Why Microsoft Needs RSS

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-03-25 Print this article Print

Perhaps its just as a friend of mine suggested: RSS is not a high-priority item in the queue, dwarfed by the challenges of security, open source, digital rights management and the Longhorn evolution. These issues are rightly top-of-mind, but that doesnt mean RSS shouldnt be up there too.
First, RSS offers a powerful evangelism tool for your security efforts. For example, distributing Windows update information via RSS would let you annotate hot fixes and updates with timely information and tutorials about the reasons why the update should be accepted. Delivering the updates as RSS enclosures might mitigate the concerns of people who are concerned about unauthorized changes to their configurations.
Another opportunity presents itself in the instant messaging space, where important collaborative information is often lost to the ad hoc IM bit bucket. Instead, IM data could be pipelined into an RSS feed for archiving, auditing and indexing. RSS enclosures could speed the adoption of audio and video messages, as well as provide a persistent transport and collaborative synchronization for Tablet ink, OneNote meeting recordings, music and photo sharing. But the biggest Microsoft opportunity is in the authoring space, where you could perform the same powerful ratifying effect you first rendered with SOAP. What if you were to authorize a freely redistributable runtime version of InfoPath that produced XHTML-ready RSS content? The tool would empower users to drag and drop RSS objects into the container, annotate and format them, then post them via an IETF-standardized API mechanism that you would participate in producing. Not only would such a tool promote substantial adoption of well-formed XHTML, but it would also promote the use of RSS as an event mechanism in workflow apps and even calendaring and scheduling. RSS enclosures would be a convenient addition to InfoPath forms e-mail distribution methodology to boot. If InfoPath cant be opened in this manner, theres another prime candidate for RSS authoring: OneNote. As the strategic core (at least for me) of the Tablet platform, OneNote promises a terrific environment for rich text/ink/audio/video micro-content creation, management and routing. With an XML API waiting to be switched on for its second release, now would be the time to act to gain significant market share in the developer community where RSS is already well-seeded. Steve, thanks for listening. RSS may appear to be just a niche technology, a hippie miracle cure for everything from information overload to e-mail dysfunction. But Id like to see the data on relapsing from RSS. Once you kick the browser, its very hard to go back to the old way of doing things. I look forward to hearing from you, perhaps via your own RSS feed. Thats one channel I look forward to subscribing to. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at http://messaging.eweek.com for more on RSS, IM, and other collaboration technologies.
Be sure to add our eWEEK.com messaging and collaboration news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Steve Gillmor is editor of eWEEK.com's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel