RSS : what is it? How to read it and how to use it
[I wrote this article some time ago and you will see how old it is now. Everyone uses Feedburner now, but since Google took it over, you need a google account. Personally I only subscribe to a blog if there is provision for email distribution, as my blog has. Do subscribe :)]
RSS is the name given to a simple and well-established XML format used to syndicate news. Once a website creates an RSS file they have created a means to allow others to syndicate their news.
The first version of RSS (RSS 0.9) was released by Netscape in March 1999 as a format for adding news channels to their My.Netscape.Com portal.
Then in July 1999 Netscape released RSS 0.91, incorporating most of the features of a format called <scriptingNews>, which was created by UserLand. Shortly thereafter Netscape discontinued developing the RSS
format, however UserLand persisted and RSS continued to grow in strength.
In December 2000, the separate RSS-DEV Working Group released RSS 1.0 and Userland announced RSS 0.92. As of April 2001, Userland is now planning RSS 0.93. Although RSS is not clearly an acronym of anything, different
people have called it Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary and Really Simple Syndication at different times.
The lack of clarity in what RSS stands for or which version is the correct one to use can seem confusing to beginners. However these issues don’t need to addressed by a website wanting to create an RSS file. RSS is a very well recognized format, in fact it is often referred to as the most successful XML format to date. Some websites have a preference for oneversion, others create more than one RSS file and support multiple versions and a recent survey suggests that the first two versions of RSS (0.9 and 0.91) are still by far the most popular.
Everyone must have seen one of those orange buttons called XML by now. Why are they being used? I suppose it was in place of newsletters and a way to avoid one’s newsletter being dumped in a spam folder. That’s what happened
to some of my newsletters and they are not spam. It’s a way to make a page ‘sticky’. People will come back frequently. It’s also a way to let people know quickly if your site is updated. They are used most frequently on blogs, which have themselves exploded over the past year.
It’s a good idea to have an RSS reader just in case you see a site which you want to subscribe to, so let’s discuss this first. Most of them have items on them already, but you can delete what you don’t want. There’s the Google reader and another popular one is NewsGator. These are free.
Both readers explain how to get the news into your RSS readers, but the general idea is to click on the XML button or the place where the site directs you to get the feed and then open your RSS reader or aggregator and add that .xml file and the title of the site.
Okay, now you want to put one on your site, don’t you. Not many static sites would do this and nor would any that didn’t have an hourly turnover of new stuff on the web site. So you do, or you want to put it on yourblog.
Here’s a good link to learn from
If all this seems to difficult you can easily create, edit and publish rss feeds. New RSS feeds can be quickly and easily created with FeedForAll.
Advanced features enable you to create professional looking rss feeds quickly.
Existing RSS feeds can be repaired and enhanced with FeedForAll.
RSS feeds generated by other means can be automatically repaired, so that they conform to the RSS 2.0 specification. Existing feeds can be enhanced to contain advanced feed properties.
Ping aggregators to let them know that you’ve created an RSS feed. In order to let the world wide web know that your feed is up and running, you must give them a Ping. This is very easy to do – just go to http://pingomatic.com
and choose the appropriate sites to inform. Select blog related sites if you’re a blog and non-blog related sites for other content. Complete the information and Ping. Another site you should Ping is Yahoo! Simply visit the Yahoo!
RSS submit page and add your feed URL. This will let the big boys know that your syndicating.
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