Snap: RSS for interactions 7 Feb 2008
At Web Directions North, Matt Webb introduced "Snap" - "the syndicated next action pattern". We think it's a great idea.
The concept goes something like so...If you work with a lot of web apps, there are lots of small jobs that you regularly need to get done. For example, approving blog comments that are awaiting moderation, accepting bugs that have been assigned to you by your tracking app, or issuing receipts after receiving payment from clients. Webb calls these little jobs "next actions". These jobs are tedious in and of themselves...but are made even moreso by the fact that you usually have to visit (and log in to) a different website to tackle each one. Wouldn't it be better if you could tackle them all in the same place?
That's where Snap comes in. Webb came up with the idea of Snap after realising that RSS had been used to solve a similar problem in the world of online news. In bygone days, you had to make a separate visit to each website that you wanted to receive news from. Then, RSS came along and suddenly you could subscribe to each website's news feed and have all of your news content delivered directly to your desktop via a feed reader.
Snap will do the same thing for "next actions". Websites will render each "next action" as a feed object that contains a form. Users will then subscribe to these feeds and receive one of these objects (in their feed reader) every time they need to complete a task. When an object arrives, users simply complete the form and hit submit - et voila - job done and on to the next. In essence, Snap is therefore a kind of "RSS for interactions" that allows users to access and process all of their annoying little jobs in one place. Beautiful.
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