RSS might be widely considered to be as important as HTML or even the concept of a networked computer sometime in the near future. Recent developments on the Internet are painting a landscape filled with RSS at all popular services which enable netizen socialization. Microsoft and other large vendors always said that XML would be the future for applications that talked to each other cross domain, but it wasn’t until the last year that it’s become obvious (at least to me) that RSS will be the glue which ties everything together. These days the protocol is being used as the glue which mashes up different content in new useful ways.
Microsoft did it’s typical "embrace and extend," with Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS & OPML. The goal of these extensions is to define criteria to use RSS in loosely coupled applications. Microsoft realized that it needed to embrace RSS, as it’s perhaps the only technology more highly regarded to developers of web applications than AJAX.
I’ll take it a little bit further than this. I truly believe that within 5 years, RSS will be recognized as one of the most important achievements for the Internet. Any application out there that is loved in any small way only has to embrace and open it’s data with RSS and it’s popularity rises through the roof. Recently Dave Winer noticed RSS feeds being exposed in Facebook. Although there is no announcement that it would expose it’s data via RSS after heavy criticism due to it’s previously closed nature, the company looks to be making good to qualm any concerns.
RSS exposure allows developers to pull useful data and metadata from Facebook and mash it into their own applications. A web application that is walled in, is only as good as a fish out of water in the highly competitive "Web 2.0." There is still some doubt in the community, but from what I’m hearing, everyone is really digging it.
Most people are excited about mashing twitter and Facebook up. I’m looking forward to trying to think of some great ideas so I can contribute. One idea I had with Facebook (now that it will expose items via RSS) is a Vista Sideshow Gadget that shows my CBS Sportsline Fantasy Football scores on a picture frame in my living room. CBS recently created a new Facebook application that allows you to view your score via the Facebook page, and I’m thinking that if it gets RSS’ed then my score will be exposed to what ever parameters I want to now apply to it.
I’ll continue to watch RSS transform the Internet with great appreciation and excitement, as I know the Internet is a much better place because of its presence.