Ordering in RSS feeds

Jun 23, 2005 19:14 · 170 words · 1 minute read

CNET reports that Microsoft wants to extend RSS to include ordering information for things like best seller lists. The funny thing about this is that XML (and RSS is XML) already has an implied ordering. It’s then up to a human to decide whether or not they care about that ordering. All you would really need added to RSS is a flag that says “ordering in this feed is important”.

Zesty News, which I promise *will* be released one of these days, already allows you, the reader of a feed, to decide whether you care about the ordering of items. I use this myself on feeds like the BBC’s Top Stories and the Blogdex popular entries.

Even if there was a flag in the feed saying “order is important”, I think it’s still nice to give the reader of the feed a choice. That’s the beauty of RSS (and other XML formats): it’s machine understandable, so the client software can really do useful stuff with the information that comes in.