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New RSS 2.0 spec site deployed

Friday, April 13, 2007 by Dave Winer.

As I reported here and here, I've been slowly working on a project to "future-safe" the Harvard site that houses the RSS 2.0 spec. Yesterday, we started redirecting from the old site to the new one. Permalink to this paragraph

If you're pointing to the RSS 2.0 spec, you may want to point to its new location.  Permalink to this paragraph

I found this project interesting, because I want to learn how to create a website that lives for decades, if not longer.  Permalink to this paragraph

Here are some of the techniques I employed: Permalink to this paragraph

1. Everything is static. It can all be seved by a standard install of Apache, with no plug-ins or special software required. Permalink to this paragraph

2. It's self-contained. Every resource it uses is stored within the site's folder. That includes images, screen shots, example files, downloads. Permalink to this paragraph

3. Almost all the links are relative. As far as I know only one type of link is not, links to the blue arrow that marks an internal document link. If for some reason at some time in the future, cyber.law.harvard.edu should go offline, and the site has been moved to a new location, the blue arrows will appear as broken images. I may yet fix this one. I don't think there are any other hard-coded links in the site. Permalink to this paragraph

The goal was to make it so that a future webmaster, wanting to relocate the site, would just have to move the folder, add some redirects, and everything would work, more or less.  Permalink to this paragraph

You can also download the whole site, from a link on the site's About page. You're free to mirror it if you like. And as always it's licensed under the Creative Commons, giving everyone the ability to create new things from it. (I also included the Frontier CMS tables the site was generated from, and the Manila site, in the Downloads folder.) Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named rsshat.gifThere was one example where I thought for a second about changing the spec, but I didn't; the <docs> element, which we say should point to the spec. It's an optional channel-level element. The example we provide is the previous location. I thought this was a good place for me to express the commitment to the spec being totally frozen, so I left it as it was. To change that value would have broken nothing but a promise, but promises are everything when it comes to specs that industries are built on, and the RSS 2.0 spec surely has become a foundation that many build on. Permalink to this paragraph

Of course if you spot any breakage, please let me know asap. Post a comment here, or send me a private email.  Permalink to this paragraph

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