Atom as a Case Study
Tim Bray, Web Guy, Sun Microsystems
As ETech gets under way, the Atom syndication standards will have been in the field for about eight months. Atom is an attempt simultaneously to bring order and innovation to one of the hottest spots in web technology and culture: blogging and syndication. Atom represents major and concerted effort-person-years in aggregatefrom a collection of highly-engaged implementers and advocates. By the time of ETech, we should have strong early readings on whether Atom will be seen as a success or a failure. Either way, theres an interesting story to tell.
This talk will provide a short historical overview of how Atom came to be and a short technical overview of its key features and limitations. It will survey the best indicators available at the time as to whether and where Atom will impact the Web. The core of the talk, though, will be an intense look at the role of standards, the process of building them, whether its worth the work, and the cultural and technical determinants that drive whether a new technology in a technology hot spot flourishes or withers. Some of these issues are general, some specific to the design of general-purpose XML vocabularies; but that is still a very wide niche.
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