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Netscape to remove DTD for RSS 0.91 feeds soon

time to update your old feeds

   
1:29 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



See: [blog.netscape.com...] (as reported on Slashdot)
So until July 1, 2007, the DTDs for RSS 0.9 and 0.91 will be available via my.netscape.com. If you are a software developer, use this time to ensure that your RSS software is capable of displaying RSS feeds even if the DTD is unavailable, or have a backup copy cached locally for your parser to use in the absence of the specified DTD. If you are a content provider, either update your feeds to point to another copy of the DTD, or accept the fact that your feed may not be available through feed readers that don't have a backup plan in the case of a missing DTD.

The RSS 0.91 DTD was being accessed 4 million times a month and AOL/Netscape have simply decided they aren't interested in RSS 0.91 any more and don't want to pick up the tab for hosting the DTD.

The outcome of the DTD deletion is that the thousands of RSS feeds using Netscape's RSS 0.91 will become automatically invalid from July 1st 2007 (including, incidentally, the WebmasterWorld RSS feed). Most RSS readers do not need to access the DTD, but for the few that do it is important to have a plan which covers the DTD deletion. You have a couple of options. If you aren't using the entity references defined in the Netscape DTD, then you can switch your feed to Userland RSS 0.91 or (better) update to RSS 2.0 or Atom. If you absolutely rely on the entity references in your feed content, then you should copy the DTD locally, and change the doctype of your feed to reference your locally-hosted DTD.

2:54 pm on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I think it was RSS 2.0 that introduced the now widely accepted nomenclature "Really Simple Syndication" - which still makes me wince every time I see it because I still think of RSS as "RDF Site Summary"!

Nipping over to Netscape just now to grab a copy of the DTD for 9.01 and reading the DTD header reminded me that for a short while RSS stood for "Rich Site Summary"

Sorry

self-indulgent reminiscance...

back to work now!

1:13 am on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



It's now a few days after the supposed deadline, and the DTD files are still available on the Netscape site. I wonder if they've forgotten? :)

Once (and if) the files are eventually removed, it will be interesting to see the effect of the change.

2:07 am on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Therein lies the problem with all externally referenced DTDs. I have mentioned it in the past but nobody was willing to consider that the paths they are hardcoding may well not last.

It is a shame they can't do a 301 redirect to someone who is willing to hold the DTD, possibly w3c or perhaps a commerical entity who has a major vested interest in the RSS industry.

2:13 am on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I'd mis-read the title of your initial post. I kept thinking the deadline was July 7th. ;) Doh!

If you are a software developer, use this time to ensure that your RSS software is capable of displaying RSS feeds even if the DTD is unavailable, or have a backup copy cached locally for your parser to use in the absence of the specified DTD. If you are a content provider, either update your feeds to point to another copy [web.archive.org] of the DTD, or accept the fact that your feed may not be available through feed readers that don't have a backup plan in the case of a missing DTD.

It is interesting that they're advising people to use the archive.org version instead.

 

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