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2007-06-12

Atom Protocol and Microsoft Support

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Microsoft and the Atom Publishing Protocol.  I had to smile:

"I hope this clears up any questions about Microsoft and APP. I'm pretty much done talking about this particular topic for the next couple of weeks.

"PS: You can download Windows Live Writer from here and you can buy Office 2007 wherever great software is sold."

Dare has provided a nice set of posts (linked from this one) on how Microsoft supports the Atom Publishing Protocol [1, 2]: 

  • There is great coverage on how Microsoft supports Atom some places, how it doesn't in some other places, and how this all fits in the context of progress over time along with attempting to use what's stable and to follow where standards adoption leads.  (I'm even more conservative and am busily making sure that my blog and web pages are compatible with "standards" that have been stable since 1999.) 
       
  • The series of posts from Dare is also instructive in showing how he taught himself the difference between Atom and one of Google's implementations of it.
       
  • Dare also rebukes Tim Bray for his tinfoil-hat reaction to an earlier post about difficulties that Dare saw with Atom (partly in the guise of the aforementioned Google implementation).  I point this out only because it is an useful reminder of the risks we take when we extrapolate from exactly what it is people say and do to a projection of motives and unspoken agendas.  The value of this example is that
    1. Tim Bray is a pretty cool guy, but like any of us, he can fall into the Microsoft conspiracy-seeker fraternity without much difficulty.
    2. Dare returns the conversation to exactly what he had in mind when he said what he did, corrects where he discovered he was mistaken, and then provides more background on his experience of how Microsoft took up some standards and, more importantly, what it was like at the time those choices needed to be made.

[1] IETF. RFC 4287: The Atom Syndication Format. Proposed Standard, December 2005.
This is the current version of the Atom specification.  It is in the IETF's equivalent of early beta (or release 1 if you are that cynical).  This is the first level where adoption is possible, under the understanding that many implementations need to be tested and inter-operated before advancing to a Draft Standard.  "Implementation and testing by several groups is desirable.  Revision of the protocol specification is likely."   The IETF is very conservative in how specifications may advance to an ultimate "Standard" status, and the maturity of implementations and interoperability are important factors.  (WebDAV RFC 2518, also mentioned by Dare, has been a Proposed Standard since 1999.)
  
[2] IETF. RFC 4685: Atom Threading Extensions.  Proposed Standard, September 2006.
This is the only other standards-track RFC on Atom so far.  It deals with the particular problem of wanting to maintain threaded discussions.

 
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