It’s just data

Another Month

Jennifer Michelstein: <title>Academic features: citation &amp;amp; bibliography tools</title>

Deja Vu.

This problem is important to me because truth be told, specs matter, but only so far as they are followed.  For years, RSS had a validator that happily accepted feeds which were not even well formed XML.  We are still digging out from under the mess that that created.

The initial RSS specs were clear that titles were to be singly encoded, an no subsequent specification gave license to putting escaped HTML in titles.  The RSS-Profile once again makes this clear.  IE7, the Microsoft RSS platform, and Mozilla based products all expect titles to be singly encoded, and yet this practice is not universal as some products’ approach to standards is not to follow what the specs say or the consuming tools do, but to simply document how they deviate from the specs.

If that’s how the RSS 2.0 world wants to proceed, that’s fine with me, but I would prefer it if everybody who wants to produce such sloppy feeds stop providing them in Atom format.  Particularly as with Atom you are free to chose between three different ways to encode this — and I've personally seen all three in RSS 2.0 feeds — your only responsibility is to correctly indicate which one you chose.

Is that too much to ask?