...or why it's not just about IE7. The motivation behind this post came after I read a number of posts on Neowin from people who saw a couple of poor-quality pictures of IE7 and decided to ignore the Gnomedex announcement altogether.
I don't know how many people actually took the time to watch the C9 video
before posting, but it seems like many people are missing the point of the announcement by a mile. This isn't about Microsoft playing catch-up, although a brief glance at two IE7 pictures from someone's digital camera makes it seem like that's the case. Sure, RSS support has existed for a while in Opera, Firefox and Safari. IE7's implementation looks quite a bit like Safari's. Agreed there too. Why reinvent the wheel when there's already a great implementation available? Besides, there are only so many ways you can present an RSS feed to a user in a coherent manner.
In any case, what's really significant about the announcement is the platform model for RSS that's being built into Longhorn. That's the really cool stuff; that's the stuff that hasn't been done before - the concept of a single data store for all your subscribed feeds that's tied to your user profile, and that's freely accessible through a set of available API's by any third-party application that wants to be RSS-enabled.
The Gnomedex keynote presentation and the C9 video
highlighted some of the scenarios that are made possible by this framework -- so you're surfing the web and you subscribe to a bunch of feeds that contain a variety of enclosures, including photos, music/podcasts, lists of events, etc. Your subscription list instantly becomes available to any RSS-enabled app installed on your system. So your screensaver could pull images dynamically from a photoblog's feed; your media player could pull media files embedded into feeds to enable podcasting support; your PIM could pull events and meeting times from a feed and automatically add them to your calendar and todo lists. Due to the very nature of RSS, it would even reflect any changes that are made, so you're always in sync. And of course, your standalone news aggregator could pull regular text feeds from your favorite news sources and blogs, just like they do today. The beauty of this approach is that it's one single, common data store for all your feeds. It does away with redundancy, and since it's easily accessible via an available API, any third-party software can tie into it.
Then of course, there's the extension to the RSS standard for lists, which are similar, but work slightly differently from regular feeds. I won't go into that since there's plenty of information already available on the web from some authoritative sources, including Dave Winer
, who (for those of you who don't know) was essentially responsible for the pioneering work in blogging, syndication, enclosures/podcasting, OPML and aggregators. The point is, even people like him are impressed with the work that Microsoft is doing here.
So a word of advise...or rather, a request, to my fellow forum-dwellers and bloggers - before you jump in and post something negative (really, it gets tiring after a while), stop, look around the web, watch the videos, listen to the podcasts, read the reactions of Gnomedex attendees, and get a clear picture of what's going on. Then post. And whatever you do, please don't pollute the web with useless one-word posts like "pathetic." Please? If you really think it's pathetic, spend a few minutes telling the rest of us why you think it's pathetic, and what you
would do to improve it. It makes your post much more useful and lends more credibility to you as a person. There's enough garbage on the web already. Don't add to it. :)
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