9 Sep 2002
(updated 9 Sep 2002 at 11:48 UTC) »
I had promised myself not to get drawn into the recent resurgence
of debate on removing the RDF from RSS 1.0. I fought long and hard
in the past for the reformulation of RSS using RDF, so I feel I
ought to say a little, maybe at least to justify why I'm not
re-entering the debate in any way.
One of the major advantages of using RDF was that it decentralized control
of the format. Anybody can write a module for RSS (and plenty of people have)
without having to persuade, and perhaps get thwarted by, some central point of
control. Furthermore, using RDF rather than just plain old XML meant that
there were no nasty issues of DTDs or Schemas. RSS 1.0 became a bit more like
a Perl hashtable, where you just inspected a file and took what you were
interested in, rather than having to validate an entire structure. And, as a
namespace is forever, nobody can alter RSS 1.0 to remove or change the core
elements that exist in it.
Now people want to change things again, and remove the RDF syntax. Well,
I'm not worried. RSS 1.0 achieved its purpose, and removed the point of
central control. The RSS 1.0 namespace won't go away, and I can carry on using
-- and extending if I wish -- RSS 1.0 to my heart's content. My other RDF
software will be able to use terms from the RSS vocabulary just as before.
There's much more to say about why the direction some folk want to take now
is advisable, but this isn't the place for it. Maybe the bar at OSCOM might be, if anyone's interested.