The Inbox Files #2: Microblogging

January 23, 2010

People are finding new ways to use XMPP every day. Sometimes these new uses get documented and presented to the community for consideration. These new XMPP Extension Proposals (XEPs) are placed in the extensions inbox while they go through the initial review process. The Inbox Files reports on the latest additions to the inbox. Today, I’ll discuss Microblogging over XMPP



This proposed XEP was originally added to the inbox well over a year ago. Peter and Joe both wrote down a very simple proposal for how XMPP microblogs might work.

Their proposal uses PEP, a simplified and personalized extension of pubsub, to store microblogs. Microblogs are discovered with standard service discovery, and users can subscribe, publish, and receive events just like with normal pubsub nodes. Atom, with some threading extensions, is used for the content of posts.

One thing that I love about this XEP is that it is extremely short, but fulfills most of the same features that microblogging systems have. It doesn’t take much to get some interesting applications on top of the many tools XMPP already provides. Pubsub in particular is a fundamental building block for an enormous number of applications.

There are some real issues with this XEP that still need addressing, the main one being that users should be able to have multiple microblogs or point to microblogs that are hosted elsewhere (like on Twitter or Identica).

A complete microblogging system in XMPP would need aggregation and some extra Atom extensions for various kinds of metadata.

I’ve written about microblogging and XMPP before. If you’re curious:

The Inbox Files #2: Microblogging - January 23, 2010 - Jack Moffitt