It looks like Atom is back on my radar again as there is some interesting and suprising movement going on in that space. I was particularly intrigued by Christian's demo of the Series 60 blogging tool using the Atom API to communicate to TypePad. And that led me to TypePad to see their implementation, which I thought is pretty cool (the way they're using it for Photos and lists). And now Google is announcing they are foregoing RSS and moving to Atom in future Blogger versions. And finally, the latest beta of FeedDemon - my preferred news reader - supports Atom as well.
So wow, the community is moving. Interesting. I've always liked the idea of Atom as RSS seemed to be ruled by fiat - even after being put under the CC license. But the generally disorganized manner in which Atom was created made me actually think that having a leader - any leader - would be better than that chaos. And RSS 2.0 is just as full featured as Atom, friendly to namespaces, isn't as ugly as RDF and exists in the marketplace today.
And I *hate* the fact that the Atom API uses HTTP PUTs and DELETEs in the API. I hate it, hate it, hate it. God what amazing frigin' uptight nerds those REST geeks were who pushed that through the spec. Overloading PUT and DELETE for completely unrelated functions just because they're THERE? Idiots. Nice to know that I'll never be able to make a J2ME Atom app as it doesn't support those methods (as I wrote on the wiki many months ago and was ignored)[Update: I got to section 18.104.22.168 of the specification where it says you can use POST with SOAP headers. Ugly hack, probably won't be supported by any actual Atom enabled servers]. ARGH. Bozos. I'm still as angry about it now as I was last summer. AN-GRY.
It's not the simplest thing that could possibly work, it's overly complex and religious. Even looking at the TypePad page I was like "how the fuck do I do *that* in Java?" in several places. I've only been programming server side Java for 5+ years now... one would think I would know instinctively how to implement the API, but I don't. That's what's so annoying about it.
But still the API is attractive, even though it's so overly RESTful. Regardless of my hatred of PUTs and DELETEs, I'm still in admiration of the fact that there's a clean API out there to use to do cool things with content that doesn't involve RSS, XML-RPC or SOAP. I'm going to see if I can get something working with it soon both personally and professionally. I think it'll be a real benefit for some of the stuff I'm working on.
Hmm. I see it's still in "beta". Any chance of getting rid of those frigin' verbs? probably not. Oh well.