June 24, 2005 10:30 AM PDT

Microsoft confirms RSS plans

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Microsoft plans to make Really Simple Syndication a whole lot simpler. Really.

The software maker said on Friday that it will build support for RSS into the next version of Internet Explorer, as well as into Longhorn, the Windows update scheduled to arrive next year.

"We really think that RSS is going to be key to how people use the Internet in the future," said Gary Schare, a director of strategic product management for Microsoft's Windows unit. "Because of that we are betting really big on RSS in Longhorn by integrating RSS throughout the operating system."

"We can't think of all the great ways that applications can take advantage of RSS, but our millions of application developers can."
--Gary Schare
Microsoft's Windows unit

Most typically, RSS is used by news publishers and bloggers to notify subscribers when new information has been posted. It is also used by podcasters to alert listeners to new available audio.

For starters, Microsoft plans to make sure that subscribing to RSS feeds is as simple as choosing a favorite in Internet Explorer. Firefox already includes some RSS features, while Apple Computer added RSS support in the version of Safari included with its Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger release.

Support for RSS will take place in both the Longhorn and Windows XP versions of Internet Explorer 7.0, Schare said. Test versions of IE7 for Windows XP and Longhorn are slated for later this summer.

As previously reported, Microsoft is also proposing extensions to the RSS specification that will add support for ordered lists. That would enable, for example, e-commerce sites to more easily publish things such as a constantly updated feed of best-selling products.

Beyond that, Microsoft is adding support throughout Longhorn for RSS, meaning that programs in Longhorn will be able to benefit from RSS without specifically being rewritten to accommodate the standard. For example, a calendar program might be able to get, via RSS, a list of appointments that are sent in a format it understands.

Microsoft is planning a common feed list and a common data store that will be accessible not only by Internet Explorer, but also by other browsers, as well as any other Windows program.

"We can't think of all the great ways that applications can take advantage of RSS, but our millions of application developers can," Schare said.

What is not clear is how much Longhorn will take advantage of RSS out of the box beyond the browser-based support. Schare talked about possibilities such as using an RSS feed of photos as part of a screensaver, but said it was not yet clear if Microsoft will include that capability in the operating system itself. Microsoft has also not decided whether to bundle a separate RSS reader as part of Longhorn, Schare said.

Applications will also be able to use RSS to carry other kinds of content, such as audio and video. One possibility would be for Windows Media Player to automatically handle video and audio podcasts, although Schare said he could not comment.

There is one implementation of RSS that had been part of Microsoft's Longhorn plans that has fallen by the wayside. When Microsoft first demonstrated Longhorn at the Fall 2003 Professional Developers Conference, there was a "sidebar" feature, which had all sorts of information permanently displayed in a corner of the screen. One of the main planned sources for that information was RSS. However, Schare confirmed that the sidebar is not part of Microsoft's current Longhorn plans.

Microsoft plans to roll out the RSS features over the coming months.

The company plans to release on Friday a technical overview of the new programming interfaces in Longhorn that will support RSS, but not the code itself. The software maker will also release its plans for the list extensions, which it said will be made available under the same Creative Commons terms as the RSS specification itself.

Only a part of the enhanced RSS capability--specifically, the browser-based RSS support--will be evident in this summer's beta version of Longhorn. Other capabilities will show up in software code given out around the time of Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference, which takes place in Los Angeles in mid-September.

30 comments

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Late to the party.... again.
Yet another case of Microsoft taking good ideas and being late to
the party with it. Blech.
Posted by verucabong (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yet again...
Excuse me while I yawn... Microsoft follows Apple's lead again.
does MS _ever_ have an original idea?
Posted by jim_mac (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
copy
damn you beat me to it, guess i'll be just like microsoft and copy
what you said, just not as well as you said it: duuuuh microsoft
copy fruit.
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Link Flag
Complaining?!?
You guys must be REALLY smart. I mean... you are SO RIGHT! Since Microsoft is releasing their OS AFTER APPLE, they should invent something TOTALLY NEW to use in place of RSS.

Sheesh... Accusing MS of copying RSS is as worthless and childish as anything I've see. OF COURSE they are going to build in RSS. They aren't "Copying" or "ripping off" anything from anybody. They are integrating a widely adopted protocol, just as they should. If they released an alternative to RSS, THEN you would have something to ***** about.

*shakes head*
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Oh please, get your facts straight
There have been RSS readers, as stand alone apps and plugins for IE, long before Apple 'invented' the concept.
RSS, MP3 players, downloadable music, the scroll wheel on the iPod, a GUI; none of them invented at Apple. Apple, just like MS, merely copies or purchases from those who do invent.
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
Been There, Done That...Microsloth
Once again the biggest bloated sloth of a world dominating monopoly comes slithering in like a snake in the grass to the computing garden party.

RSS is great, and Firefox, Apple Safari,online news, blogs, etc, etc. have been developing & ustilizing for up to the minute quick review & access to the news!

Wait, can you here that off in the distance at Redmond the little chipmonks firing up the Xerox machines & PR spinmasters coming up with yet another billion dollar TV ad campaign to announce their latest & greatest "innovation" to the MS Drones.... Citizen Gates, how does he think that computin' stuff up?

YAWN...it's about time Billy "BOB"...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
meh
PART of that may be true but apple does apply a lot of new
technology so their customers can stay up to date and
experience the latest and greatest in new tech, unlike a certain
monopoly which waits to see how everyone else does it and then
wakes up and pronounces it as the latest innovation on their
platform. As for the iPod I believe that it was developed in house
(from what i read on wired.com), but they aquired a company to
get a head start and the click wheel is an apple invention (and a
natural progression from the 1st 2nd and 3rd gen ipods so it
wasn't just taken from somewhere out of the blue) it is also
patented so, i'd get your facts straight. RSS is an open standard
so it was always there, just they decided it would be rather
useful for those who access a lot of their news on the web. None
of this is magic it's just common sense and realizing the
potential of an idea even if others are a little slow on the mark.
Apple never claimed to invent rss they just built it in to their
operating system, because they realized it had great potential.
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sorry
this was directed at Mr. Demuth
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Link Flag
Click wheel
The Click wheel is nothing revolutionary. Mice have had intelligent acceleration for years, and many amplifiers and CD players (like my 50 CD Sony) have a similar feature for volume and/or disc selection. Apple may have been the first to name and trademark it, but they were not the first to make one. There is nothing amazing about the iPod except its hype.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Find RSS help here!
For more intelligence on RSS technology see the URL below.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.webcenter.squarespace.com/rss-syndication-intelligence/" target="_newWindow">http://www.webcenter.squarespace.com/rss-syndication-intelligence/</a>

You will find complete information resources within.
Posted by anthonycea (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A whole lot simpler?
For Microsoft to make anything a whole lot simpler is about like the Federal Government or the Internal Revenue saying they are going to make something a whole lot simpler. If Really Simple Syndication is already simple, why not leave it that way? By the time MS integrates RSS throughout the operating system as stated in the article, they will probably create more new security holes than the Federal Bureaucracy can create new loop holes.
Posted by br77575 (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
most important point of article
didn't anyone note the PR gap in this simple announcement?

the internet explorer that isn't going to be upgraded before longhorn is released is going to get upgrade that will be obsolete before it is released?

I don't think so!!!

looks like another unanounced repeated delay to longerhorn ... again... too... also!
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RSS & PODCASTS on shorthorn! ooooooo!
ooooh,aaaaaah! Shorthorn OS 12/2006/2007? is going to have two new, really cool innovations &#38; features! RSS + Podcats!
BFD Citizen Gates. Mac OSX &#38; iPods have that ability TODAY 06/2005! WHY wait for "the future of communication on your computer until 2007, when it is available TODAY on MacOSX Safari, Firefox &#38; new iPods (Mac + PC)?

THIS is what the looooooooooooong awaited Shorthorn OS is raving about?

Citizen Gates: Little cowboy on his toy cow.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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