[Esip-discovery] Datacasting custom elements proposal

Mccleese, Sean W (388A) sean.w.mccleese at jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Mar 14 17:19:26 EDT 2011

As part of Andrew Bingham's Datacasting team, I would like to put forth a proposal for DCP-2 (or beyond) to add support for custom elements in Datacasting (or *casting) RSS & Atom feeds.

The purpose of "custom elements" to enable data providers to define and use domain-specific RSS/Atom elements from within the feed itself without foreknowledge on the part of the user or RSS/Atom viewer. This would enable, for example, a data provider of Datacasting RSS feeds tracking hurricanes to define "Max Wind Speed" as a valid RSS/Atom item element and then use that element within the feed. This would be accomplished through a two-step process: channel-level definitions and item-level use.

A channel level definition would define the name of the element, its core data type and then units the element represents. Ex:
<datacasting:customEltDef name="maxWindSpeed" type="float" units="mph" />

This would inform the feed reader that the item "maxWindSpeed" is present within the feed with a floating point number data type and that the physical representation of the data is in MPH. Then, in order for this data type to appear within the feed's item-level information, the following example is illustrative:

(for RSS):
<item> ....
<datacasting:customElement name="maxWindSpeed" value="81.2"/>

(for Atom):
<datacasting:customElement name="maxWindSpeed" value="81.2"/>

Thus, when viewing the item/entry in the appropriate feed reader, the "maxWindSpeed" element would be displayed along with all the other relevant metadata (e.g. description, author, etc).

I'll add this to the Discovery Change Proposals page, but I wanted to make sure to inform the list about this proposed idea. If you're interested in seeing a working representation of this in action, check out the GHRSST AMSR-E DatacastingRSS feed (http://ghrsst.jpl.nasa.gov/datacasting/AMSRE-L2P-gen.xml) which can be read with the Datacasting Feed Reader (http://datacasting.jpl.nasa.gov)

-Sean McClese
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