RSS-Data: XML-RPC encoding in RSS 2.0
A few months ago I approached Dave Winer and a few other people with a very simple idea.? Why not use XML-RPC's data serialization format to create a simple data language for object meta-data in RSS (and other!) applications.? Interestingly, if you subtract the message envelop from XML-RPC, add Unicode and time-zone support to the standard, you've actually got WDDX, quite literally.? Dave really liked the idea, and we came up with the idea of RSS-Data.
Why use RSS-Data?? Pragmatism.? Because of the rapid growth of blogging software, XML-RPC parsers are already implemented in dozens of languages and platforms.? As a result, a simple data language based on XML-RPC's data model could emerge in a matter of days or weeks, as developers quickly refactor their parsers to simply provide data serialization/deserialization components.
Grr. I can’t decide whether I hate this idea or can live with it. On the one hand, I have benefitted from XML-RPC and it’s quick integration between disparate scripting environments. But on the other hand, the tendency to use adhoc data structures in scripting has given me numerous headaches and plenty of inexplicable bugs.
The further I get, the less I want quick and dirty, and the more I want thoughtful chaos and at least some documentation. I’d like some schemas, rather than reverse engineering from example. But sometimes it’s nice to short circuit over-designed processes and take expedient shortcuts, even if there lies the road to madness. Sleep is good sometimes.