Just before bed last night I had a flood of inspiration following on from the /updates page and Bix's idea of followable /now pages. With RSS being my preferred method of distribution I thought about how this could be achieved.
Introducing the 'Now' namespace for RSS
After initially reading Robin Sloan's proposal for the Spring '83 protocol 1 I suggested that RSS feeds could have "a 'block' that shows under certain circumstances". This, combined with the new 'updates' view for /reader, gave me the idea of creating a namespace (itself inspired by the /now page) to specify the elements required for such a block.
now:title – (optional) a title for the update
now:link – (optional) - the link to a /now page or other source of updates
now:content – (required) the update content itself, plain text or CDATA block
now:markdown – (optional) markdown version of the update content
now:timestamp – (optional) the time of the update
The source of update for the 'block' can be anything, not just a /now page; I am using the contents of /now as a proof of concept. When the RSS feed is built it pulls in the contents of the now page from the database.
As an example, the information in my feed is consumed in /updates after having modified the feed parser library to support the namespace elements. It looks as below:
Comments? Suggestions? Is this a viable means of making 'now-like' updates shareable and followable?
where updates would be shared as small 'boards' and a resulting collection of boards would look like a magazine rack or the small ads from a newspaper ↩