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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Why are dates RFC 822?

Gene Saunders writes: "Why does RSS 2.0 use RFC 822 instead of the (infinitely more modern) RFC 2822?"

Here's why we went with RFC 822:

1. Any scripting software that was used in Internet applications would already have to deal with RFC 822 dates, since that was the format used in email. For most app developers, I imagined, they already had library routines that dealt with 822 format dates. The script environment I was using certainly did. Over the years I've never heard a complaint that people were unable to process 822 dates. ;->

2. 822 dates are not only machine readable, they are also human readable. One of the goals of RSS was to be non-intimidating for non-technical users -- they should be able to look at a file and make sense of what's there, where ever possible.

3. Believe it or not, the decision was made in 1997, seven years ago. RSS is a venerable institution, so its anachronisms should be appreciated as one respects a fine wine or an elder statesman, or a format that spawned an incredible market.

# Posted on 5/16/04; 11:49:39 AM -