Mr. Safe

Mr. Safe.  In the spirit of Jon Udell and Tim Bray, here is my version of a conversation with Mr. Safe.

Mr. Safe: We need to get moving on this extranet project; our partners want better information.
IT Manager: It's coming along fine; I am going to use RSS for the newsfeeds.
Mr. Safe: Is our biggest partner OK with that?
IT Manager: Yeah, I tested with their IT managers and they can handle our prototype RSS feed no problem.
Mr. Safe: What does our biggest competitor use?
IT Manager: They use RSS.  So does Microsoft and New York Times.
Mr Safe: I feel safe; good work!


Deploying RSS is ridiculously low-risk for a company.  If some guy in the IT department wants to deploy RSS, all he needs to do is prove that it works for the job at hand and is used by partners and competitors.  I don't think any typical IT Manager is going to perceive or care about the “risks” that Jon and Tim raise. 

For starters, if IT Managers could be swayed by allegations of ego mania among the product's developers, nobody would ever use Linux. 

And I doubt that any IT manager would seriously worry that they would get too “locked in” by a “bad design” in RSS.  Every decision in IT can be challenged on the grounds that it's not “future proof” enough, but this one is particularly hard to support in the case of RSS.  RSS is not rocket science, and doesn't require a heavy investment of resources to support, regardless of which version you use.  I mean, in the long shot that Mr. Safe's company ever decides they need to support dc:date instead of <pubDate> or something, he can hire his kids for $20/hour to “fix” the feed.

Thousands of Mr. Safes use CSV files daily to communicate critical information with external parties.  For every piece of FUD you can sling about RSS, I have anecdotes about CSV that are ten times worse.  RSS is pretty safe.  [Better Living Through Software]

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