PubSubHubbub W3C Community group

Evan Prodromou

There is a new proposed community group for PubSubHubbub at the W3C.

PubSubHubbub ("PuSH") is one of the key technologies for an open, real-time Web.

It uses the Webhooks pattern to let subscribers register interest in an Atom feed, and to let publishers distribute updates at time of publication, rather than at a later poll time.

(If you think that's not a big deal, I highly recommend Evan Henshaw-Plath and Kellan Elliott-McCrea's great talk at OSCON 2008. They discuss the problems with polling many feeds at scale, and propose a pub-sub solution, albeit XMPP-based.)

The specification for PubSubHubbub was originally developed by Google engineers Brad Fitzpatrick and Brett Slatkin (cc'd). They have a good video that goes over what the protocol does and why they developed it. There's also a demo from the 2009 Real-time Crunchup with similar info.

In the years since its first release, the PubSubHubbub has been remarkably widely-implemented -- on blogs and in feed-reader applications. New usage has turned up some new requirements. Among other things, defining how the protocol works for non-Atom data types (like Activity Streams JSON or even binary types), and defining how to limit distribution to particular individuals.

Brad and Brett have, I understand, given their support to a new community group. The original IP is licensed under the OWFa agreement, which I believe is compatible with W3C community groups.

I am interested because PubSubHubbub is the key component to OStatus. and together host almost a million PubSubHubbub-enabled feeds. I hope other people and organizations interested in the federated social web can support this new group, too.



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