Jonathan Eisenzopf eisen at
Mon Jul 26 21:57:24 BST 1999

Dave Winer wrote:

> 6/20/99: A collection of scripts, in Frontier, Java, AppleScript, Perl, Cold
> Fusion, PHP and Tcl, that produce a ScriptingNews 2.0b1 format syndication
> file from a plain text format that's easy for writers to work with.
> RSS and ScriptingNews format are evolving to a single format, so as we go
> forward, we'll update this page with more scripts in many popular languages
> that can be used to manage XML-based content from plain text. This is key as
> syndication goes forward, you should work in a "meta-meta" format, because
> there will always be new "standards". That's the way this stuff works!

Er, ok. Who is we? Is there a group mothering this? I believe that generating
XML headlines from plain text should only be used to help people in the
transition from plain text to XML. If writers are seriously opposed to writing
raw XML, give them a tool with "fill in the blanks" functionality. Converting
to XML from plain text is not such a big deal for a simple format like RSS, but
stepping up to something like XMLNews would be rediculous.

Also, I'm glad you brought up the RSS vs. ScriptingNews format. I've been
somewhat irritated at Netscape's lack of support for RSS. There is a blurb of
possible future directions, however, I'm not convinced it will be worth waiting
for. BTW, I did, in fact, look at the ScriptingNews format. While it is a step
forward, it won't stand up to the requirements of basic news syndication. I
think we need to be preparing for the scenario where information is distributed
on syndicated networks or feeds.

I believe XMLNews or the NITF standard is a more appropriate format for
distributing news (see Since I am in agreement with
you that I should be focusing on a "meta-meta" format, I am exploring the
possibility of using and extending XMLNews-Meta as a replacement for RSS. I
provided the XML::RSS Perl module as a convenience to those who are currently
using RSS to create and distrubute news headlines, as well as read and display
them on the Web.

I'd be interested to hear what others on this list are thinking along these
lines. Is there a better alternative to RSS and ScriptingNews besides XMLNews?


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