criticising atom

I always feel really bad when I criticise Atom, here are people using their own time (and time is money) to drive a project they think is worth it. I think it’s worth it too. I think Mark Pilgrim summed it up quite neatly yesterday Really Simple Syndication is really only simple if you’re doing it incorrectly and a usable alternative would just be so good to have.

The flip side (because there’s always a flip side) is that I want it now. I want to use it now. I want it working as a drop-in replacement for RSS now. I’d give my eye teeth to be able to drop RSS 0.9 and 2.0 today. But of course I can’t. Atom’s at 0.3. It’s well defined, and progress is being made, but I want the syndication format to build up steam so I can replace my RSS.

Of course I could contribute. I could drive it forward by contributing. Anyone can contribute. Except that in all honesty, I’m a dumbass. I have no idea how to write a Pace, let alone a good one. I have no idea how to argue a point at an intelligent enough level to have the rest of the mailing list nodding their heads in agreement. So I don’t.

So what to do? Forge on ahead and write extensions (like the way Mark uses the rel=”via” for his b-links, and writes an article on about it, even though it’s not in the spec?) and hope aggregator authors include enough of your work for it to become part of a de-facto spec instead of de-iure? Or fastidiously only use elements which are only in the spec, and wait for changes before you can use something you would already be able to use in RSS?

I feel sure the list would say “if you need something that’s in RSS, use RSS” but basically, I don’t want to. Maybe I should just use RSS 1.0 for everything until Atom’s at such a stage that it can actually deal with my demands? But what a hassle. *sigh*

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