Monday, April 4, 2005

[Atom logo]

Atom is an extremely complicated blog feed format. They’ve just published a draft RFC that’s supposed to explain the Atom format. I’ve written an Atom feed generator, and I know even less about Atom after reading that RFC. How could they write an RFC that’s that difficult to comprehend?

And why am I writing about blog feed formats? Because I used to think that visiting each blog had advantages over RSS feeds, so I downloaded an RSS feeder (NewsFire) to prove it. Now I use it every day to read several dozen blogs in the time it used to take me to read ten. RSS has been incredibly useful to me.

There are actually two feed formats: Atom and RSS. RSS is simpler, while Atom is more complicated and more flexible. I’m frustrated by Atom’s complexity, but I love what you can do with it, and I want to see the Atom working group create a comprehensible, readable standard. They haven’t so far.

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