This post is the first in a short series exploring my hypothesis of RSS as the technological foundation of Web 2.0 for my PhD research. I have had the honor of talking with Dave Winer about my research and to pose him some questions. I would like to thank him for his time, thoughts and provoking new ideas for my dissertation.
The terminology of RSS
Naming conventions of formats, protocols and standards by Microsoft and Netscape show how they perceive the web. When Microsoft named its Channel Definition Format (CDF) it illustrated how Microsoft thought of the web as a static thing that could be defined through and fixed in Channels. The <channel> element nomenclature by Netscape is still visible in the RSS protocol.
Netscape originally named its “channel description framework for their My Netscape Network (MNN) portal”1 RDF Site Summary (RSS) reflecting similar ideas transposed onto the web as something that can be fixed and summarized. RDF was “Netscape’s way of thinking static.”2 It was later renamed into Rich Site Summary (RSS) and included elements from Winer’s ScripingNews format but the new name still illustrated Netscape’s thinking about the web as a static thing. When Netscape dropped RSS support Dave Winer picked it up and renamed it into Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to name it into something that it actually was: The RSS protocol as “a way of detecting changes.”3
document.write( "Last updated "+ document.lastModified );
//end hiding contents ---> </script>
The detection and notification of changes on websites to third parties was automated by RSS. It is a way to detect changes and as such RSS is not necessarily reverse-chronological as we know from the blogosphere where changed and updated information is presented in a reverse-chronological order.
Article Series - Dave Winer RSS
- Dave Winer on the terminology of RSS