Rob Howard says that Microsoft has built RSS support into its forums code.
I see over on Evan Williams site that it looks like Google (er, Blogger, which is owned by Google) is going to support Atom. So far Microsoft has been supporting RSS 2.0 (we've spit out RSS 2.0 on MSDN, on the PDC app, on MyWallop, and in a few other places). Atom is a syndication format that's similar, but slightly different from RSS. I wonder how the market will shake out now.
Evan: can you explain, in layman's terms, why you support Atom and not RSS? What's better about it? Sell me on it. So far I have not yet been sold on why Atom is better (other than it's controlled by a different group of people who control RSS). With one exception. Sam Ruby gave me a demo at FooCamp and showed me some really cool search features that he built into his blog because of Atom (at least that's what he said). The features he showed me were cool, but weren't compelling enough to get me to care about Atom. Am I missing something?
Make the pitch. Microsoft's execs are watching the nascent blogging market and are trying to do the right thing. So far it's been "safe" to go with RSS 2.0. But, now that Google looks like it's going with Atom, the "safe" choice isn't safe anymore. What should MSN do? What should MyWallop do? What should MSDN do? What should Microsoft.com do? What should Sharepoint do?
My first response is now Microsoft's tools will need to spit out both formats, since that's what the market will demand in the shortterm.
Hey, since we're gonna have to do two formats, why shouldn't Microsoft invent a third? Yes, that's a loaded question. Answer carefully. Like I said, all the stakeholders will read your responses.
Joel, in my comments, is the first to answer my question of "what should we do to improve our communities?" His answer: get more consistency in communications.
Very astute. I've been asking that myself. It's a very tough problem because so much of what Microsoft does is leaked before our PR machinery has a chance to get the story straight. In my seven months here I've seen several examples of things that were leaked before they should have been.
This is why I wish all executives would communicate directly with the marketplace via weblogs. I keep asking executives "when you gonna start a weblog?" But, quite consistently get an answer of "way too busy." I asked Sanjay and Dan'l that about a week ago. They both ran down what their schedules look like. Nearly every minute of every day is scheduled. Dan'l told me he often is traveling and already rarely gets to see his family.
It's a tough problem. Since I don't think executives will get the time to weblog (at least not until it's so important that they are forced to by market conditions -- and we're several years away from that, if ever since they can get more leverage simply by calling up the Wall Street Journal or USA Today and asking for a chat) then internal bloggers will need to build better ties to execs and PR and marketing so that we can help solve the problem. I'm trying to do just that, and I've had some success, but my time is limited too. So, we need to figure out how to get some scale. One guy can't do it all.
This is one of the key issues on my list. It's why I wish every product could have a dedicated blog. Imagine if every product and service at Microsoft had a dedicated person to contact with a single URL and an RSS feed about that product. That's my dream.