For a while I’ve thought Dave Winer’s What’s Like RSS? question needed to be developed further.

Perhaps some kind of outline / catalogue of open formats that are well-established, have no “owner” but multiple existing stake-holders, and are unlikely to change at any time in the near future.

Anyway, I thought one should exist, so here’s the first draft up on GitHub … for anyone who wants to add to it.

So Yahoo Pipes is closing down.

As of August 30th 2015, users will no longer be able to create new Pipes. The Pipes team will keep the infrastructure running until end of September 30th 2015 in a read-only mode. You can download your Pipe definition by specifying your Pipe-ID (_id) and the output format (_out=json) to the following end-point: For e.g:

Please post any questions you have related to this announcement on the Yahoo Developer Forum for Pipes. The Pipes team thanks you for support and cooperation.

Source: Yahoo Pipes Blog – Pipes End-of-life Announcement

Clearly, they didn’t have my intuitions about it. Seems there are some alternatives in “algebra of feeds” space, though.

Arguably, this could be the beginning of an interesting wave.

I love Quora. It’s a great site and community. But I started getting a bit concerned how much writing I was doing there which was (potentially) disappearing inside their garden and not part of the body of thinking I’m building up on ThoughtStorms (or even my blogs).

Fortunately, I discovered Quora has an RSS feed of my answers, so I can save them to my local machine. (At some point I’ll think about how to integrate them into ThoughtStorms; should I just make a page for each one?)

Anyway here’s the script (powered by a lot of Python batteries.)

And this turns the files back into a handy HTML page.

A quick question. What’s the right way to add “tag” information to an RSS feed? (So that a story can have a number of tags associated with it? Eg. my last story here was tagged “wiki”, “bill seitz” etc.)

Looking at the spec there’s a “category” sub-element. Is it this? Does each category need to have a different “category-domain” value? Or can I have multiple categories for an item with the same domain? (This is what Blogger itself seems to do.)

Posted in rss.
Dave Winer asked a great question back in December. What standards are like (his ideal for) RSS?

That is, basically fixed forever by convention, large userbase and multiple suppliers?

My suggestions :

In practice, a few Unix classics : SSH, the diff / patch formats, rsync, finger. All used on a grand scale by many parties. Multiple implementations. Multiple pieces of software committed to them. No one really trying to change them.

Email protocols are pretty widely supported and fixed.
Git. It’s notionally owned by Linus Torvalds, but he doesn’t seem to have any commercial interest in extending or breaking it. GitHub showed you can build a great commercial site around it without trying to make proprietary extensions. And I can use the same clients to push and pull from my server running the default Git daemon, from Github, or from rival offerings (I’m pretty sure BitBucket / SourceForge / Google Code now offer Git as an option)

Possibly Jabber / XMPP