Apple Runs Afoul Of RSS Pros

    January 20, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The new photocasting feature in Apple’s iPhoto doesn’t comply with RSS standards, a shortcoming the RSS community has pointed out vociferously.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced photocasting during his MacWorld keynote recently, and although one source claimed it was an abbreviated speech, Jobs did make photocasting one of his talking points.

Photocasting lets iPhoto users create a RSS feed of photographs. Other users can view that published feed with either iPhoto or any RSS feed reader. VNUnet reported that Jobs’ claim of being able to see those photocasts on other readers doesn’t work as advertised.

On the technical side, Apple’s photocasting has been cited by software developer Mark Pilgrim as being based on “a single undocumented extension element in a namespace that doesn’t need to be declared.” Pilgrim listed several problems he sees with iPhoto. “It ignores 95% of RSS and Atom and gets most of the remaining 5% wrong,” he said.

Discussion about the problem quickly grew on Dave Winer’s blog. Some of the commentors said they could not view the photocast feeds in a given reader, while several others using Google Reader and other products did not encounter a problem.

After a number of posts of that nature, Winer added a comment to try and make the issue clearer:

…the people who say “It works with XXX” are missing something.

On the server side, Apple is deciding which apps can actually see the content, and which can’t.

When I make the HTTP request from a vanilla scripting environment, I get back a bunch of HTML saying “You idiot you’re using incompatible software.”

No I’m not, my software could easily parse their error-laden so-called RSS. They’re just not willing to give it to my scripting environment.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.