Well, Microsoft just announced a new RSS-extension they're calling the Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS and OPML. It introduces change tracking and versioning to RSS along with a corresponding processing model for keeping multiple RSS feeds (and OPML docs) in sync with one another.
While the concept is potentially a pretty cool thing, Danny Ayers take on it is spot on:
Ok, start with the use of fairly arbitrary strings as identifiers. The Web has a well-defined system for identifiers, the URI. Theye also got dates in RFC 822 format here - when did these folks last check any of the standard specs? Theye using RSS 2.0 and OPML as container formats. Marvellous choice, theye inherently uinteroperable because they don have their own namespaces. Party like it 1999.
I suppose what really irritates me most here is that theye also egregiously ignored the recent progress on syndication data modelling/exchange protocol around Atom. I know you shouldn put down to malice what you can explain with ignorance, but I can only imagine this is politically motivated. Microsoft are less likely to get community resistance to mbracing and extendingDave Winer Own Syndication Stack than something community based. I strongly suspect theye lining themselves up for more serious problems further down the line. Rather than sharing, theye ringfencing their own territory away from everyone else, a strategy likely to end in tears for them cometh Web 2.0.
Ron Jeffries makes the point more succinctly:
Ray was smart enough to get Dave Winer involved. Anything related to RSS that fundamentally new needs to be blessed by Dave.
Standards matter. Open standards matter more. Anything that has to be blessed by one single individual in order to gain acceptance is fundamentally flawed and is by no means "Open".
Update:Heh, apparently I'm a "tech-weenie" because I didn't offer up any technical feedback on the spec. The reason for not doing so is simple enough: I haven't attempted to implement it and I don't intend to. For one, the licensing of the spec is questionable. The Creative Commons license covers the spec text itself but likely does not cover implementations which, according to the spec will be covered under Royalty Free RAND terms... whatever the heck that means. Further, I'm not a sync expert. I know version and change tracking and can see a number of ways this could have been done better using Atom, but MS isn't using Atom and they appear to have done the best they could using RSS. So be it. I'll save it for the people who actually care to implement this spec to provide the technical feedback to Microsoft about it.