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Randy Charles Morin doesn't know why anyone would want to use RSS to transmit OFX data.  I find his confusion odd:

... why do you need RSS as an envelop for financial data in the first place. We have OFX, which predates RSS and works just fine. RSS can't be expected to do everything. Not that it can't. You can also use RSS as an envelope for OFX, but why not just use OFX? I don't expect my dishwasher to do the laundry, even if it can.

RSS can be expected to do what it is best at - syndicating data - it doesn't need to know what data it is describing.  Why not just use OFX?  Because my feed reader doesn't know what OFX is, nor is it ever likely to.  Because OFX connection data is hard (but not impossible) to find.  Because OFX is not RSOFX (really simple open financial exchange), in fact its not really simple at all.  Randy, you might not expect your dishwasher to do the laundry, but (if dishes are data) you probably expect it to be able to wash all of your dishes.

My argument is not just for using RSS items to hold OFX data.  Its much bigger than that.  As an example, consider this.   In Dion Hinchcliffe's Web 2.0 Expo presentation entitled "What is Web 2.0: The Rules for Creating Successful Online Products in the 21st Century", he talked about how RSS can be used to connect all sorts of data and systems together, and that you can do this with RSS without spending billions of dollars.  Dion said that one of his clients told him to take all the SOAP stuff out, and take the REST stuff out too.  "We want to use RSS - all of our client tools support RSS.  Almost everything can read RSS feeds".  Thats true.  And its simple.

Yep.  If you expose your data as feeds, you can get to it from anywhere.  You can connect feeds in the cloud to feeds behind the firewall.  With Yahoo Pipes you can create your own feeds out of public data out on the Internet.  With RSSBus, you can create your own feeds out of public or private data that is behind the firewall or out on the internet.

In discussing Yahoo Pipes, Dave Winer notes how interesting it would be if those feeds had enough metadata to be able to describe different kinds of items.  Take one tiny example that is possible to implement right now with RSSBus: if one feed containing OFX data from some bank account was piped to another feed containing data from some QuickBooks invoices - there are lots of building possibilities there.  Another example - look at all that has built just on geo location data extensions in RSS feeds.  Another example - look at how I showed Jeff Barr how he can locate the Amazon wishlists of his top email correspondents.

Its that slicing and dicing, and then rewiring the web that Jon Udell has talked about.  Its connecting offline data with online data and enabling people to build on that data.


Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 12:52 PM General | Back to top


Comments on this post: RSS data feeds - RSS is not just for blogs

# re: RSS data feeds - RSS is not just for blogs
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RSS is REST. You can't take the REST out and still have RSS.

Wrapping OFX with RSS doesn't make it simple. In fact, it makes it more complex. Processing OFX, requires an understanding of OFX. Processing OFX in RSS, requires an understanding of both OFX and RSS. More complex. Not less.
Left by Randy Charles Morin on Jun 14, 2007 6:29 PM

# re: RSS data feeds - RSS is not just for blogs
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You show my sister an OFX file.
Then you show her a raw RSS feed with item elements like:
<account:balance>5000</acount:balance>

I can guarantee which one she'll say is simpler.

People like my sister aren't going to IMPLEMENT RSS or OFX. But they are more likely to be able to take advantage of more products built on top of OFX if it is done through some simple syndication system like RSS.
Left by Lance on Jun 14, 2007 10:18 PM

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