Should we solve one click subscriptions by turning the html off?

Thinking about RSS in a slightly different way is Bill de horas (found via Paul James).

at some point weblogs flip over and the HTML website bits will become secondary fluff to the XML content, like how PDFs are secondary web fluff to HTML today

It certainly looks like the first site is actually down at the moment. But even the title and quote raises a load of questions which I've been thinking about.

When (if ever?) will RSS, Atom, or something reading out grows HTML browsing?
Will it be via RSS, Atom, Web Api's, Webservices or something else?
How will the write nature of the web fit with such a change?
Is it worth having a specification beyond XHTML 2.0 in the light of this title?
Should the w3c push for a standard of RSS or go along with Atom?
When will the first lot of RSS only services and sites (maybe not the best term now) emerge?
Is content negotiation really your friend or actually your foe?

Maybe some of these questions are answered by the post, but I still cant access it. Here's the google cached version.

So now finally seeing the entry fully, heres some more thoughts…
Bill certainly thinks along the same lines as Miles. But he certainly does make some good points.

While the browser wars continue on their merry percentage-driven dance, it all seems somehow kind of pointless and wistful, like having a really satisfying argument over the pros and cons of various 8-track tape players, while the rest of world are sucking down MP3s into their iPods.

Indeed, the upcoming browser wars is largely irelevent for a small but growing group of internet users.

The idea of turning off the website for this place and just serving up the feed does not look unreasonable at this point. I'm betting 90% of traffic to the archived html files here is only driven because the permalinks and trackbacks point there instead of direct to feed entries. It's slavish. Honestly, permalinking to a html file is starting to look more and more like a bug. Why not point to the XML entries? (Answer: I'm not sure, but in my case it might have something to do with having a Perl Deficit).

Good point, but RSS archiving is pretty important when you consider this point more deeply. I guess it would make sense for myself to link directly to the blojsom entry files which are simply subset xhtml files. This would also make sense if you consider client side transformations.

The frontpage would be the feed, the archives would be Atom entries, and instead of a “subscribe to the feed” buttons, you could have “read this stuff in a browser” buttons

Nice idea, I love the idea of a view this with a browser button.

Web browsers are still good for the following however:

1. Testing webapps
2. Shopping
3. Posting to delicious
4. Search forms

That list is pretty much what Miles came up with too. How odd… But following on.

1 is a self-fulfilling prophesy (or a death-spiral, I can't tell). 2, well, Better Living Through Shopping obviously, but it's only conditioning to be unlearned – how long can it be before I start buying stuff via an aggregator? 3 and 4 represents feature deficit in today's aggregators, insofar as they they don't have much by the way of tool bar goodness. A Mozilla based aggregator will eventually fix that right up.

Mozilla based aggregator, how great would that be? And before anyone replies, I'm aware of Sage, newsmonster and a couple more. The ability to shop or transact within a rss aggregator is the next logical step for paypal/ebay, amazon, etc. Its also interesting to see this already happening when you consider the field bigger than simply aggregators. You know little applications/widgets which interact and transact with Amazon and Ebay webservices.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.