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Content Syndication with RSS by Ben Hammersley

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Chapter 6. RSS 1.0 (RDF Site Summary)

Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.

—E. M. Forster, Howards End

Now that we’re steeped in metadata and RDF syntax, it’s time to move on to RSS 1.0. This standard, released in December 2000, brought about two major changes to the RSS world: the reintroduction of RDF and with it an introduction of namespaces .

The reintroduction of RDF requires key changes in the syntax of RSS, but it also introduces the advantages and concepts we dealt with in Chapter 5. Namespaces are the XML solution to the classic language problem of one word meaning two things in different contexts. Take “windows,” for example. In the context of houses, “windows” are holes in the wall through which we can look. In the context of computers, “Windows” is a trademark of the Microsoft Corporation and refers to their range of operating systems. The context within which the name has a particular meaning is called its namespace.

In XML, we can distinguish between the two meanings by assigning a namespace and placing the namespace’s name in front of the element name, separated by a colon, like this:

<computing:windows>This is an operating system</computing:windows>
   
<building:windows>This is a hole in a wall</building:windows>

Namespaces solve two problems. First, they allow you to distinguish between different meanings for words that are spelled the same way, which means you can use useful ...

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