Simple List Extensions in action


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.


Amazon
The Amazon Web Services team did some great work in setting up RSS feeds for wishlists. Just go to amazon.com, find anyone’s wishlist and click on the fancy orange icon at the top of the page.


Here’s a live example, and a video from Mix06 showing these feeds in action. Jeff Barr posts more details over on the Amazon Web Services blog.


eBay
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.


Pick an item you’ve been trying to find and just type it into the search box on ebay.com and subscribe to the feed using the button at the bottom of the page.


Yahoo! Music
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.


Here’s a direct link to the Yahoo! Music Top 10 Songs list. Ian Rogers posts more on the Yahoo! Music blog.


MSN Spaces
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!
– Sean

Comments (5)

  1. game kid says:

    Currently, the only one that displays in the nice RSS view (for me) is the Yahoo! Music list.

    The others show as XML.

  2. rss says:

    game kid:

    Are you using the most recent version of IE7 Beta 2 (updated March 20).

    Get it at: http://www.microsoft.com/ie

    – Sean

  3. James Holderness says:

    Are you guys ever going to specify what exactly is meant by data-type="date" in SLE? The example in the spec includes a date field that happens to be using the RFC 2822 format, but the example feed you’ve included from Amazon is using an ISO8601 date (with no time). Are applications meant to guess the date format being used or should they just be treated as opaque strings (in which case what’s the point of being able to sort them)?

  4. game kid says:

    Yes, I used that one.  It shows feeds, like those from the New York Times and other sites, that only showed up as XML before.

    The Yahoo and eBay examples still show as XML, though.

  5. I’ve just finished updating a client site with SLE – any comments would be appreciated.

    Not got round to using the "group by" yet obviously and tried to help out those readers without SLE by including the price at the start of the title but not all readers interpret the numbers as numbers so it only partially works.

    http://www.ribabookshops.com/site/featurelist.asp?type=WHATS_NEW