A Major Step
on the Client Software Side"> While Microsoft has done a lot with RSS on the publishing side, this is the first major step on the client software side. Users will now also be easily able to see that there is an RSS feed on a page, and they will be able to view it in a browser and subscribe to it as "easily as it is now to put a Web site in their Favorites list. We are going to enable that in a version of Internet Explorer in Longhorn," he said.
Click here to read about RSS tools planned for Longhorn and IE 7.
As users visit Web pages, a small icon in the toolbar will light up to indicate the presence of an RSS feed. Users can remove that icon from the toolbar if they so choose, Schare said. Microsoft will also be publishing the specifications of what exactly it will be supporting with primary support being for RSS 2.0 and Atom in some form, he said. But the exciting work is making RSS easier for application developers, Schare said, adding that Microsoft is removing the need for each application to understand RSS, how to subscribe to a feed or download and manage it. That will now all be done by the operating system once a user subscribes, so developers "can focus their energies on creating new experiences." An example of such a new experience would be when a conference attendee subscribed to an RSS feed for the event and then the Windows platform in Longhorn would go out and fetch these feeds, which would actually have enclosures, not MP3 files as is the case today, but enclosures like a calendar file in an open format such as iCal. "A calendar application can then be written that talks to the APIs in Windows and requests all the new calendar items. The calendar application can then do really fun things in the way it presents the options to you and lets you decide which ones you want to add to your calendar and which ones you want to discard. "Then, when things like speaker and room changes happen, they get updated through RSS and fed down in the platform and then automatically changed in the calendar," he said. This new RSS technology for Longhorn had been developed by the Longhorn team and essentially worked as a common feed, common data store and common sync engine that managed all of that so that the applications did not have to worry about it, Schare said. In line with Microsofts vision of Integrated Innovation, where features and technologies are best leveraged across several applications, RSS is expected to be integrated into Office 12, due next year. On the security front, any new scenario that is enabled at Microsoft went through its rigorous Security Development Lifecycle process, part of the Trustworthy Computing initiative, with the aim of eliminating as many security threats as possible, Schare said, adding that this is why building it in at the platform level made sense. To read more about the Security Development Lifecycle, click here. Asked how Microsofts approach differs from that of Apple Computer Inc., Schare said that Apple typically focuses on getting the experience right with Apple software, while Microsoft is about "enabling things in the platform to allow millions of developers to be creative and come up with new applications." On the monetization potential for RSS, he said to expect applications from both Microsoft and its partners in his regard to enable a whole new generation of applications. "There are six other divisions inside Microsoft, outside of Windows, who build applications and services that they sell, and RSS will be a very key part of what they do. Office is the prime example of that," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.