Last summer, at Gnomedex 5.0, we announced the Simple List Extensions (SLE), which allow RSS and Atom feeds to be marked up with new tags that allow sorting/filtering and what we call "list semantics." There’s been a lot of feedback from the community and the specification has been updated and posted to a permanent location on MSDN.
At Mix06 last week, Dean Hachamovitch gave the keynote address on Next Generating Browsing, during which he showed off great live examples of feeds that implement the Simple List Extensions, built by Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, and MSN Spaces.
In addition to the feeds from eBay stores that they've had for a few months, eBay is now providing RSS feeds on search results (Arturo Zacarias posted the details on the eBay announcements list).
The search results and the existing store feeds are SLE-enhanced to allow very granular filtering on different categories and filters. This is one of the best examples to date of using the sorting and filtering to their fullest.
Yahoo! Music has been providing RSS feeds for their Top Songs, Albums and Videos for some time. Now these feeds are enhanced with SLE to provide sorting and filtering controls, as well as to indicating that these feeds are really lists. SLE-supporting aggregators will treat these kinds of feeds in the way that the publisher intended – as a single entity. We’ll post later today about how exactly this "list semantic" works.
The folks over at MSN Spaces quietly added SLE support to all of their feeds earlier this month. Mike Torres blogged about what they've done. Here’s an example using his feed. This really shows how SLE can be used to enhance even blog feeds.
Needless to say, I’m very excited to see RSS used in these cool ways on sites as diverse as these, and I'm even more excited to see SLE being used to make these feeds even more useful to users.
On a related note, SLE has been getting some other mentions around the blogosphere. Charlie Wood predicts: “As more enterprise applications become RSS-enabled, I predict that an RSS reader that doesn't support Simple List Extensions will become as retrograde as a web browser that doesn't support tables.” I have to say that I agree completely :).
There’s no better way to find out how these Simple List Extensions work than to install IE 7 Beta 2 Preview (updated March 20 – check out the cleaner feed view!), and just click on the examples above. They all show off the sorting and filtering features of SLE amazingly well.
Thanks to everyone involved in getting these feeds online!