Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Microsoft ships RSS platform

This morning Microsoft has released a public beta of version 7 of their Internet Explorer web browser, aimed at developers, although I’m sure a lot of tech-savvy and adventurous users will download and install it as well.

This release is significant for publishers who provide RSS 2.0 feeds for their content because this is the first Microsoft release that includes comprehensive support for RSS not only on the producing side, but also on the consuming side. Until now, Microsoft has not shipped an RSS reader, and now they have, for Windows XP, a operating system with many millions of users. Their aggregator, and the underlying platform, is likely to be used in very large volume, likely becoming the most-installed aggregator.

It’s also signficant in that Microsoft has been a staunch supporter of the “really simple” approach to syndication. Their aggregator, of course, has to support all the flavors of RSS that are out there, but they have worked closely with the community to be sure that they were correctly using the formats and protocols that are already in wide use. As we move forward, the target can get smaller, making it easier for all developers on all platforms, not just Windows, to support RSS. Because Microsoft is such a powerful force in the software business, this practice can’t help but influence others, in a positive way.

Further, the Microsoft offering includes support for RSS 2.0 feeds with enclosures, making it a powerful engine for podcasting applications. This may create a diverse community of applications, far beyond the small number of “podcatcher” applications that are currently available.

Since I am primarily a Macintosh user these days, I have not installed the software myself, although Microsoft offered to let me try the software before its release. Even so, I am confident that they have done an excellent job of supporting RSS, and have added strength to the growing community of content providers and technology developers building on the format.