Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie announced an extension to RSS this morning called Simple Sharing Extensions, or SSE. Ozzie described it as "the RSS of synchronization" and it's all about sharing data updates in applications such as calendaring. Ozzie explained:
"Using RSS itself as-is for synchronization wasn't really an option. That is, RSS is primarily about syndication - unidirectional publishing - while in order to accomplish the “mesh” sharing scenarios, we'd need bi-directional (actually, multi-directional) synchronization of items. But RSS is compelling because of the power inherent in its simplicity."
ZDNet's Dan Farber has more details and Microsoft's Don Dodge has a nice description of SSE: "The idea behind Simple Sharing Extensions is to allow multi-directional synchronization of data and objects across multiple applications." Note that what Microsoft has released now is just the spec for SSE - there are no actual Microsoft products that use it right now. The spec has been released under a Creative Commons license – Attribution-ShareAlike.
Father of RSS Dave Winer was consulted by Ozzie and ended up being the catalyst for extending SSE into his other 'baby', OPML (RSS's younger sibling). Dave wrote on his blog:
"Microsoft's new approach to synchronizing RSS and OPML, using methods pioneered in Ozzie's earlier work, and keeping the "really simple" approach that's worked so well with networked syndication and outlining, combines the best of our two schools of thought, and this creativity is available for everyone to use."
Is anyone using SSE in their products? Coming Soon...
Mike Arrington noted that "new companies will be built on the back of SSE". One of those companies may be Charlie Wood's Spanning Partners, which creates RSS solutions for enterprises. As Charlie noted in a blog post today, he already has something in mind for SSE: RSS for lightweight Enterprise Application Integration. He explained an example from one of his clients:
"The client's requirements are straightforward: many application instances need to synchronize data with many other application instances. The synchronization needs to be bidirectional. [...] Data synchronization turns out to be a very good application of RSS."
There you have it, real world implementations for Microsoft's SSE are already being built.