[Tech-Ed] BOF RSS Without the Blog
(don't worry, I'm not going to be able to attend that much of Tech-Ed so I'm not going to be blogging every single session)
Ray Schraff lead a BOF session on uses of RSS beyond blogging. It was interesting, and he's a very bright guy. There were only about 10 people there, which was good and bad - limited input, but pretty relaxed so everyone could speak up.
He talked about RSS Annotations in the Longhorn SDK (something I'd missed). He used it as a springboard - if an SDK page can use RSS, what else can we do? He talked about using RSS to push business information - transactions, account information, workflow events, etc. One benefit is the smooth integration with "sometimes connected" (offline / disconnected / remote) client applicaitons. RSS aggregators handle this smoothly, so why not leverage it in business applications?
The question of bandwidth was raised - people have been concerned that RSS is pretty chatty and will bring the internet to its knees. Ray pointed out that since it's text only, most RSS responses are far smaller than an internet page response, since it doesn't include all those 50+ KB gifs.
Someone else asked why not just use e-mail for statusing. Ray said one big reason is that we can't really trust our e-mail anymore; it's so flooded with spam. With RSS, you request from a server you've subscribed to, so you can't be spammed (and if you do, you unsubscribe).
Another question concerned security. If there's a feed that has my transaction information, I want to be sure no one else can subscribe to it. We discussed extensions, wrapping the RSS communications in a secure SOAP message, and querystring / HTTPS approaches.
Then there's the issue of RSS spec fragmentation. Ray said if he's targeting aggregators, he'd probably use a RSS .9x, otherwise he'd use RSS 1.0 since it's got RDF support and is therefore extremely extensible.
One other thing Ray brought up was the difficulty of keeping OPML and cached content (read / unread) status in sync between work and home machines. He uses a memory stick to cart his SharpReader info back and forth. I know BlogLines is supposed to answer this quesiton, but didn't work all that well for me. The guy that writes an aggregator with a bundled OPML hosting system's gonna make at least $5 (mine).
All in all, this was a good discussion - interesting to see where this goes.