RSS is the backbone for most things Web 2.0 but these days, it's not always fast enough. Politeness limits ping times to every 15 minutes at best in most cases, string a couple of applications together and information will sometimes not arrive where you're waiting for it for up to an hour.
A number of people are trying to speed up the feeds but today sees the first public mention of a new effort lead by the guys at popular lifestreaming service FriendFeed. FriendFeed is working on an open source add-on to RSS and Atom that will make it easier to discover when a feed has been updated. This could be a big deal.
What it Is
The FriendFeed crew is working on something called a Simple Update Protocol. It was first reported on by venture publication The Deal and subsequently by Venture Beat, leading us to believe the PR push is an effort to for the company to raise some more money.
In response to our questions, FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit told us the following:
- RWW: How will it work?
Buchheit: SUP is just a very simple extension to RSS and Atom that makes it easier to discover when a feed has been updated.
- RWW: Where is this relative to XMPP?
Buchheit: It's unrelated to XMPP.
- RWW: Gnip? (See our coverage of Gnip, a startup that appears to be aiming to do what SUP will do and more.)
Buchheit: We're talking with several companies about supporting SUP, but aren't ready to announce anything.
- RWW: Open source?
Buchheit: Yes, absolutely Open Source.
Not a whole lot of information is available about SUP, but we hope the above helps. We're real excited to see what FriendFeed has under its hat. The company has done more interesting things with popular use of RSS than anyone else has in awhile.
The Simple Update Protocol is due to be released next month. We look forward to checking it out. Soggy feeds put a damper on our day far too often. Update: FriendFeed has posted details about this on their blog.
Interested in FriendFeed? Take a tour of the RWW writers' activities on the site here. See also our months-old podcast interview with the founders of FriendFeed, still one of the best sources of in depth information available about this important service.