RSS and Fat Clients

Steve Gillmor quotes Jonathan Angel from an email chat:

It’s interesting to see how Internet information delivery has evolved:

Early e-mail: Pure terminal emulation, nothing done on the client side.

Early Web browsing: Ditto.

E-mail today: All client side, unless there’s a temporary need for Web access to e-mail.
Web browsing today: Still terminal emulation at heart, but extended via scripting and plug-ins/Active X controls to perform many more client-side operations. And, of course, extensive disk caching is possible.

RSS today: Client-side (I’m discounting Web sites that do aggregation, of course), with optional, user-invoked help from the Web browser/terminal emulator. Limited reliance on disk caching.

RSS tomorrow: Potentially, even more client-side, with user customizable pull (i.e. cache preloading) of Web sites (or anything pointable to by a URL, and deliverable via a standard Internet protocol. Replication of entire resulting database from one client to another. Offline reading modes for use during a flight, or wherever no connectivity is available.

In short, RSS can make plenty of use, ultimately, of the fat clients that Microsoft and Intel want to sell us anyway, and it probably argues for the acquisition of a pretty capable PC, not an information appliance. Given that, I don’t understand why Bill Gates isn’t making speeches to the skies about it, or, for that matter, why Steve Jobs doesn’t integrate Safari with an RSS aggregator immediately if not sooner.

I think Email and RSS will evolve into an integrated microcontent client. I started to read in more detail about Chandler, and I think it has good potential to be beyond being a PIM and become an IMAP-driven microcontent client.


Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.