Shades of Traits : Microsoft & RSS

Today, Microsoft announced broad support for RSS at both the browser (IE7) and operating system (Longhorn) level. This is very exciting stuff for anyone that cares about feed syndication. Few players can take a technology and pull it into mainstream use. Microsoft is one of them.

There are many angles to what Microsoft is planning for RSS. You can read about them here and here and here. This section in the official press release particularly caught my eye:

It allows publishers to embed useful information about the list itself. For example, an online retailer can supply additional information about each item in a list such as price, sales rank, average customer rating and type of merchandise. The extensions enable richer flexibility and capability for sorting and ordering. This enables users to sort their friends’ wish lists by sales rank or popularity.

About seven months ago, I drafted up an RSS extension called RSS Traits. From the Purpose section of the spec:

The real power of Traits is realized on the consuming end. Equipped clients and applications can provide filtering, sorting and presentation enhancements that are driven by the Traits data provided for in the feed.

I’m intrigued that we (“we” being Microsoft and I) came up with what is effectively the same idea to expand the power of RSS. I’ve never spoken to anyone from Microsoft. Then again, I’ve blogged about this a few times, so maybe they read it (or maybe not). Either way, I’m pretty excited to see what they come up with.

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