From Portals to XML SyndicationJuly 18, 2007 at 11:50 am | Posted in burtongroupcatalyst07, portals, RSS, XML Syndication | Leave a comment
At the presentation by Sam Weber of KnowNow at our Catalyst conference, I was struck by the similarities between the drivers of RSS and portals. I’m new to RSS, but have covered the portal market since its inception, so those drivers sounded awfully familiar.
At a high level, the driver is the same: reducing information overload by centralizing access to information from dozens or hundreds of sources. So RSS and Atom are doing for content what portals did (or promised to do) for applications – aggregating a diverse set of information and providing a common place to look for it. But where portals worked on a screen real-estate metaphor and unified applications, XML sydnicators aggregate news items as lists of headlines. This is a more efficient way of keeping appraised of all the news content one is interested in than gluing rectangular windows from a content provider’s site into a new page. And of course, many applications are now producing XML feeds to alert readers to updated information they should view rather than strictly news stories.
One difference is that portals tend to include some form of personalization model that can expose users to applications and content they didn’t know existed. Users of XML syndication expect to be exposed only to sources they have explicitly subscribed to.
What comes out of this for me is a design criteria for use of XML syndication within portals:
Expose news-type content through an RSS/Atom portlet within a portal (rather than links or screen scrapes of the web sites of news sources) and non news-type content (content without headlines or requiring multi-line presentation) and applications through separate portlets.
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