[wp-hackers] Re: RSS Decisions

Danny Ayers danny.ayers at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 21:55:20 GMT 2006

On 1/17/06, David House <dmhouse at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 17/01/06, Danny Ayers <danny.ayers at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I don't really know why the WP folks are even considering removing RSS
> > 1.0, their current source is reasonably well structured, and the
> > inclusion of the corresponding template for RSS 1.0 is hardly
> > significant bloat. All they'll really achieve is irritating a segment
> > of the community.
> Please read the entire thread containing everyone else's opinions
> before you post your own. Allow me to quote myself:

I have read the thread. It is riddled with inaccuracies and poorly
informed. But I chose not to highlight these errors, rather to provide
a valid, balanced argument on why I thought the proposal to ditch RSS
1.0 was ill-conceived.

> > * RDF and RSS 0.92 are obsolete technologies
> > * The files only clog up the WordPress download and root folder with
> > extra, pointless files.
> > * They have to be maintained when we change the API
> > * If they're not, they break, and this is bad, because things in the
> > core should work.
> Ignore the first point if you use it.

RSS 0.92 has long been deprecated in favour of RSS 2.0, I see no
reason for not ditching that. However RDF is a very active technology,
as anyone with the ability to use a search engine can determine.

The rest still stand. Our main
> problem with RDF and RSS 0.92 isn't that they're bloat,

Which appears to be your second point above. Because of the dev work
I've been doing, I have been using solely the RSS 1.0 recently, in
particular with the FOAF Output plugin. It's far from pointless for

 or that
> they're 'way too old' (as you pointed out, RDF has an active working
> group, although perhaps not in feeds).

> > Speaking personally, I'll echo one of Harry's points:
> >
> >     As a WordPress user, I like to have options. I want to be able to
> > choose the format of RSS feeds that I publish. I don't want to be told
> > what format is the "standard" format and what format is the "right"
> > format.
> This is not what we're saying. We're considering ditching RSS 0.92 and
> RDF because not enough people use them. They'd still be around if you
> wanted them.

"ditching" = "still around" ?

> Basically, it boils down to this:
> RDF and RSS 0.92 simply aren't what Most People need. If you need
> feeds, then Atom or RSS2 provide everything Most People need.

As I point out in my post, strictly speaking Atom alone would be
adequate for most people, though reducing support to this wouldn't
necessarily be desirable.

> even the argument about 'a lot of WP users are power users' doesn't
> even apply here, the proportion of WP users who give a damn about the
> medium between them and their readers is miniscule (if we limit it to
> feeds). Most People only care about readers eyeballs on their words.

True. The majority of people probably only care about a small subset
of the functionality offered by WordPress. But have you heard of the
long tail? If you add up the number of people that *do* care about all
the fringe features, you probably have a significant proportion of the

> RDF and RSS 0.92 cause us grief. By keeping them in the core, we're
> burdening ourselves with keeping them up to date.

I fail to see how RSS 1.0 support causes significant extra grief,
virtually all the fields map directly to those found in the other

Why not give that
> job to someone who uses, cares about and understands these
> technologies?

I would have hoped that the developers of one of the leading blogging
tools would have enough understanding of syndication technologies to
realise RSS 1.0 is qualitatively different than RSS 2.0, Atom or for
that matter RSS 0.92. Or at least care enough to do some basic
research before suggesting the removal of a feature.

> Oh and we're not totally ditching the technologies. Of course, a
> plugin will be available for those who still want RDF/RSS 0.92.

Yes, and other weblog tools are available too. I'm afraid the blatant
lack of research on the subject prior to proposing the removal of a
feature doesn't inspire much confidence in me as a WordPress user. Are
all decisions made from such an uninformed perspective? Again, I
believe Atom alone could provide usable data for the vast majority of
clients. But I see no compelling argument for the arbitrary removal of
RSS 1.0 support.




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