Info Bite List
Lightweight XML-based syndication

What is Info Bite List?
Why should I use it?
How can I use it?
Is Info Bite List free?
Why did you create it?
What if I have an idea to improve it?
What does the logo represent?
How does Info Bite List compare to RSS and Atom?
File Format Specification

What is Info Bite List?
Info Bite List is a file format similar to RSS and Atom. Examples of information it could be used to publish include: news, blog posts, comic strips, earthquake data, press releases, website status updates, etc.

Info Bite APIs will also be developed for efficiently accessing and editing Info Bite Lists.

Why should I use it?
As a programmer, you should evaluate how it stacks up to other formats like RSS and Atom in terms of: suitability to the type of data your program works with, file size (bandwidth requirements), and popularity. As of this writing, Info Bite would lose the popularity contest, but it may very well win the others.

As a consumer, hopefully the tools you use support a variety of formats so that you can use whichever you want. You should use whichever format is offered by the websites you want to subscribe to. If they offer more than one, you should choose the one that contains the best information for your needs. If they contain the same information, you should choose the one that downloads fastest. When the Info Bite API is complete, it will contain unique functions to minimize the size of your downloads.

How can I use it?
The Info Bite List specification has just been created, so no applications yet support it. Subscribe to the Info Bite RSS feed for updates on application support and other issues related to syndication formats, or bookmark this page and check back for more information later. The next major releases of our CaRP and Grouper will support Info Bite, as will a weblogging/discussion forum tool we are developing. We plan to make plugins for others' applications to support it also.

Is Info Bite List free?
Anyone may freely use the Info Bite List format for any purpose without royalties, etc. The specification is currently owned by its author, but may be turned over to a standards body at some point.

Why did you create it?
As a developer of RSS tools (CaRP and Grouper), I became aware of some of the shortcomings and limitations of RSS. The emerging Atom format addresses some of these issues, but not all, and raises yet others. Rather than attempt to change the direction either of those formats was going (or not going, as the case may be), I opted to define a new format. The communities surrounding each format have their own established goals and focus. As I have somewhat different goals, focus and vision, rather than attempt to get others to change theirs, I created a new format with which to pursue them.

The important question is, does the format offer value not found in other formats? If so, use it or incorporate it's ideas into another format. If not, ignore it. The specification is available for your evaluation.

What if I have an idea to improve it?
First, read the Design Philosophy portion of the specification. If you disagree with the design philosophy, find a format whose design philosophy you agree with and make your suggestions there. There's no point arguing about whether vanilla ice cream should contain more chocolate.

Second, if you disagree with the priorities in the design philosophy, find a format whose priorities you agree with and make your suggestion there.

Third, since new formats seem to attract lots of hostility, if you think I should just drop it, then feel free to just drop it yourself. Don't waste your time and mine complaining to me about it.

Fourth, if you agree with the philosophy and priorities behind the specification and have ideas for how to achieve them better, find my feedback form and let me know, or post your comments somewhere. I try to keep an open ear for what people are saying about my ideas, so I may find your comments.

Finally, if I don't accept your ideas, find a community that will accept them and integrate them into their format, or create your own. But please don't call it "Info Bite". We don't need another RSS 1.0 vs. RSS 2.0 battle and the confusion it creates.

What does the logo represent?
The five balls in the logo represent five bites of information. They are arranged to represent a stream of information flowing to you across the internet. The diffused look of the balls in the large logo represents the fact that the format doesn't define the type of content contained in each bite of information--that is left up to the publisher to decide. Also, the little dots "orbiting" around each ball represent pieces of information related to the info bite, to which it is linked.

How does Info Bite List compare to RSS and Atom?
They are all similar in many ways, and quite different in others. The following table outlines some of the similarities and differences. RSS 1.0 is omitted for the sake of brevity.

Info Bite List RSS 2.0 Atom
Usage agnostic Somewhat focused on blogging, though usable for other purposes. Focused primarily on blogging, though usable for other purposes.
Continues to evolve. The specification is "frozen". Continued development is done only in modules. Continues to evolve.
File format only, API to be added. File format with simple API (cloud) included. File format and API.
Brand spanking new, but with a complete (though not entirely rigerously defined) specification for the file format. Mature, but not rigerously defined. File format spec at version 0.3. API spec also pre-version 1.0.
No application support yet--too new. Broad application support. Application support growing.

The following table attempts to show the equivalent XML elements between the different formats. Note that a perfect one-to-one mapping of elements is not possible, and there are differences between the euqivalents listed. Also note that omitted items may be available via extensions.

Info Bite List RSS 2.0 Atom
ibl rss feed
channel channel
item item entry
title title title
link link, docs, comments link
description, summary, content, tagline description summary, content, tagline
date rel=created, modified, published, release pubDate, lastBuildDate modified, issued, created
generator generator generator
role rel=author, contributor, webmaster, editor author, managingEditor, webMaster author, contributor
email, fax, ibl, name, nick, tel, website name, email, url
xml:lang attribute language xml:lang attribute
media enclosure, image content
category category
copyright copyright
interval ttl
skipday skipdays
skiptime skiptimes
rating rating
textinput textinput
link rel="self" guid
defif, defifno, defsetval, defgetval, defsetattr, defgetattr

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