My good friend Dave W has written a piece pointing out that the RSS 2.0 says one enclosure per item. Ok. I agree. But I'm still left with a problem. Over here on this table I have this one item consisting of a title, description and a permalink. All of them talk about what's on that table over there. Which is a BitTorrent I'd like you to use, and the Mp3 that's inside the torrrent and you can use if you still haven't got a BT client. On a third table is a whole lot of stuff that most of us won't be interested in like a mirror of the MP3, the lyrics, the metadata, AAC and WMA versions in various qualities, a rip of the DVD version of the video, and so on and on and on.

So ignore that third table and just concentrate on the Torrent and MP3. If RSS can't have two enclosures in one item (probably fair enough), then I can either have two items with duplicated title, link and description but then Aggregators will probably try and download both, so that doesn't work. Or I can have two RSS feeds and just try and encourage the users to use the one with the torrents. But then I'm forcing the user to make a choice that the software ought to make.

So the best solution I've seen is that we encourage a convention in aggregators. We put the Torrent pointer in the enclosure in the RSS. If the BT part can't find a seed it looks for the contained file in the same place at the same URL. Download it and then start seeding it for everyone else. In parallel, we can encourage people to write easier and easier to use BT trackers for the authors. And for people who run an aggregator that can't cope with BitTorrent (shame!), put a pointer to the MP3 as an HTML link in the description.

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[ 21-Dec-04 9:30pm ] [ , ]