Monday 2 July 2007

Dealing with the last mile of enterprise RSS

I've been discussing the issue of enterprise RSS on an internal CSC forum - someone suggested that RSS is still "too flaky" for serious use inside an organisation. Certainly there are what you might describe as last mile challenges in large organisations, such as even having the right tools to consume internal RSS feeds.

With good timing I came across this whitepaper from Worklight on Secure RSS (registration required)- they dissect what I would group into three broad issues (they actually break them into five): 

  • Multitude of Data Structures;
  • Scalability; and
  • Security.

This whitepaper is quite technical, but I think fundamentally what this demonstrates is that if you want to use RSS for anything beyond sharing public content then you'll need a system that can take care of the above issues without reducing the simplicity of subscribing to a feed. They conclude:

"RSS faces significant challenges in the enterprise world, because of the unique security and scalability issues that are not addressed by RSS specifications. RSS server and viewer vendors offer non-standard security solutions, so that interoperable solutions present the lowest common denominator of features, which is ultimately non-secure."

However, far from being flaky, this says to me that we understand what these challenges are and how to deal with them.


  1. Anonymous6:07 pm

    Hi James!

    "Flaky" wouldn't be the word I'd use to describe the issues either.

    You mention the availability of tools to consume RSS content. I think this is THE fundamental barrier to adoption within the enterprise. I appreciate it could be a catch-22 situation. The lack of an approved client means application owners looking to RSS-enable things will be reluctant to make the investment, whilst the IT dept is unlikely to make the move without a perceived demand beyond employees' personal blog-reading.

  2. Anonymous4:03 pm

    I've just writen a post with an example of a corporate RSS tool - with screen shots!

    Your post inspired me...


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