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RSS History

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

There are a lot of folk legends about the evolution of RSS. Here's the scoop, the sequence of events in the life of RSS, as told by the designer of most of the formats.

  1. scriptingNews format, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/27/97.

  2. RSS 0.90, designed by Netscape, for use with, which also supported scriptingNews format. The only thing about it that was RDF was the header, otherwise it was plain garden-variety XML. 3/15/99.

  3. scriptingNews 2.0b1, designed by DW at UserLand, enhanced to include all the features in RSS 0.90. Privately DW urged Netscape to adopt the features in this format that weren't present in RSS 0.90. 6/15/99.

  4. RSS 0.91, designed by Netscape, spec written by Dan Libby, includes most features from scriptingNews 2.0b1. "We're trying to move towards a more standard format, and to this end we have included several tags from the popular <scriptingNews> format." The RDF header is gone. 7/10/99.

  5. UserLand adopts RSS 0.91, deprecates scriptingNews formats. 7/28/99.

  6. The RSS team at Netscape evaporates.

  7. UserLand's RSS 0.91 specification. 6/4/00.

  8. RSS 1.0 published as a proposal, worked on in private by a group led by Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly. Based on RDF and uses namespaces. Most elements of previous formats moved into modules. Like 0.90 it has an RDF header, but otherwise is a brand-new format, not related to any previous format. 8/14/00.

  9. RSS 0.92, which is 0.91 with optional elements, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/25/00.

  10. RSS 0.93 discussed but never deployed. 4/20/01.

  11. MetaWeblog API merges RSS 0.92 with XML-RPC to provide a powerful blogging API. 3/14/02.

  12. RSS 2.0, which is 0.92 with optional elements, designed by DW, after leaving UserLand. MetaWeblog API updated for RSS 2.0. While in development, this format was called 0.94. 9/18/02.

  13. RSS 2.0 spec released through Harvard under a Creative Commons license. 7/15/03.