RSS Event Types (Or, an open standard for integrating and updating calendars): The Future Is Now

A few weeks back I wrote a short post on what I’ve learned so far about blogging.  Probably the biggest idea associated with blogs is RSS (Really Simple Syndication), an open, XML-based standard used by blog sites to notify subscribers of updates.  This evening I came across a post by John Bristowe about a new RSS extension called Event Share Framework (ESF).  ESF allows blog sites that publish calendars to update subscribers, and subscribing clients — even Outlook — to maintain a fresh, integrated view of all calendars subscribed to.

This is a big deal.  Imagine a site called that aggregates RSS-ESF feeds (the domain name is taken, btw, even though no live site’s up).  Think Google for events.  Search by where you live / travel, time/ date range, keyword.  Find person/ organization with events you would like to go to/ attend remotely.  Subscribe and get future events and updates sent to your Outlook calendar / PDA calendar automatically.  As a person trying to schedule your next cub scout pack meeting, check to see when a good date would be based on “related groups'” calendars (e.g., other organizations in your town, like school, church, sports leagues, etc.).

Business model for is Ticketmaster-like cut of event fees.  Additional income stream from Google-like sponsored organization/ event links.  Or maybe a big ISP like Verizon or Comcast could offer this (and blogs for that matter) as part of a “personal pages publishing solution” and charge a few bucks a month for the whole package.  It would certainly make sense as a service for major portals like Yahoo, and maybe local calendar.coms for things like Citysearch and

Hard?  Should be a snap to add “post an event” feature to Manila, Moveable Type, etc.  Either they will do it or someone will write the code and sell it to them… John’s post describes the required RSS extension and a mechanism for getting updates into Outlook via Newsgator.  And if Feedster, why not this?

Speaking of other useful RSS extensions, why not taxonomical ones to help categorize posts, events, etc.?  They could use web services that maintain canonical instances of those taxonomies, like an SIC code list for an “industry” tag, or UPC categories, or ISBN classifications for book reviews.  Then publishers could call these web services to populate (batch-update, since these schemes don’t change often) their “drop-down” lists in their posting forms, and readers could use advanced search reliably based on these consistent taxonomies… an RSS-based “Semantic Web”?


  1. Marc A. Garrett

    March 26, 2004 @ 7:06 pm


    Cesar, thanks for posting this. I don’t mean to be obtuse, but what does this standard do that the iCalendar format doesn’t already do?

  2. Cesar Brea

    March 27, 2004 @ 10:57 am


    Marc, Thanks for your comment (and for your very interesting blog as well). I looked at to get familiar with iCalendar, which I had not heard of or associated with vcard or vcalendar before your note. So I am not well-versed.

    I see no reason why parts of the iCalendar schema could not replace ESF, at least in concept. Perhaps the authors of ESF weren’t aware of iCalendar, or if they were, envisioned ESF as sufficiently simple that writing it as an RSS extension from scratch would be easier and more consistent with the RSS philosophy of keeping things simple.

    But your point is a good one; maybe instead of writing all these new RSS extensions from scratch there’s benefit in reconciling all of these open standards, and benefitting from all the thought that has gone into prior efforts that for unrelated reasons didn’t take off?

    I’d be curious to learn what the ESF authors have to say to your question.

  3. DubLi AU

    February 21, 2011 @ 11:04 am


    Dubli is awesome!, I just bid for a brand new republic gift card for 69 % off !!! Thanks DubLi!

  4. Achille

    October 11, 2011 @ 7:14 pm


    XML and RSS, yea.. there is a lot blog out there this day..

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