mamamusings: December 29, 2003

elizabeth lane lawley's thoughts on technology, academia, family, and tangential topics

Monday, 29 December 2003

css and rss

Joi Ito is playing around with sending CSS along with his RSS feed, and an intersting discussion is already brewing in his comments. Most of the comment focus on specific problems that the embedded CSS is causing in some newsreaders. But others are starting to touch on what I think is a very interesting philosophical issue—should content syndication be just about content, or should authors also be able to specify presentation guidelines?

My gut response to this is discomfort with the idea of trying to use CSS with syndicaated content—that it seems somehow contrary to the entire idea of syndicating simple content. But I know from long experience not to trust that kind of initial negativity too much, since it’s often connected with changes that turn out to be quite positive.

So I started wondering…isn’t this the kind of thing that the folks in the Atom project might be thinking about? In the many discussions surrounding the development of this new syndication format, wouldn’t they have been likely to have touched on issues related to sending (optional) stylistic/presentation information along with content?

Yup. The first hit from a Google search on “Atom syndication CSS” was Jason Shellen’s Atom Info Proposal, which “adds two optional tags to the Atom syndication format, adding a way to address an info tag with CSS. One tag invokes a CSS file and another tag to contain the info data.” The second hit was a Sam Ruby post entitled “Atom + CSS.” And the third hit was even more interesting, as it was a message from Phil Wolff to the atom-syntax mailing list entitled “Syndicating CSS?”.

In that last item, Phil Wolff suggests some specific strategies for including style informtion with syndicated feeds, and also describes feedback on those suggestions that he received from Jesse James Garrett.

I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of this discussion, but it seemed worth mentioning those items and tracking back to Joi’s entry, since one of the problems in the blogosphere is that discussions like these seem too often to take place in parallel rather than being intertwingled.

(And btw, Joi, when are you going to put up an Atom feed? ;)

Posted at 11:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (5)
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