Thursday, October 20, 2005

RSS Feed

What is RSS?
"RSS" stands for Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, and/or Rockdale, Sandow, and Southern (Railroad) (if you trust the good folks at Really Simple Syndication is probably the most widely agreed-upon choice. As far as we are concerned, all three acronyms do an inadequate job of describing what RSS actually is: RSS is a standard for publishing regular updates to web-based content. Using this standard, Web publishers provide updates, such as the latest news headlines or weblog postings. Meanwhile, consumers use RSS reader applications (or one of a growing number of online services) to collect and monitor their favorite feeds in one place (RSS content from a publisher, viewed in one of these readers, is often called a "feed").
Consumer Bottom Line: RSS makes reviewing a large number of sites in a very short time possible.
Publisher Bottom Line: RSS permits instant distribution of content updates to consumers.

Who publishes RSS feeds?
Some of the biggest names on the web now offer content using RSS feeds:
BBC News Headlines
many more!
In addition, thousands of weblog authors publish feeds to keep themselves better connected to their readers/admirers/critics. Blogs are a driving force behind a recent surge of interest in RSS and syndicated content.

How do I read RSS Feeds?
If you want to collect and browse feeds you have many choices, but there are two primary categories of feed reading applications: installable desktop programs and online services. There are many desktop applications for Windows and Mac OS system users, but two of our favorites are
FeedDemon (Windows) and NetNewsWire (Mac OS X). Both require a small purchase price but are tops for ease of use and ship with dozens of feeds pre-loaded so you can explore the syndication "universe" right away. Free readers are available as well; a search for "RSS Reader" at popular search sites will yield many results.
If you would prefer to use an online service to track and manage your feeds, you have the advantage of being able to access your feed updates anywhere you use a web browser (and in some cases, on
mobile devices). Also, any upgrades or new features are added automatically. The trade-off comes in different (some would say fewer) features and slightly slower performance versus desktop systems. NewsGator, Bloglines, and new RSS content capabilities in My Yahoo! are probably the three best-known examples of web-based feed reading services.

How can I publish my own RSS Feed?
If you have a website or weblog, you can add RSS syndication as a publishing option, in some cases automatically. How easy this is to accomplish depends entirely on how your site is served today. If you are using a hosted publishing tool like
TypePad or Blogger, you probably publish a feed automatically. Investigate whether your provider's administration tools offer feed-related options or controls. Other types of websites and application platforms may require some programming skills in order to add RSS syndication capabilities.
Our service, FeedBurner, allows publishers who already have RSS Feeds to improve their understanding of and relationship with their syndication audience. Once you have a working feed, run it through FeedBurner and realize a whole new set of


And finally, some technical backstory
RSS is based on XML, a widely used standard for textual information exchange between applications on the Internet. RSS feeds can be viewed as plain text files, but they're really designed for computer-to-computer communication. We should point out that RSS is just one standard for expressing feeds as XML. Another well-known choice is
Atom. Both formats have their boosters, and it does not appear that consolidation toward a single standard is imminent. However, most RSS users simply want fresh content and don't care at all about the underlying protocol. (FeedBurner helps publishers avoid this quandry, by the way. Apply our SmartFeed™ service to an Atom feed, such as those provided by Blogger, and your feed is delivered as RSS to readers that still don't support Atom.)


Blogger Brandon said...

Thanks for the info.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Jessica Spaulding said...

So, does that mean we automatically have a feed through blogspot? Anyone know the URL?

6:11 PM  
Blogger See Jay run said...

Yeah, what the hell does this mean?k

7:49 PM  

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