Microsoft is planning to extend the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) standard to better support the publishing of ordered lists of information, a company spokesman said Thursday.
Gary Schare, director of strategic product management in the Windows division of Microsoft, said that while RSS is a reliable standard for updating information in message form, it currently has no logical way to organize that information in a way that could help subscribers keep track of what is being fed to them.
"RSS is good for delivering what's new, but not so good for things that are getting sorted or reordered," Schare said.
RSS is primarily used by Web loggers and Web-based news publishers to keep subscribers informed when new Web log entries or news articles have been posted to Web sites. These updates are commonly known as "RSS feeds" and are chosen by Web users according to their interests in particular information published on various sites.
Microsoft plans to officially unveil its plan for extending RSS Friday at the Gnomedex 5.0 conference in Seattle. The software giant has previously unveiled new features in the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, that will improve a user's ability to gather and organize information. Longhorn is due for release in the second half of 2006.
Information about Microsoft's expanded RSS support was first leaked in a Web log entry posted by software development guru Dave Winer, who had a sneak peak of the new extensions from Microsoft.
In a Web log entry posted Wednesday, Winer also suggested that Microsoft may be interested in integrating RSS more tightly with its software, in particular within Internet Explorer.
"On Friday you'll see how deeply integrated RSS is in the architecture of the browser," Winer wrote. "But that's just the tip of what may turn out to be a very big iceberg. The people at Microsoft noticed something that I had seen, only peripherally -- that there were applications of RSS that aren't about news."