Of course, as soon as I start on a series of chats about a particular thing, something else comes along to take my attention away. But this is well worthy of commenting on – Kevin Hale discusses RSS.
This is a very interesting look at the present and possible future for the RSS format, and while I’m not sure that RSS will replace search – after all, to read an RSS feed about a particular subject you have to find it first – I do think that Google, and probably other search engine companies as well, are realising they can augment their search results with the added spice of RSS. Part of that spice is that the results are, as Kevin rightly says:
…clean data, good data and thanks to wide-spread adoption by companies and the major blog software entities, lots of it.
Perfect for a search engine to use, I think you’ll agree. Plus it comes with that added bonus of being reputable, human-created data. That is until the spammers realise what they can do with it. And, as if all that were not enough, it can even include advertisements, Google are currently working on an RSS feed version of its AdSense system. Hopefully it will be handled in a sensitive manner – after all, one of the advantages of reading a feed rather than visiting a website is you can don’t have to view the ads.
The one thing Kevin didn’t mention (unless I missed it) was about the new Google XML format site map technology. To my mind there seems to be too much in common between RSS and this new site map XML format, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a convergence (there’s that word again) of these formats in the near future. It certainly makes sense – site maps are, after all, selective; there are some pages that we webmasters don’t want people to find. And RSS is flexible, allowing different types of content to be saved into one single file. And both are XML and freely available. You see the corollary?
Anyway, go read the essay, it’s very good. Hopefully I’ll have time to tackle the next part (CSS) of my 5-part look at the web development world soon.
HTML is where it all started, and where it all ends. There is no web page without HTML (or some variant of it, such as XHTML). Flash designers may disagree, but that clever Flash movie still needs wrapping in an HTML document to display in a browser. HTML code is the bread and butter of web developers, and I love it.
There’s not much to say, really. I’m not going to get in to the whole XHTML or just plain ‘ol HTML thing because, frankly, I don’t understand it. All I will say is that anyone who says they are a web developer, but does not have a very good grasp of HTML is kidding themselves.
So you can use your web server and server-side scripting language to create pretty much whatever you want – lists from databases, output of remote XML files, the latest comments made on a forum. However the important thing is that, no matter how you generate it, your HTML code must be semantic and valid.
I realise I’ve not said much in this post, but it’s important to understand just how important HTML is, and thank the efforts of the many developers who have brought us this fantastic language.
Which is correct, of course. Websites – and in particular DHTML websites – rely heavily on those three technologies.
Talking of the three “visible” technologies – the bits of code we can see in our browsers – but not aknowledging the power of the two “invisible” technologies means we are missing out on many opportunities the web is offering us. However let’s go a stage further, and realise that it’s only through the collaboration of these five areas, the symbiosis of their complementary capabilities, that we can truly take advantage of this new development platform.
I’ve been at it again, slaving over a hot monitor, and I can now provide you with a simple method to check your web server, to see if it supports the wondrous Apache module mod_rewrite. If this makes sense to you then great, please take a look, if not then go back to your business and try to forget I said anything.
Well, there we have it. I turn 28, buy a house and get engaged all on the same day.