ATOM publishing protocol

The Atom Publishing Protocol as Universal Web Glue
Tim Bray

Why? People in blogging constantly complain about how it works and that it doesn’t do what you want it to do, therefore there was a requirement to have a general purpose tool that will allow you to post to the web.

The speaker shows a slide having a go at user generated content and what a broken phrase it is

Out of 30 million blogs only about 6 million are regular blogs, still a fair number of active contributions, but if there are so many now why isn’t there 60 million – because the tools suck

Branded cell phones are so wrong as they control where the content can go – blogging tools are bad

The protocol

  1. Start at a publications URI; GET its “service document”, extract URIs for its “collections”
  2. Retrieve those collections, page at a time, see what entries, pictures and so on you already have
  3. POST an Atom entry to a collection. Get back its URI (in an HTTP header)
  4. POST a picture in binary to a collection. Get back a URI for the bits, and another for an Atom Entry with metadata
  5. PUT or DELETE an existing Atom entry
  6. There is no step 6

How APP differs

  • No API abstraction, just message parsing (unlike XML-RPC)
  • Security is decoupled; use whatever you usually use with HTTP, probably TLS (unlike WS*)
  • Client doesn’t need to understand/traverse the server namespace, client says “here’s the data” , the server answers “here’s where I put it” (unlike WebDAV)

Where APP is being used

  • Google ‘GDATA’ interface using it
  • Internal Ning inter-application transfer
  • MS says will use it next version of word
  • Many implementations under construction, you can test with ‘vi’ and ‘curl’

A guy is talking about using APP to post queries to and from a database in the browser to enable offline working, kind of like my offline ideas but not at the same level as I was thinking ( I was thinking at OSI layer level but I think this idea makes more sense for certain tasks) more ‘grokking’ required

We shift to a live demo of Atom in use, not capturing here though.

He is writing an Atom feed validator (in Ruby)

Mentions mobile phones several times and how such a simple publishing protocol can enable easy posting from the millions of phones out there, too big a crowd at the end to catch him for more discussion on that but conceptually it makes sense to me

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