OPML support in Java – Missing in Action

Now that OPML 2.0 is out as a draft specification, I want to bring up the issue of the lack of support for OPML on the Java side. There are 2 libraries dealing with the idea of creation and consuming of syndication feeds: Informa and ROME.

Informa is an open-source (LPGL) Java framework for parsing, processing, and creating syndication feeds. The current release supports RSS 0.9x, RSS 1.0 / RDF, RSS 2.0, and Atom 0.3. Informa also support for OPML documents but it hasn’t seen any development since early June 2004. The news section of the Informa site claims that there is active development but I haven’t seen anything from them yet. I have used Informa in the past and it works great but hasn’t kept up with changing specifications.

The other open-source (Apache) Java library ROME, created by 3 Sun engineers is also a Java library for creating and parsing RSS and ATOM feeds. Today it accepts all flavors of RSS (0.90, RSS 0.91 Netscape, RSS 0.91 Userland, RSS 0.92, RSS 0.93, RSS 0.94, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0,) and Atom 0.3 and 1.0 feeds. Unlike Informa, ROME has active development going on and the team is putting releases quite frequently. But the major item missing is OPML support – ROME does not support OPML at this time and have no timelines documented on their roadmap.

Jakarta FeedParser is another project that I should probably mention but it’s currently dormant in the Jakarta commons sandbox.

Is anyone looking at implementing OPML support for Java? Anyone know of another open-source effort going on to support OPML creation and consumption? Is Informa ever going to come out of hibernation? Anyone interested in starting a new project to implement a Java library for OPML?

ATOM vs. RSS – Why can’t we all just get along?

I can’t believe we are arguing about a syndication protocol that’s not even supposed to be human readable but we are and it seems like the whole RSS vs ATOM debate is going to continue.

Dave Winer just launched a new website called Really Simple Syndication, a site devoted to helping non-tech users learn about RSS. While I hope the rational behind the site is to help purveyors of RSS, I can’t help but think if this isn’t another salvo across ATOM’s bow. As you probably know, Dave Winer is credited for shepherding RSS to its current format. Dave has done a lot for RSS and the whole idea of syndication in general, but the current state of RSS is completely fractured. With 7 different versions of RSS that are incompatible along with ownership issues, a group of people launched ATOM as a new, open format to replace all the flavors of RSS.

I blogged about Bill Gates’s comments on RSS earlier in the week and I wonder if people are just making a big deal out of nothing. I guess maybe I am contributing to it by blogging about it – More fuel to the fire. Sam Ruby has an entry entitled Détente that includes some great discussion points in the whole ATOM and RSS debate. Joshua Allen has a nice blog entry entitled RSS Politics on the whole matter. My hope is that W3C accepts ATOM as a candidate recommendation and Dave Winer and Sam Ruby work together to create ATOM 1.0 that includes the best of RSS and ATOM, without RDF.