Learning from TEH INTARWEB

I try to avoid posting entries from the Mindless Link Propagation Department, but Adam Bosworth's article Learning from The Web is excellent and it deserves a careful read:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/11/learning-from-teh-intarweb.html

In case anyone is curious about the specific spelling in the title of this post:


“The entire interface is driven by a single mouse click.”

…and I don’t know how many people I see almost every day, double clicking on links. It drives me freaking crazy.

“proposes RSS as an all-out replacement for XML”

  • isn’t RSS just an xml schema over http? gargles

isn’t RSS just an xml schema over http?

But I think that’s exactly the point: RSS is an actual schema not a generic langauge for defining any schema. That’s what makes RSS (and for the same matter HTML) so useful - so many sites and systems support it. XML is too generic. Sure, XML parsing is ubiquitous, but unless you know the specific schema, you can’t do much with the data once you parse it.

You can’t say that RSS XML any more than you can say Ford car, Plato philosopher or pizza food. If many applications support the RSS schema, that doesn’t make RSS better than XML, because XML is by definition customizable.

It’s nice that many sites and applications use RSS, but you just can’t cram any data into RSS. RSS is just a collection of “item” nodes, which contain a “title”, a “link”, and a “description”. A grocery list or a purchase order /might/ be represented in an RSS tree but it’d be kind of awkward.