Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What is RSS?

Background on RSS

RSS is an XML-based technology created in the 1990s that pulls headlines and text from Web sites and displays them on users' desktops or Web sites in RSS readers, or aggregators.

RSS feeds are getting a lot of attention since they avoid often spam-clogged e-mail inboxes.

RSS stands for
Rich Site Summary and Really Simple Syndication.

What does RSS do?

A growing number of web sites are adding an RSS "feed" to their site. Most of the time, you'll find the feed(s) by looking for a little button or link that says "XML", "RSS", or "Syndicate this site".

xml.gifBluee RSS copy.gifSyndicate copy.gif

When you see the button or link- you've found the feed for that site. An RSS "feed" is the website's way of alerting subscribers that the website has been updated. It feeds subscribers the latest updates that have occurred on the web site.

When you find an RSS feed for a site you like, you will subscribe to the feed in order to be notified. You *must* have a tool that can read these RSS feeds. These tools are often referred to as "News Aggregators", "RSS Readers" or "News Reader".

How do I subscribe to an RSS feed?

First- you need an aggregator as described above. Then, the single thing you'll need is the URL (link) for the site's RSS feed.

Usually, you can click the little "XML" or "RSS" button and it will display a bunch of code- don't worry about the code. What you need is the web site address that appears when you click the XML button.

It usually looks like: or . Once you have that address, you add it to your aggregator and you're all set as a subscriber. Aggregators make the subscription process easier in varied ways.

Why would I need RSS? What is the advantage?

Remember- the big deal is it allows you be notified when a web site has been updated. Normally, you would have to proactively visit the site or subscribe to get email as updates occur. RSS alerts you without email. RSS prevents you from having to be proactive. You just subscribe and watch the notifications roll into your news aggregator. Also, RSS is unspammable because you control your
subscriptions- the site owner never has your contact info.

That's great, but what would I use if for?

A growing number of websites are providing RSS feeds. Increasingly webloggers are creating their own independent news niches using weblogs. Every weblog has an accompanying RSS feed.

RSS aggregators simplify the process of viewing a vast amount of information from various sources. The most important benefit is the efficient use of time and making us more productive.


Blogger zx1403 said...

Thanks for the info on RSS...I really didnt have a full picture till i stumbled across your blog. Keep up the good work.

May 29, 2005 at 8:13 AM  

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