Book Review - Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom by Ben Hammersley
I got an opportunity to review another RSS/Atom title called Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom by Ben Hammersley (O'Reilly). This is a pretty focused title targeted for developers.
Chapter List: Introduction; Using Feeds; Feeds Without Programming; RSS 2.0; RSS 1.0; RSS 1.0 Modules; The Atom Syndication Format; Parsing and Using Feeds; Feeds in the Wild; Unconventional Feeds; Developing New Modules; The XML You Need for RSS; Useful Sites and Software; Index
The author spends just a little time talking about the whys of RSS/Atom feeds and then dives into the guts of each of the specifications. For the developer looking to learn how to develop a syndicated feed, this focus will probably be highly appreciated. Another interesting part of the book is explanations of the politics behind the three main standards (RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, and Atom). Unlike most naming standards, RSS 2.0 isn't an update of RSS 1.0, and Atom is a third beast that must be accounted for. When you read the history of how each one came into being, it makes a bit more sense as to how we got into this position. Doesn't make it any easier to accommodate things, but at least you can understand it.
From a programming perspective, most of the code is done in Perl with a smattering of Ruby and PHP mixed in. I personally would have liked to see a bit more attention paid to Java, but I guess you can't have everything. You can at least use the programs to get ideas on potential solutions even if you don't use/know Perl.
Overall, a good treatment of an important technology in today's internet environment, and a book that will be useful as you start to add syndication into your applications.