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The name Atom applies to a pair of related
Web standards Web standards are the formal, non-proprietary standards Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), ...
. The Atom Syndication Format is an
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
language used for
web feed On the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to ...
s, while the Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub or APP) is a simple
HTTP The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer An application layer is an abstraction layer that specifies the shared communications protocols and Interface (computing), interface methods used by Host (network), hosts in a c ...

HTTP
-based protocol for creating and updating web resources. Web feeds allow
software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

software
programs to check for updates published on a website. To provide a web feed, the site owner may use specialized software (such as a
content management system A content management system (CMS) is a computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * ...
) that publishes a list (or "feed") of recent articles or content in a standardized, machine-readable format. The feed can then be downloaded by programs that use it, like websites that syndicate content from the feed, or by feed reader programs that allow internet users to subscribe to feeds and view their content. A feed contains entries, which may be headlines, full-text articles, excerpts, summaries or links to content on a website along with various
metadata Metadata is "data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), v ...

metadata
. The Atom format was developed as an alternative to
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...
. Ben Trott, an advocate of the new format that became Atom, believed that RSS had limitations and flaws—such as lack of on-going innovation and its necessity to remain
backward compatible Backward or Backwards is a relative direction. Backwards or Sdrawkcab (the word "backwards" with its letters reversed) may also refer to: * Backwards (Red Dwarf), "Backwards" (''Red Dwarf''), episode of sci-fi TV sitcom ''Red Dwarf'' ** Backwar ...
—and that there were advantages to a fresh design. Proponents of the new format formed the IETF Atom Publishing Format and Protocol Workgroup. The Atom Syndication Format was published as an
IETF The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary functi ...
proposed standard in RFC 4287 (December 2005), and the Atom Publishing Protocol was published as RFC 5023 (October 2007).


Usage

The
blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the f ...
ging community uses
web feed On the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to ...
s to share recent entries' headlines, full text, and even attached multimedia files. The providers allow other websites to incorporate a blog's "syndicated" headline or headline-and-short-summary feeds under various usage agreements. people use Atom and other web-syndication formats for many purposes, including journalism, marketing, bug-reports, or any other activity involving periodic updates or publications. Atom also provides a standard way to export an entire blog, or parts of it, for backup or for importing into other blogging systems. It is common to find web feeds on major websites, as well as on many smaller ones. Some websites let people choose between RSS- or Atom-formatted web feeds; others offer only RSS or only Atom. In particular, many
blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the f ...
and
wiki A wiki ( ) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hypertext documents are interconnected by hyperlinks, which are typically activated b ...

wiki
sites offer their web feeds in the Atom format. A
feed reader In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...
or "aggregator" program can be used to check feeds and to display new articles.
Client-side Client-side refers to operations that are performed by the client in a client–server relationship in a computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to ...
readers may also be designed as standalone programs or as extensions to existing programs like
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
s. Web-based feed readers and news aggregators require no software installation and make the user's "feeds" available on any computer with web access. Some aggregators syndicate (combine) web feeds into new feeds, e.g., taking all football-related items from several sports feeds and providing a new football feed.


Atom compared to RSS 2.0

When Atom emerged as a format intended to rival or replace
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...
,
CNET ''CNET'' (short for "Computer Network"), stylised C, net, is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics Consumer electronics or home electronics ...
described the motivation of its creators as follows: " Winer's opponents are seeking a new format that would clarify RSS ambiguities, consolidate its multiple versions, expand its capabilities, and fall under the auspices of a traditional standards organization." A brief description of some of the ways Atom 1.0 differs from RSS 2.0 has been given by
Tim Bray Timothy William Bray (born June 21, 1955) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of t ...

Tim Bray
, who played a major role in the creation of Atom:


Date formats

The RSS 2.0 specification relies on the use of RFC 822 formatted timestamps to communicate information about when items in the feed were created and last updated. The Atom working group chose instead to use timestamps formatted according to the rules specified by RFC 3339 (which is a subset of
ISO 8601 ISO 8601 is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rule ...
; se
Appendix A in RFC 3339
for differences).


Internationalization

While the
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...

RSS
vocabulary has a mechanism to indicate a human language for the feed, there is no way to specify a language for individual items or text elements. Atom, on the other hand, uses the standard xml:lang attribute to make it possible to specify a language context for every piece of human-readable content in the feed. Atom also differs from RSS in that it supports the use of
Internationalized Resource Identifier The Internationalized Resource Identifier (IRI) is an internet protocol standard which builds on the Uniform Resource Identifier A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a unique sequence of characters that identifies a logical or physical res ...
s, which allow links to resources and unique identifiers to contain characters outside the US
ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to graphical Graphics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, ...
character set.


Modularity

The elements of the
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...

RSS
vocabulary are not generally reusable in other
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
vocabularies. The Atom syntax was specifically designed to allow elements to be reused outside the context of an Atom feed document. For instance, it is not uncommon to find atom:link elements being used within RSS 2.0 feeds.


Barriers to adoption

Despite the emergence of Atom as an IETF Proposed Standard and the decision by major companies such as
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
to embrace Atom, use of the older and better-known RSS formats has continued. There are several reasons for this: * RSS 2.0 support for
enclosures Enclosure or Inclosure is a term, used in English landownership, that refers to the appropriation of "waste" or "common land Common land is land owned by a person or collectively by a number of persons, over which other persons have certa ...
led directly to the development of
podcast A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audio signal is typical ...

podcast
ing. While many podcasting applications, such as
iTunes iTunes () is a media player, media library, Internet radio Internet radio (also web radio, net radio, streaming radio, e-radio, IP radio, online radio) is a digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or ...

iTunes
, support the use of Atom 1.0, RSS 2.0 remains the preferred format. * Many sites choose to publish their feeds in only a single format. For example,
CNN The Cable News Network (CNN) is a multinational news-based pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The ...

CNN
and ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' offer their web feeds only in RSS 2.0 format. * News articles about web syndication feeds have increasingly used the term "RSS" to refer generically to any of the several variants of the RSS format such as RSS 2.0 and RSS 1.0 as well as the Atom format.


Development history


Background

Before the creation of Atom the primary method of web content syndication was the
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...
family of formats. Members of the community who felt there were significant deficiencies with this family of formats were unable to make changes directly to RSS 2.0 because the official specification document stated that it was purposely frozen to ensure its stability.


Initial work

In June 2003, Sam Ruby set up a
wiki A wiki ( ) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hypertext documents are interconnected by hyperlinks, which are typically activated b ...

wiki
to discuss what makes "a well-formed log entry". This initial posting acted as a rallying point. People quickly started using the wiki to discuss a new syndication format to address the shortcomings of
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...
. It also became clear that the new format could form the basis of a more robust replacement for blog editing protocols such as the
Blogger A blog (a Clipping (morphology), truncation of "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in Reverse ...
API and
LiveJournal LiveJournal (russian: Живой Журнал), stylised as LiVEJOURNAL, is a Russian-owned social networking service A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to bu ...
XML-RPC XML-RPC is a remote procedure call (RPC) Communications protocol, protocol which uses XML to encode its calls and HTTP as a transport mechanism.Simon St. Laurent, Joe Johnston, Edd Dumbill. (June 2001) ''Programming Web Services with XML-RPC.'' ...
Client/Server Protocol as well. The project aimed to develop a web syndication format that was: * "100% vendor neutral," * "implemented by everybody," * "freely extensible by anybody, and" * "cleanly and thoroughly specified." In short order, a project road map was built. The effort quickly attracted more than 150 supporters, including of
Technorati Technorati was a search engine and a publisher advertising platform that served as an advertising solution for the thousands of websites in its network. Technorati launched its ad network in 2008, and at one time was one of the largest ad networks ...

Technorati
,
Mena Trott Mena Grabowski Trott (born Philomena Frances Grabowski on 16 September 1977, now Mena Grabowski Lazar) is a co-founder of Six Apart, creator of Movable Type and TypePad. The company name originates from the fact that Trott and co-founder/ex-husband ...

Mena Trott
of
Six Apart Six Apart Ltd., sometimes abbreviated 6A, is a software company known for creating the Movable Type blogware, TypePad blog hosting service, and Vox (blogging platform), Vox (the blogging platform). The company also is the former owner of LiveJo ...
,
Brad Fitzpatrick Bradley Joseph Fitzpatrick (born February 5, 1980) is an United States, American programmer. He is best known as the creator of LiveJournal and is the author of a variety of free software projects such as memcached, PubSubHubbub, OpenID, and Perkee ...

Brad Fitzpatrick
of
LiveJournal LiveJournal (russian: Живой Журнал), stylised as LiVEJOURNAL, is a Russian-owned social networking service A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to bu ...
,
Jason Shellen Jason Harper Shellen (born August 30, 1973) is an United States, American internet entrepreneur who was the founding product manager of Google Reader and helped create and launch Brizzly. His most recent software startup is the email app Boxer (ap ...
of
Blogger A blog (a Clipping (morphology), truncation of "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in Reverse ...
, of
Yahoo Yahoo (, styled as yahoo''!'') is an American web services The term Web service (WS) is either: * a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web, or * a server run ...
, Timothy Appnel of the O'Reilly Network, Glenn Otis Brown of
Creative Commons Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a colle ...

Creative Commons
and
Lawrence Lessig Lester Lawrence Lessig III (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard ...

Lawrence Lessig
. Other notables supporting Atom include Mark Pilgrim,
Tim Bray Timothy William Bray (born June 21, 1955) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of t ...

Tim Bray
,
Aaron Swartz Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer A computer programmer, sometimes called a software developer, a programmer or more recently a coder (especially in more informal contexts), is a pe ...

Aaron Swartz
,
Joi Ito is a Japanese entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is a former director of the MIT Media Lab, former professor of the practice of media arts and sciences at MIT, and a former visiting professor of practice at the Harvard Law School. Following ...

Joi Ito
, and Jack Park. Also,
Dave Winer Dave Winer (born May 2, 1955 in Queens Queens is a borough of New York City, coextensive with Queens County, in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest borough of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, ...
, the key figure behind RSS 2.0, gave tentative support to the new endeavor. After this point, discussion became chaotic, due to the lack of a decision-making process. The project also lacked a name, tentatively using "Pie," "Echo," "Atom," and "Whatever" (PEAW) before settling on Atom. After releasing a project snapshot known as ''Atom 0.2'' in early July 2003, discussion was shifted off the wiki.


Atom 0.3 and adoption by Google

The discussion then moved to a newly set up mailing list. The next and final snapshot during this phase was ''Atom 0.3'', released in December 2003. This version gained widespread adoption in syndication tools, and in particular it was added to several
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
-related services, such as
Blogger A blog (a Clipping (morphology), truncation of "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in Reverse ...
,
Google News Google News is a news aggregator In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algorith ...

Google News
, and
Gmail Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. As of 2019, it had 1.5 billion active user (computing), users worldwide. A user typically accesses Gmail in a web browser or the official mobile app. Google also supports the use of email clie ...
. Google's Data APIs (Beta) GData are based on Atom 1.0 and RSS 2.0.


Atom 1.0 and IETF standardization

In 2004, discussions began about moving the project to a standards body such as the
World Wide Web Consortium The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary ...
or the
Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
(IETF). The group eventually chose the IETF and the Atompub working group was formally set up in June 2004, finally giving the project a charter and process. The Atompub working group is co-chaired by
Tim Bray Timothy William Bray (born June 21, 1955) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of t ...

Tim Bray
(the co-editor of the
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
specification) and Paul Hoffman. Initial development was focused on the syndication format. The Atom Syndication Format was issued as a Proposed Standard in IETF RFC 4287 in December 2005. The co-editors were Mark Nottingham and Robert Sayre. This document is known as ''atompub-format'' in IETF's terminology. The Atom Publishing Protocol was issued as a Proposed Standard in IETF RFC 5023 in October 2007. Two other drafts have not been standardized.


Example of an Atom 1.0 feed

An example of a document in the Atom Syndication Format: Example Feed A subtitle. urn:uuid:60a76c80-d399-11d9-b91C-0003939e0af6 2003-12-13T18:30:02Z Atom-Powered Robots Run Amok urn:uuid:1225c695-cfb8-4ebb-aaaa-80da344efa6a 2003-12-13T18:30:02Z Some text.

This is the entry content.

John Doe johndoe@example.com


Including in HTML

The following tag should be placed into the head of an HTML document to provide a link to an Atom feed.


See also

*
hAtom hAtom is a draft Microformat Microformats (sometimes abbreviated μF although this conflicts with the SI designation for micro Farad) are a set of defined HTML classes created to serve as consistent and descriptive metadata Metadata is ...
 –
microformat Microformats (μF) are a set of defined HTML classes HTML attributes are special words used inside the opening tag to control the element's behaviour. HTML attributes are a modifier of an ''HTML element, HTML element type''. An attribute eith ...
for marking up (X)HTML so that Atom feeds can be derived from it *
Micropub A micropub is a very small, modern, one room pub A pub (short for public house) is an establishment licensed to serve alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a near ...
 – W3C standard client–server protocol that uses
HTTP The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer An application layer is an abstraction layer that specifies the shared communications protocols and Interface (computing), interface methods used by Host (network), hosts in a c ...

HTTP
to create, update, and delete; a more recent alternative to AtomPub except using
OAuth OAuth (''Open Authorization'') is an open standard An open standard is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirem ...

OAuth
for authentication instead of HTTP Basic Authentication * Channel Definition Format – an early feed format developed before Atom and RSS *
Content Management Interoperability Services Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is an open standard that allows different content management systems to inter-operate over the Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of ...
 – provides an extension to AtomPub for content management *
List of content syndication markup languages {{Context, date=October 2009The following is a list of formats for web feed On the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical S ...
*
Open Data ProtocolIn computing, Open Data Protocol (OData) is an open Protocol (computing) , protocol that allows the creation and consumption of queryable and interoperable REST Application programming interface , APIs in a simple and standard way. Microsoft initia ...
 – a set of extensions to AtomPub developed by Microsoft *
SWORD (protocol) SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) is an interoperability Interoperability is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the ...
*
Web syndication Web syndication is a form of syndication Syndication may refer to: * Broadcast syndication, where individual stations buy programs outside the network system * Print syndication, where individual newspapers or magazines license news articles, co ...
* XML Shareable Playlist Format


References


External links

*RFC 4287 – "The Atom Syndication Format" *RFC 5023 – "The Atom Publishing Protocol"
Comparison of RSS and Atom Web Feed FormatsGetting to know the Atom Publishing Protocol
nbsp;– IBM developerWorks article by James Snell * {{DEFAULTSORT:Atom (Standard) Cloud standards Computer-related introductions in 2003 Open formats RSS Web syndication formats
XML-based standards This category exists to combine the sometimes bewildering array of abbreviations associated with XML technology, not all of which are endorsed by the same organisations. XML Computer standards Communications protocols {{CatAutoTOC ...