Request a free site audit

Interested in offering ad free site memberships?

Life news: I got a dog

Categories

Blog-debate on XML vs. JSON with @davewiner

If you’re reading my blog, odds are you are familiar with Dave Winer already. Dude invented RSS and as his Twitter bio succinctly puts it, he’s been blogging as long as there’s been blogging.

So I wanted to avail his offer for a blog-debate on XML vs. JSON. Here’s Dave’s premise:

Anyone want to blog-debate about XML vs JSON? I’ve spent years using both, I think I have an objective view of the strengths of each. Imho, they are almost the same thing. XML has attributes and values, and that does make it more complex. Slightly. But you don’t have to use the extra features. Look at OPML for an idea of a simple very JSON-like application of XML.

I grew up on RSS and its kin. One of my favorite projects at Thunderdome was developing an NITF format to syndicate our content across network (with the benefit of hindsight, an RSS 2.0 implementation would probably have been better).

But it’s also undeniable that JSON has proliferated over the last decade. This summer’s introduction of JSON Feed typifies this transition from XML to JSON. I saw it mentioned on Daring Fireball, which is how I heard of it.

Let’s take a minute to separate the baby from the bath water here. The JSON Feed creators identified legitimate shortcomings of “standard” RSS. An example in the WordPress context might be custom post types. RSS out of the box doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe additional types of objects, but that’s precisely why RSS 2.0 namespaces exist. Other examples included the addition of a banner image; again, good idea, but germane to publishing in general and not JSON in particular.

Update 12:16pm: Dave informed me that there is also RSS in JSON, which has appeal for schema term consistency between formats

All this to say, I expect RSS to remain the dominant form for feed-based syndication as we know it today. It’s really good at that!

That said, I am spending most of my time these days touching JSON, not XML.

This is because the trend towards API-driven experience and more specifically RESTful experiences. This technology paradigm was driven by the valley but adopted by publishing industry, notably through the WP API project. In general this trend is driven by more happening on the client that’s specific to a user or context. My understanding is that SOAP protocol can satisfy this need, but when that client dev is likely happening in ES6 already, why bother with a detour through XML land?

That said, JSON Feed format is notably not an API. I mentioned this to Gruber and Dave on Twitter, they agreed it was an interesting idea. I’ve been lightly pondering this space as Alley is looking hard at headless publishing. RSS might remain the standard for broadcast feeds but is there a similar standard for content API? We’ve got the WP API project, Contentful has an API, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a standard here.

What do you think? I’m using Coral Project Talk below, so leave me a comment!

Did you enjoy this post?

Signup to receive a weekly email containing my new posts, curated links, and book reviews.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Comments

Follow me on Twitter
Thoughts

Lenfest Institute and Digital First Media?

What if Alden let another organization manage its newspaper assets as a blind trust? It would lose a great deal of flexibility in using DFM assets to leverage other companies it owns, but it would be able to wash its hands of the growing public relations crisis. Furthermore, it would give space for the strategic direction of DFM to be explored and pursued without the added baggage of hedge fund cross-percolation.

Notes on dynamic meters

Notes on newsletters

Notes on the membership model for news

Penn State Campuses Lose University Recognition After Risk Analysis Review

Essays

Capturing Shawmont Station before its $1,000,000 preservation begins – the oldest extant passenger rail station in America

Originally a 18′ by 36′ stone house (Wissahickon Schist), the structure wouldn’t have stood out from the other country homes in this part of Philadelphia, at the tip of the Manayunk Reach, situated at the end of today’s Manayunk Canal Towpath.

Testing WordPress Gutenberg on a high volume news site

Water, sand, and societal change

Apple releases MapKit JS just as Google Maps pricing about to change

Starting July 16, the cost of using Google Maps at scale will increase substantially, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that Apple quietly introduced MapKit JS amidst last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. It’s very possible that I’m missing a key assumption or two in this modeling, but if the pricing differences are even close to the scenario presented above, we are witnessing a tectonic shift in maps as service.

EverQuote and patent medicine

In a thread begun October 2016, Washington Post technology director Aram Zucker-Scharff tweeted about the shady advertising practices of EverQuote, a Boston-based startup. Since then these ads have become prolific on the web (and nearly as prolific are Aram’s tweets documenting the malfeasance).

Lenfest Institute and Digital First Media?

What if Alden let another organization manage its newspaper assets as a blind trust? It would lose a great deal of flexibility in using DFM assets to leverage other companies it owns, but it would be able to wash its hands of the growing public relations crisis. Furthermore, it would give space for the strategic direction of DFM to be explored and pursued without the added baggage of hedge fund cross-percolation.

Receive a weekly email with newly posted content

  • About one email per week
  • Includes original posts, curated links, and book reviews

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend