Earlier this week, Manton Reece and Brent Simmons announced their development of JSON Feed, a spec for JSON-formatted feeds that would be an alternative to the XML variants of RSS and Atom:

We — Manton Reece and Brent Simmons — have noticed that JSON has become the developers’ choice for APIs, and that developers will often go out of their way to avoid XML. JSON is simpler to read and write, and it’s less prone to bugs.

So we developed JSON Feed, a format similar to RSS and Atom but in JSON. It reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds.

In many ways, JSON Feed looks like it could be the Markdown of syndication formats–it's so much more lightweight and easier to work with than XML. Brent and Manton have put a lot of thought into the spec and the result is one that better fits the needs of different styles of blogging, from Daring Fireball-esque link posts to microblog updates that don't use titles. It even takes into consideration attachments for use with podcasts (both audio and video), and is scalable with extensions that further enhances it.

It took only a few minutes to create the following template and add a JSON feed to this Jekyll-powered site.

It won't be long before apps start to appear that support JSON feeds. In fact, Maxime Vaillancourt has already created a web-based JSON feed reader. It serves as great way to test that your JSON feed is working and validates according to the spec. Maxime was also gracious enough to help debug my feed as it wasn't validating properly (he noticed it was being output as text/plain instead of application/json).

I have high hopes that JSON feed will be successful and encourage anyone who runs their own blog to support it. If you manage your own site, it takes so little time to create a working feed. WordPress users can even use a plugin that Brent and Manton have created to generate the feed automatically.