As a developer, for a long time, I believed RSS 2.0 to be significantly superior to RSS 1.0. It was a more popular format, more people had heard of it, but most importantly, it was easy to create. In comparison to RSS 1.0, creating RSS 2.0 documents was downright trivial. There was no need to have the goofy “rdf:RDF” tag at the top, with all those weird looking URIs for some reason no one could tell me. Clearly, at the time when I was thinking this, I was not aware of RDF or the benefits of it. As time went on, I realized the benefits of the RSS 1.0 way of doing things, most importantly, that the content is RDF.
However, RSS 1.0 is still a relatively confusing format to implement to a non-RDF aware developer. The “table of contents” listed in the rdf:Seq is redundant, and to a lot of people who are used to working in XML and not under the constraints of RDF, confusing. The documentation on all the RSS formats is quite weak. A table comparing what each one offers is hard, if not impossible, to find, especially since most such lists are biased towards the writer of said list.
As I’ve become more and more involved in developing tools relating to RDF and the Semantic Web, RSS 1.0 has become more and more of a sticking spot in my experiences with people. They are soured by their 1.0 experience: a feeling I can not blame them for, as RSS 1.0 is constrained in many ways by the circumstances under which it was developed.
Fed up with dealing with a less than optimal format that was truly leaving people feeling negatively towards RDF in general, I decided that I was going to work on something that would be better for RDF and RSS. I was just going to write it myself, but luckily for me, I had the help of a couple of friends.
This specification is therefore made available by users of the RSS 1.0 format who wanted to update the specification to make use of the latest features of RDF in order to reduce the redundancy in the format, and the ambiguity in the specification, while at the same time implementing a series of bugfixes from the lessons learned in developing the other descendent of RSS 1.0, Atom.
We have formed a channel for discussion of RSS 1.1 related issues on Freenode: #rss1.1 on irc.freenode.net. If you are interested in using the specification, or would like to offer your opinions, you can stop by there to talk to us.
This specification is not designed as competition for Atom: it is designed only as a bugfix release for RSS 1.0, and is not designed to compete with any other existing efforts. There were a significant number of issues with RSS 1.0 that had been raised over the years, some of which were relatively important from the standpoint of a lazy developer such as myself. Hopefully others will feel a similar way.