I’ve been reading quite a lot of stuff over the past few days about how folks are disappointed that RSS isn’t making the jump into the mainstream. Scott Karp had some good thoughts on this, so did Fred Wilson, Dave Winer responded with some even more interesting remarks, and Matt McAllister’s got some stuff to say today too.
While broadly agreeing with the premise that RSS is currently “too difficult” for a mainstream audience, I’d also urge people not to rush it. Because the fact is that RSS is gluing all sorts of things together at the front end and the back end.
Take, for instance, the story that Feedburner have just announced a full API into their system. This, for me, is where a huge amount of potential lies with RSS – in its ability to allow different systems to talk to each other, to embed themselves into each other (in this, it’s quite a lot like XML-RPC and the various blogging flavours of it which have driven an awful lot of integration over the past few years). For me, it’s entirely understandable that the RSS front end is still a bit squishy and unfriendly – people are still trying to get to grips with the possibilities of it at the back-end. Not because people are stupid, but because those possibilities are just so huge.