My.Netscape, Netscape, RSS, Software

On deprecating RSS 0.91

Our decision at Netscape to stop hosting the DTD for RSS 0.91 has inspired some healthy discussion around the Web on the topics of RSS and DTDs. Since I was speaking for Netscape in the official blog, I wanted to lay out my personal thoughts on the matter. However, as is normally the case, the main points I wanted to make have already been made in the Slashdot discussion.

werewold1031 writes:

And they can’t set up a redirect to the new hosting location?

What in the world would be the point? That would merely duplicate the problem to a different location. As was clearly stated in the article by Mr. Finke, four-million hits every day is a crapload of bandwidth wasted re-downloading a file that will never change. The RSS 0.91 spec is finished, complete, and yes, for all intents and purposes, written in stone. Stop looking at it every damned day. It will not change. Ever. It’s truly stupid for client-side software to be accessing it over the Internet to read its forever-static contents. That’s like checking the writings of a dead poet every day to see if anything’s changed.

And any dev who codes his app to check a file like this every day instead of caching it client-side should be smacked oh-my-god-so-frickin-hard.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I’m not going to try.

Schraegstrichpunkt writes:

This is the perfect example of why a URI is not necessarily supposed to be treated as a URL. http://my.netscape.com/publish/formats/rss-0.91.dtd is just a unique identifier for the RSS DTD. It used to also be hosted there as a convenience, but your software isn’t supposed to rely on that.

Indeed.

BuffaloBandit writes:

Seriously though, Isn’t 0.91 dead anyway? Why not get on the 2.0 bandwagon? Is there still value in 0.91?

Exactly. What is there to gain by staying with 0.91 over 1.0 or 2.0? Most software companies have support life-cycles for their products; just think of this as Netscape sunsetting support for RSS 0.91.

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