From XML to Atom (1997 and 2005)

Tim Bray suggests that Atom might be the new XML:

I find myself pitching Atom to all sorts of different people. What’s different is, instead of me pushing at them, I’m getting asked “Tell me about this Atom stuff.” What’s the same is that pretty well everyone I pitch to says “I could use something like that for…” and what comes after the dots either isn’t bloggy at all, or is some weird syndication angle I hadn’t thought of.

Ok. I’ve written software using RSS and Atom before. To me, Atom appears like a rewrite of RSS. They annoyingly changed the name of some elements that have the same function, but for the most part, I see no progress here.

Can anyone tell me why Atom is such a substantial step forward given that we already had RSS?

A search on “why is atom better” in google gives me one result. The author basically claims that Atom is better because RSS is tag soup.

I don’t see this. Compare my atom feed with my RSS feed. Tell me where they differ so much?

Beside, even if Atom is technically superior, I could still think that the real innovation was RSS.

Trouble is, Tim Bray is a smart man. So, what does he see?

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the Université du Québec (TELUQ).

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