MSFT Makes RSS a Two Way Street With SSE


The Internet's about to get a whole lot cooler. Microsoft announced today the release of Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE), a protocol that can be thought of as RSS that goes two ways: it allows systems can send and receive information, and hence engage in synchronous behavior. And best of all, Microsoft has released it using a Creative Commonss share-alike license.

From CrunchNotes:

MicroSoft’s Ray Ozzie announced Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE) this morning, a “specification that extends RSS from unidirectional to bidirectional information flows.” And, wow, is Microsoft starting to get with it. They’ve released it under Creative Commons license, the same license that covers the RSS 2.0 specification. Anyone can remix, tweak, and build upon the specification even for commercial reasons.

Microsoft's SSE FAQ page also offers some good information:

What kinds of scenarios does SSE enable?

Just as RSS enables the aggregation of information from a variety of data sources, SSE enables the replication of information across a variety of data sources. Data sources that implement SSE will be able to exchange data with any other data source that also implements SSE.

From the user's perspective, this means that you will be able to share your data (such as calendar appointments, contact lists, and favorites) across all of your devices and with anyone else that you choose, regardless of infrastructure or organization.

SSE is particularly useful for scenarios in which there are multiple masters and/or asynchronous updates. For example, SSE could be used to share your work calendar with your spouse—either of you could enter new appointments, even if not currently connected. Similarly, SSE could be used to replicate a set of calendar entries among a group of people, each working in a different company and using different infrastructure.

Michael Arrington also notes that this is quite important because it will allow "entirely new classes of companies to be built."

If it takes off and gets embraced widely, the possibilities are endless, and given that Microsoft is the one behind this, it could be a HUGE competitive advantage for them.


I've spent neigh on an hour

I've spent neigh on an hour reading about this and there is one thing i cannot work out.

Can we get this to allow us to add content?

I mean, could we use it to comment on a post, or to post a new post?

I can see it being very cool for sharing RSS across computers and stuff, so it certainly sounds worthwhile, but what does it mean in terms of communication and content? (or does it mean nothing...)

Cynical view

As far as a can tell it's an extension to the RSS standard to assist in syncing multiple feeds. Technically I don't think there's really a need for additional markup just to do this, it's only really there to deal with version conflicts.

Three words: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

in terms of what it means

in terms of what it means for communication and content, IMO the two big points i got out of it are

1. for online sharing and group collaboration, previously you needed a third party that was a central place to store everything and where everyone can enter and participate. for instance, TW is that type of a centralized, third party place. with SSE, if i can pull feeds and update the feed from my own interface, and everyone else can do the same, do we even need TW? OH NO! COULD SSE BE THE END OF TW?!?!? :)

2. intellectual property battles are going to get a lot more intense and a lot more murky. when the feed is yours and mine, then who owns the feed?

it's still so early, i think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered/discovered. i think it was very wise of MSFT to CC license this, as it leaves it open for someone to come in and figure out what's the best way to make this work.


and the draft spec is here. I have been hearing about this for a while on the rssdev group. Like Nick, I have to really get my head round it but I think it is an extremely interesteding extension.

yes, you do

with SSE, if i can pull feeds and update the feed from my own interface, and everyone else can do the same, do we even need TW?

If you aggregate your own RSS feeds now, why do you still read TW?

Yes, you do ;-) Because it is edited.... and that results in an editorial "flavor", which while may be bitter for many ;-) is oh-so-tasty to some. I think TW has a great community-imposed editorial bent unrivaled by the forums out there.

As for this:

SSE defines new XML elements that add replication information to items in an RSS feed

that is the key to Embrace. Extend. Extinguish as noted by nullbit. Extend, build developer community around use of the extenson, then polarize the dev comunity along those lines using promises of future resources, etc.

The proper way to extend an open standard is to contribute to it as it develops, bit by bit, where every bit is critiqued and poked and possible extended by other unaffiliate ddevelopers. That's not profitable for M$ though.

To contribute by big chunks with marketing hype for how it will change the world, is disingenuous and part of what critics have called EEE.

>>If you aggregate your own

>>If you aggregate your own RSS feeds now, why do you still read TW?

you're right; i get the original story in my rss reader, but i still come to TW to

1. post comments
2. read comments

if SSE is a two way RSS, and myself and all other TW readers can interact simply by sending our own SSE feed back, then do we really need TW the web site?

the editorial part is of course where TW delivers big value. i suppose there will be some feature in SSE to allow for editorial type stuff, i.e. TW style. but seems like we may not need TW the web site; in other words, we might not need, but rather just, or whatever the feed URL will be.

this changes blog/forum/publishing business models immensely, i'd imagine.

of course like many others i'm just speculating at this point, but that's the initial take i got out of it.

In terms of communication and content

Imagine two loosely-coupled endpoints, A and B, that wish to share and co-edit a set of independent items in an RSS feed. The two endpoints can use RSS+SSE to replicate the set.

I used to work for two real estate software companies.... so I know the measures that companies go through to get the data feed from the multiple listing services and then translate that data to their own specs (quickly).... so in theory this idea jumped off the page to me.

I say in theory, because anyone who has worked in real estate software industry will know that MLS' are notorious for making it difficult to get their data (there is a joke there)....

Imaging that a listing service is sending you their feed of updated listing for clients who are subscribed to your service... imagine that a realtor using your sevice could easily update their property listing info via a feed on your end and see the listing updated right there and then across anyone who carries the listing service information (there's another joke there)?


Too bad listing services will never get on board, unless they can profit from it above the fees they already get from realtors...I'm going off on a tangent - lol...

My point, in theory this is an excellent idea... but it will take major business deals where everyone is profiting from the info sharing for it to work in reality for anything other than free (ie: ad-supported) business models.

I need sleep... maybe I'll feel different in the morning - lol

Natasha "That Girl From marketing" Robinson

Whats the difference between this and REST ?

You can do this with REST already. So is this just a formalized view of REST ?


REST isn't bi-directional though is it? You send a query/update one way, or another way. This seems to deal with conflicts and collisions also like a merge? I think the per-item change history is the key here.

Sounds like the logical,

Sounds like the logical, thought through extension of something people were theorising a few years ago. It'll be a good while yet though - look at the uptake and usage of RSS and XML for examples of the timetable for recent web technologies to mature.

Your right

DOH, Chris your right..

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