Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are we nearly there yet?

Never content with what we have or the rate that we receive anything, it has to be now seems to be the way of the world! It all starts as a child and making the statement that children are renowned 'Are we nearly there yet?'

We know what we want and we don't want to have to wait for it /end! It's embedded into our very fabric that whatever it is it needs to be delivered promptly!! Look around now and you will see people rapidly going about their business like their lives depend on it! The 21st Century is a 24 hour never sleeping buzz of activity, the Internet has made us dependant on the steady flow of information. We're always connected and the world seem like a much smaller place because of this and we want the information faster!

FriendFeed's Gary Burd and Paul Buchheit have a proposal to get the information faster through the pipes and they have named it Simple Update Protocol, or SUP. I have provided the details from the FriendFeed Blog below for you to digest ;-)

Benefits include:
  • Simple to implement. Most sites can add support with only few lines of code if their database already stores timestamps. * Works over HTTP, so it's very easy to publish and consume.
  • Cacheable. A SUP feed can be generated by a cron job and served from a static text file or from memcached.
  • Compact. Updates can be about 21 bytes each. (8 bytes with gzip encoding)
  • Does not expose usernames or secret feed urls (such as Google Reader Shared Items feeds)
SUP is designed to be especially easy for feed publishers to create. It's not ideal for small feed consumers because they will only be interested in a tiny fraction of the updates. However, intermediate services such as Gnip or others could easily consume a SUP feed and convert it into a subscribe/push model using XMPP or HTTP callbacks.

Sites wishing to produce a SUP feed must do two things:
  • Add a special tag to their SUP enabled Atom or RSS feeds. This tag includes the feed's SUP-ID and the URL of the appropriate SUP feed.
  • Generate a SUP feed which lists the SUP-IDs of all recently updated feeds.
Feed consumers can add SUP support by:
  • Storing the SUP-IDs of the Atom/RSS feeds they consume.
  • Watching for those SUP-IDs in their associated SUP feeds.
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