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Pushing the Envelope: The ECHO Project

When I first got into doing weblogs, I kept hearing about something called "RSS" as a way to read web log entries. I didn't get a full understanding of it until a few weeks ago when I got an RSS reader. I'll save a better definition for later, but having an RSS reader is a little like checking email, except what you are reading are posts on web sites that you've chosen to subscribe to. It keeps you from having to visit each site to read the recent messages. The messages are "pushed" to you via the reader.

Feeling pretty good about my recent discovery, I felt like I was using a new tool that could change the way I use weblogs and news-related sites- I was at the forefront.

Then I heard about the ECHO Project on Sam Ruby's wiki site and learned that RSS is 5 years old, it's not fit well to web logs and should be left behind for something newer and better. So much for my discovery.

I don't claim to understand what's happening under the hood, but the elite tool makers of the web log world appear to be assembling around "Project Echo" and working to take the concept of RSS to a new level.

They are out to define a new and standard way for weblogs to push their content to subscribers.

This is exciting and all, but what fascinates me is seeing the envelope being pushed so far. I'm not interested so much in the technology or the specification. What interests me is the willingness of competing weblog tool makers, already on the bleeding edge of social technology, to work together on a project like ECHO. They are (for the most part) working collaboratively and as a community, despite some conflict and politics.

Of course, I totally support the project myself. I think that something like RSS could be a mainstream technology soon and Project Echo is making steps in that direction by creating a standard.

Via: Corante on Blogging