For years RSS feeds have been published on nearly every torrent site, large and small. But despite the good fit between the two technologies, there’s never been a standardized format for BitTorrent feeds. This prompted RSS inventor Dave Winer to encourage torrent site admins to come up with a BitTorrent RSS standard, and the first spec has now been published by EZTV.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, RSS is an acronym for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. It’s a really convenient mechanism which allows you to receive regular automated updates from your favorite websites, including torrent sites.
About a year ago TorrentFreak caught up with RSS inventor Dave Winer, who noticed that the RSS feeds on most torrent sites were a ‘mess’. Nearly every site uses a different format, and this is problematic for application developers who want to create tools for BitTorrent users.
“It’s pretty much a mess,” Dave Winer told TorrentFreak while outlining some suggestions for a BitTorrent RSS namespace in a blog post. “Let’s clean it up,” Winer said, encouraging torrent site admins to join the discussion.
This call for action was soon picked up by various torrent site admins, and yesterday the EZTV team launched a BitTorrent RSS standard on their sister site ezRSS.
“The current RSS spec was rather limited when it came to torrent information and some of the methods other RSS feeds were doing in regards to torrents was just messy, by creating a bit torrent RSS namespace, we can now give more specific data to applications and users in a structured format,” EZTV’s Novaking told TorrentFreak.
“Dave Winer gave some good advice, and we have taken a lot of it on board. We still plan to expand on the spec, so far we just released version 0.1 xmlns.ezrss.it/0.1/ – xmlns.ezrss.it/0.1/dtd/ and version 0.2 is already in the pipeline,” he added.
Although the technicalities may not be of interest to most users, everyone who uses RSS feeds on BitTorrent sites will eventually benefit from standardization. It will allow applications to include more options and features, including magnet links and more advanced download ‘rules’ based on the number of seeds and peers.
EZTV’s Novaking further told us that this new standard has been developed with input from other key figures in the BitTorrent community, to guarantee a broad adoption among torrent sites.
“I have talked to quite a few other torrent admins and we are currently coding up an easy to use RSS builder which will generate the RSS feeds using this new namespace, this will allow easy implementation for anyone who wishes to use it,” he said.
The first version of the new spec is now live on ezRSS and users and fellow BitTorrent developers are encouraged to send in their feedback for the next version of the spec. If all goes well the new standard should lead to a wide range of new and exciting RSS tools for torrent users, to make downloading even more convenient and seamless than it already is.