Rob Scoble, Microsoft's Sultan of Syndication, blogged previously about how his landmark theory of "If you don't have an RSS feed today, you should be fired." I totally agree. The technology has reached the point of maturity when it's applicable for real-world use in all indusrtries (not just in weblogging apps and by publishing companies), across application barriers, in a multitude of devices, over diverse platforms, and with a variety of data and media formats. In every industry, on every blog, on every site, there can be - and damn well should be - an RSS feed. It's a very welcome invasion. And you're a feeble competitor (and according to Scoble, subject to termination from gainful employment) if you don't leverage it. It's that powerful.
Consider an example using the ultimate litmus test for any technology: adult entertainment. Using barebones RSS a distribution scheme was instantly implemented to deliver high-quality video porn (a largely oxymoronic assertion) to the PSP, more immediately successfully than comparable podcast-driven mature audio content over the iPod and its legion of derived brethren MP3 players, with the latter having been in the market at least 3x longer. This makes perfect sense - with the optimal state of porn being an act of intimacy expressed visually (fabricated or otherwise), it was an easy translation - no extra production costs. And both feeds simultaneously maintain a multi-platform presence, being accessible via the desktop Web, on mobile browsers and through countless custom RSS reader applications. Additionally, the membership-driven nature of that specific type of material makes for a perfect case for authenticated RSS access. So there's your success story and business model.
And with enhanced podcasts gaining momentum with support from iTunes 4.9 and undoubtedly Windows Media Player v.Next, there's a whole new world of multimedia opportunities and things we can do with extended XML tags on the horizon. And we as content creators need not worry about the particularities of each new platform, software system or device that taps our stuff. We just setup the feed and let the consuming application take over.
Call me ignorant or biased (or visionary), but when I profile an interview candidate for a technical position these days, I spend less and less time on their resume, and more time Googling them, perusing their blog(s) and podcast(s). I don't base my entire opinion of them based on such material, but it does give me an idea of who I'm dealing with. Give me a couple of days, let me subscribe to your feed, read/listen to some of your stuff, look through your archive and formulate an opinion of your technical acumen, general intellect, personal interests and area(s) of expertise.
Bottom line: RSS works. It's easy for a content producer to setup; provides standardized, extensible access for developers; and total flexibility for consumers. So to back Scoble, get on it...and get with it. Use RSS feeds liberally and creatively. Unlike profanity, this is one means of communication where leveraging the tool tastefully and sparingly isn't needed. Go hog wild. Figure out new ways to syndicate your content - in forums, in chatrooms, for CRM...and yes, in RSS readers.
But of course, most of us already knew that.
Considering how large Google (the site) is now, with all the development work applied to the services subsidiary to the main search feature - image search, Google News, Froogle, Google Maps, GMail, Google Earth, I'm amazed that the whole thing started with a simple two-page search process. Certainly there were more files, scripts, pages and libraries within the site that no one ever saw, but I'm estimating that more than 99.9997% of the site's traffic was from (1) the homepage/search form, and (2) the search results page.
This makes for a feat nearly unbelievable and practically impossible to replicate these days. And yet it's the gold standard for the way so many things are done online.
I wrote in 2003 about the main reasons "the unassuming search engine with the world's simplest UI", and I still tip my cap to the way the site turned the Web completely around.
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EPISODE #101 - I rant about Ajax development and getting your programmers properly motivated, I ramble on about beating the speed traps on Guam, ponder the jof at MSNBC on the other side of the world, spend some time talking about the lifestyle difference between Seattle and Guam, then cut the damn show short and didn't get to talking about most of the stuff I had planned.
"Developers, developers, developers!" - hilarious Ballmer-esque call-to-arms clip from the software industry
All the traffic lights were out on the way to work (lightning storm)
Guam's police and the use of the radar gun
What if I take the job? Lifestyle differences between Guam and Washington I'll have to get used to
Corporatetalk - hammering out negotiations details (they don't want to talk money until I go out there, I don't want to go out there until they talk money
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Backbase, who's doing a lot with rich Internet application (RIA) development, published a whitepaper on the future of RIA development, with the recent Ajax craze and beyond. It's got some good conceptual information, as well as Backbase-specific architecture. The company's got a whole list of whitepapers on its software, including a neat piece on search engine-friendly RIAs. Nice work.
It was great to see Macromedia's Kevin Lynch address the topic of deep linking, bookmarking and script referencing in Flash. This has long been a source of contention for me, and not surprisingly, for others as well. Hear a podcast snippet here.