I'm in San Diego at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology conference this week, and I'll be popping in here with reports from time to time. Today I went to a tutorial on RSS and Atom by Ben Hammersley. The most interesting thing from the tutorial for the BTL crowd is probably his characterization of RSS 2.0, RSS 1.0, and Atom:
RSS 2.0 - A simple specification that's easy to use and extend. It's also fairly loose and so it's fantastic for building simple lists that can be passed around between machines, but useless for anything else. Great for building little applications.
RSS 1.0 - A complex, rigid specification that includes features like RDF. Fantastic for complex document mining. A nightmare for tiny ad hoc apps.
Atom - Simple, strictly defined data and strictly defined standard with extra things like a RESTful API.
Ben's talk focused on the features and ideas around Atom. One key idea: An Atom document contains at least the minimum that can be said about a resource. Atom seems like a useful evolution of the RSS idea that draws on the experience of RSS 1.0 and 2.0.
While Ben's talk was very interesting, the really cool thing I saw this afternoon was a couple of cars that had been hacked to contain full-blown computer systems. I've got pictures of the car on my gallery if you're interested.