RSS vs. Atom

Difference Between RSS and Atom Information concerning updates such as breaking news, blogs and multimedia are published with…

Difference Between RSS and Atom

Information concerning updates such as breaking news, blogs and multimedia are published with help of web feeds. Web feeds can automate the syndication process. So, they are important for publishers. They are also important for the readers as it not necessary for them to track updates manually. Many feeds can be aggregated to a single place by the web feeds. Feed readers such as Google Reader can show the web feeds. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Both RSS and Atom are the popular web feed formats.


RSS 2.0 is the latest version which was released in September 2002. The initial version was RSS 1.0. Am RSS document can be called feed, web feed and channel. The document contains full content or the summary. It also contains metadata such as author’s name, date etc. RSS supports XML name space. Namespace support is applied to the other content in RSS 2.0. It was the first web feed which permitted for the carrying out audio files. This facility paved the way for podcast. It also gave the support for enclosures which is the most popular feed for podcasting. RSS 2.0 is used by iTunes on its website. Harvard got the copyright of RSS 2.0 in July 2003. The RSS Advisory Board was formed at the same time. It is the governing body for the maintenance of the RSS specification.


Another web feed format is Atom which was introduced in June 2003. The aim to develop Atom was to overcome the limitations of RSS 2.0. The latest version is Atom 1.0. It contains text, XHTML and XML, escaped HTML etc. It provides separate ‘summary’ and ‘content’ tags. XML encryption and XML digital signature are used in Atom for encryption.

Difference between RSS and Atom

There are basic difference between RSS and Atom. A large number of content types are supported by Atom while RSS supports text and escaped HTML only. Atom facilitates two separate tags ‘summary’ and ‘content’. But this feature is not present in RSS. RSS recognizes ‘rss’ documents. So, it is less flexible than Atom. Atom allows the extensions to namespaces as far as extensibility is concerned. But RSS namespaces are fixed. RSS uses standard web encryption techniques. Atom uses XML encryption and XML digital signature in addition to standard web encryption.


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