Giovanni Guardalben, HiT Syndicaat

Developing Enterprise Syndication Management Systems

Location: Affi, Italy

Monday, April 11, 2005

Enterprise Syndication: Do We Need Syndication Management Systems (SyMS) ?

This is a personal weblog about our new family of software products: HiT Syndicaat ( In this blog, rather than replicating marketing hype, I will try to provide technical background information on why we did what we did.

Please feel free to contact me at

And now, let us move on to the subject in the title.

In my previous life (as VP of R&D at HiT Software), I dedicated many years to database technology. During those years, it occurred to me many times that database technology followed a typical evolution path: initially, developers coded their storage routines directly in their applications. Gradually, things got so complicated that specialized libraries were used. Eventually, companies (database server vendors) created specialized servers capable of serving multiple users concurrently (concentrating advanced features server-side rather than client-side). Nowadays, developers interact with database servers by means of standardized (ODBC/JDBC/etc.) client libraries. In turn, client libraries support complex wire protocols to chat with their servers (to remotize all those advanced features that servers support).

So, the question is: will syndication technlogy follow the same path as database technology? (or, as a matter of fact, search technology, streaming technology, etc.). Are developers and companies currently mostly developing ad-hoc solutions for their syndication needs?

If we look at development patterns for syndication technology, we find the following typical cases:

-web portal developers manually extending their web sites to publish syndication content that derives from database storage
-weblogs re-publishing their content as syndication content
-search sites returning their search results as RSS (see OpenSearch 1.0)
-occasionally, people manually typing their RSS content and FTP it to web sites.

Definitely, we are in the midst of an evolving phase for syndication technology. Companies are scrambling to extend their current technology with syndication features. However, if the past is any indication for the future, perhaps we will see the birth of specialized syndication servers that will couple publishing and storage with search, administration, security, backups, etc.

So, what should syndication servers provide to their client applications? Here are a few ideas:

-storage (relational and/or text-based)
-search (field and/or text-oriented)
-query support (sql-like and/or search-like)
-security support (authentication, encryption)
-authenticated feeds
-authoring support (browser-based and/or smartclient-based)
-content management for feeds
-logging and backups

Did I miss anything here?


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