A conversation with Gent Hito about RSSBus and the data web

The acronym RSS usually stands for Really Simple Syndication. Gent Hito thinks it should also stand for Really Simple Services. In this week’s ITConversations podcast we discuss RSSBus, a .NET-based engine — for desktops and for servers — that aims to simplify both the production and consumption of data expressed in terms of RSS (or Atom) feeds.

By normalizing all data feeds to flattened sets of name/value pairs, RSSBus trades away some of the power of advanced data modeling in order to reach a broad population of developers — and even, ideally, ordinary information workers who will be able to pull feeds into their spreadsheets, combine and filter them, and publish their transformed feeds back out to the Net.

If you’re handy with scripting languages and with data, you may or may not need something like RSSBus, because you can combine and manipulate feeds directly and pretty easily. But the amount of web screenscraping that I keep having to do tells me that providing the more structured outputs I’d rather work with still isn’t an obvious and easy thing for many developers. And while a growing minority of developers do produce XML outputs, information workers typically can’t make sense of those feeds. By helping to democratize the creation and use of simple feeds, Gent Hito hopes to accelerate the emergence of the data web.

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