It’s just data

Re-syndicating vs sanitizing

Just over a month ago, Tim Bray pointed both to Jacques’ Atom Torture Test, and Planet Intertwingly. Regarding the later, he noted with evident delight that NetNewsWire was able to tell him which entries he had already seen due to the fact that Planet made an effort to retain atom id’s.

Until today, it didn’t occur to me that those two were related.  Programs which couldn’t handle such things as MathML do a disservice by resyndicating mangled or neutered content.  This brings up a number of interesting questions.  I’m going to take a stab at answering them, but in all honesty, this is a subject for interesting debate.

The first step is that the Feed Parser needs to be modified to return back a flag for each entry indicating whether that entry has been sanitized.