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What is RSS?


Original article:  What is RSS?

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Really Simple Syndication
What is RSS? I have to admit, I'm a little hesitant to say that I asked myself that question a few weeks ago. My to-do list has included the somewhat ambiguous line: "Develop RSS Feed". So naturally - well, with me it isn't necessarily natural that - my first question was: what is RSS? (In fact I recently developed a link to Del.icio.us without first knowing how, or what, or why it would be useful (or why it has periods in its name); someone out there let me know if the link is working.) This time I decided, first things first, I would begin by being a user of RSS or Really Simple Syndication (or according to Wiki sometimes Rich Site Summary) before developing it for StokeDaSoul.com.

Beyond the News
Originally, RSS feeds were primarily used by news websites to publish frequently updated headlines (this was in fact the time, years ago, when I first looked at it; but I found the news feeds contained mostly bad news and didn't want to implement it for StokeDaSoul.com – “paparazzo charged in stalking” ). Now day’s bloggers, as well as video and music hosting sites have RSS feeds to publish "what's new" on their respective websites. Website developers follow one of a few RSS standards in a XML format. Either choosing to syndicating full or summarized text, along with other information such as date, authorship and keywords (metadata) in the RSS feed. Subscribers of the RSS syndication are notified of updates and can read them at their leisure.

Hype? or Stoked!
In this age of hype and fluff, I was presently surprised, actually "sliced bread" came to mind, as I setup a RSS reader as a user. The RSS reader (Feedburner, Google Reader, Bloglines - there are a lot of them out there) takes the various feeds, aggregates them, and displays the updates to sites you subscribe to. For me, keeping up to date with the handful of my favorite sites that tend to update once or at the most a few times a week in one aggregated and standardized place is nothing short of genius.

Get Started - Setup and use a RSS Reader
To give RSS a try, it only takes a few simple steps. I'll use Google Reader as an example, because it was the one I used and I've found it one of the better on-line news aggregators and readers.
  • In your internet browser open the home page of your favorite Blog, say, for instance, StokeDaSoul.com, right click on the orange RSS icon and select "Copy Shortcut".
  • In another browser window, go to the Google.com home page, click on "more" and select "Reader". Login with your Google account (or create a new one).
  • The reader should open and you'll see a button "Add a subscription" in the upper left hand corner. Click it.
  • You will be asked to give a web address (URL) of a RSS feed. Right click in the text box and select "Paste". The StokeDaSoul.com RSS Feed URL should appear. If not repeat step 1 or manually type in the feed URL: “http://stokedasoul.com/RSSFeed.aspx”.
The Power is in Aggregation
And presto you are subscribing to all the updates from StokeDaSoul.com. You can repeat the process for all your favorite blogs and the Reader will aggregate the updates (by date or title).

More on the Internet
  Additional information and links can be found by clicking on the RSS icon from most websites, including StokeDaSoul.com. I find that even if you do not subscribe to the website's RSS feed, by clicking on the RSS icon it serves as a "what's new?" and can speed up your evaluation of a new website.
  • The Google Reader website has information and is the place to start if you would like to try out the Google reader.
  • Bloglines is another browser based RSS reader. With browser based readers you will be able to access your RSS subscriptions from any computer that has access to the internet - I'm picturing an internet cafe on a white sand beach... drink in your hand...
  • GreatNews is a desktop RSS reader - you install it on your computer instead of using your internet browser. I haven't personally given it a try, but it has some decent reviews.
  • The FeedBurner website is another popular RSS Reader a resource for Blog site owners to promote and compile metric data on the health of their blogs. The site has instructions and generic RSS information to get you going. If you would like to subscribe to StokeDaSoul.com through FeedBurner you can use this link.
  • For web developers and/or bloggers: the RSS XML Specification (version 2.0).


[Show] Comments - We're Stoked! to hear your thoughts.

CJ
(Friday, 25 Sep 2009)  Hey man thanks for the information. I wil give it a try.
  
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