matt Pilgrim and a few others then enhanced thinking on the idea, and lo and behold! It was all over the place, with implementations on the way.

What is the idea? RSS provides a syndication format — so for example, if you subscribe to the RSS format of a weblog, the updates are automatically fetched periodically into an RSS Aggregator. The LINK extension provides a URL to pick up the feed given the URL of the weblog. Earlier, one had to keep track of the URL of the RSS feed separately. The same concept can be used, as Radio has now done, for publicising links to a site (or a blogger’s) RSS subscriptions (what one is reading) and the BlogRoll.

Why is this idea important? One application of this is in figuring out social networks, or Weblog Neighbourhoods. Harvesters can look at a blog’s RSS subscriptions and BlogRoll and go a few levels deep to provide greater insights on who is it that I should I reading and what are my neighbours reading. This helps in identifying blog clusters.

On a bigger picture: the combination of News Aggregation (via RSS feeds), Syndication (publishing via RSS what one writes) and Blogging is creating a new kind of grassroots information network, with a lot of flow. The RSS Auto-Discovery was one such example of rapidly amplification of ideas can take place in this world.

The question I have been pondering about is how to apply these ideas within the enterprise. Instead of BlogPosts, one can think of Events. These events are published on to an Information Bus, and can be subscribed to my applications or people interested. This can become the foundation of what is called as the Real-Time or Agile Enterprise.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.