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news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

Protocol, format, medium

posted: May 14, 2004 3:06:17 PM

Over this coming weekend, I hope to post a couple new entries up on my Wrong Notes music blog. (If you haven't been there in a while, there is already new stuff there, so take a look / listen now!)

One of the new posts will include (text of) my brainstorm about what the next mediums of recorded music may be like. Of course, it's not actually about a medium, since, already, the happening "medium" is the media-less mp3 format (and other media-less digital audio formats).

But, I don't think the future is really in formats either: I think formats will be secondary to protocols. (Specifically, high level protocols, like a "playlist protocol", that can work on top of a variety of lower level protocols like http or rtsp.)

I mention this here because I think it is relevant to the possibilities of the iCite net, and also even relevant to stuff going on now in the Atom vs RSS vs RSS (etc) format wars. In other words, OK, formats matter and format fragmentation isn't great, but what is really interesting are the higher level protocols for how these formats are used (and, in which these formats are, in many ways, more interchangeable than not—at least from the user perspective!).

So, I think there is something developing that one could call a "blog-type-post protocol" for reading and writing blog-type-posts. And, I think Atom looks promising not because it is probably going to be a better designed / specified format than RSS 2.0, but because it is probably going to be a better designed / specified protocol.

Since I'm mentioning the various RSSs, I think part of the limitation with RDF is that its evolution has been so much about creating a powerful format, and relatively little attention so-far has been dedicated to protocols that take advantage of the unique features of RDF (example of things to come: PeoplesDNS is a nascent protocol that utilizes FOAF RDF).

So, I think RSS 1.0 (RDF format) hasn't been perceived as facilitating an expanded (blog-type-post or other) protocol beyond what is already done with RSS 0.9x / 2.0 (XML format).

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also available as: rss · rss2 · rdf · atom

Comments and Tracbacks

trackback from: the iCite net development blog
posted: May 27, 2004 3:34:13 PM
title: Mark Pilgrim's Atom linkblog

As I mentioned recently, I think Atom is important because so much effort is going into designing its usage protocols. Mark's tutorial is a good example: it's basically a protocol-by-example, and I think it reveals a clearer design

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