Atom Officially Ready for Prime Time

Or, in the words of Tim Bray, its steward, “It’s cooked and ready to serve.” Atom is another data format for accomplishing similar things to what RSS does — promoting content, distributing “what’s new” feeds, and so forth. What are the differences? Well, they’re largely technical and largely irrelevant to the end user.
A couple of the features that differentiate Atom over RSS are:

  • Atom has a standardized method of auto-discovery (of finding the feeds that relate to a given web page).
  • Atom is an XML namespace — which means entries can themselves contain formatted XML text without having to escape all the characters. This will be a boon to data reuse via webfeed.

The full range of differences is in an easy-to-understand comparison of RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0.
The key thing is that feed readers and aggregators will soon be accepting Atom 1.0 feeds (they often understand the current version of Atom — 0.3).