Interesting article on the O'Reilly site - Timothy Appnel writes that RSS is more than a syndication format - and is being used as a proto-web service. If you follow the early users of RSS, you'll see that - Pingback and Trackback are effectively web services enabling backtracking. Various blog tools support updates via other RSS features. Here's what Timothy writes:
I can vouch for the value. I started monkeying around with RSS at the end of the summer, and Dave Murphy joined in and wrote the user interface for BottomFeed. Over the next few months, our engineering group added RSS feeds for our bug tracking tool (2 - one for all AR activity, and one for newly closed items). We added feeds for our source code databases. I added a feed for our public wiki and for this blog. I can see further possibilities as well; a nice, easier to use client interface to some of the cruftier web based tools out there, for instance. In any case, go read the whole articleDJ Adams writes: It seems that beyond carrying syndication information, RSS is a very useful and flexible way to get all sorts of application data pushed to a user over time. In the same way that a web browser is a universal canvas upon which limitless services and information can be painted, so (in an albeit much smaller way) an RSS reader/aggregator might also find its place as an inbox for time-related delivery of all sorts of information.Amen DJ! As I asserted in a previous weblog post, Web Services We'd Like To See, I wrote Whether it is just assumed or simply overlooked, RSS is the most widely deployed Web service across the Internet. Granted, most RSS feeds have very simple interfaces with almost as simple backends that are unlike the Web services that usually come to mind. (Who says Web services need to be complex or sophisticated anyhow?) Under the principles of the REST architectural style that the Web was built on, RSS feeds do qualify. Consider that any site search engine becomes a Web service if it could emit results in RSS and the format's potential in the realm of Web services becomes more apparent. It is this perceived potential that I've been an advocate of getting the RSS format's house in order.