RSS Everywhere

Another theme that's emerged from cross-country conference junket I've been on of late is that Microsoft has embraced RSS and will soon make it pervasive in its productivity tools and operating systems. This is great news for both developers and users alike, as RSS has really blossomed as a simple way to syndicate content.

If you're a design pattern wonk and aren't familar with RSS (unlikely, I know), think of an RSS provider as the outermost later of a publish/subscribe implementation. After whatever processing magic is necessary happens deep in your stack, an nice friendly RSS formatted XML is published at some URL up on top. Subscribers simply need to point to their favorite RSS aware client app to the publication URL, and the syndicaiton is complete. It's just that simple - really!

What kind of content is suitable for syndication in this manner? So far, just about any text on any topic will do. Even my humble blog is available as an RSS feed at http://blogs.msdn.com/jpelak/rss.aspx.

Where can you expect RSS to pop up on the Microsoft platform? Well, anywhere you see a list that interests you, or anywhere you might want to programmatically generate such a list, or anywhere you might want to view such a list. In short, everywhere.

What's the opportunity for ISVs? I think RSS represents an easy but powerful way to add targeted notifications to existing products. There's great RSS client support available on nearly every form factor and every platform. By publishing RSS feeds of critical application data, ISVs can leverage all the great work that everyone has done around specifying this format and making it work online, offline, or disconnected. In short, everywhere.

I think it's worth your consideration.