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Will JSON replace XML in RSS?
By Dave Winer on Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 11:16 AM.

A frequently asked question goes something like this. #

"I like JSON. What if apps started publishing RSS data in JSON." #

1. My first answer: Sure, why not. I experimented with it in October, and found prior art -- a website that takes a feed and returns JSON.  #

2. I wrote both ends of a protocol that depended on JSONified RSS. It worked. I didn't find any dead-ends.  #

3. Now, that doesn't mean there aren't any dead-ends. If I were a betting man, based on past experience, I'd expect there are. But they wouldn't necessarily be the end of the process. It depends on how determined one is, and if a consensus can be arrived at as to which of the possible egregious hacks would be used to back out of the dead-end. #

A picture named json.gif4. Motivation. Now there's the really big problem. Why would anyone be willing to recode their RSS support to use JSONified RSS? I did it as an interesting hack, a diversion, something to pass the time while my brain warmed up for other work.  #

5. If you run a news site, could you replace your XML-based feeds with JSON without losing a bunch of readers and potential readers. So you'd be stuck supporting both, for the indefinite future. Congratulations, you just made your life more complicated. What did you get in return? #

6. But the world is switching to JSON. Isn't it? Answer -- yes, that does seem to be happening. For new applications. If it's going to happen in an existing app, like HTML or RSS, it's a very long way off. Do a view-source on any web page. See all those angle-brackets? Now think about all the brains that know how to do that. Installed bases like that come, at most, once in a generation. You can't wish them out of existence. If XML is meant to be replaced by JSON, that process will take many many years.  #

So RSS in JSON is technically a real possibility.  #

Will it happen? I wouldn't bet either way. It might happen. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. Or that it's not a good idea.  #

Will it replace XML-based RSS? Obviously, I don't think so. #

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