Pilgrim: XHTML no replacement for RSS

Mark Pilgrim surveys a crop of new postings that contrast RSS for syndication vs. semantic coding in the first place and sez they’re all wet. In doing so, he draws a useful line between XHTML theory and blogging practice:

…this latest XHTML-as-syndication movement seems to be based on the principle that “syndication is so incredibly important that you must immediately stop whatever you’re doing with your web pages, upgrade to XHTML, validate your markup, restructure your home page to include all and only the content you’re willing to syndicate, and by the way, would you please unlearn that ugly nasty presentational page layout language you’ve been using for years and learn this wonderful happy structured semantic markup language instead?”

It should be obvious to any rational observer that this will go nowhere fast. A syndication format that requires valid semantic XHTML markup? Spare me. 9 out of 10 bloggers can’t even spell XHTML.

Between user resistance, bandwidth issues, sites that don’t want to syndicate their entire content, Pilgrim goes on to coin an important principle: “Syndication is not publication….It’s something else, a different medium.” Right on. The iCal to RSS experiments alone should tip off most intelligent observers that there’s value in a standalone syndication format, and real power in separating syndication from publication.