07/03/2009 What is RSS?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a new way to publish information online using XML. RSS allows users to subscribe to a website (and even specific channels within a website; e.g. sport, movies, business) to receive new and updated content, without being required to revisit the website. Almost all major newspaper websites provide subscription via RSS.

So what is it exactly?

Think of a RSS Feeds as a pipe of information. Coming down the pipe is alerts to new content. It could be just a summary of a new article for example. Depending on the end users reader, the feed will be displayed differently. i.e. one reader might just publish a title, while others publish an extract of the article. Each reader is different, this is discussed later on in this article.

So what can be published via RSS?

The short answer is just about anything. The most common content being published via RSS is articles, blogs, images, video content, music, podcasts, sporting results, product listings and much more.

Subscribing to an RSS Feed.

RSS gives viewers control over receiving information they want without revealing information about themselves. Unlike subscribing to an e-mail newsletter, viewers never have to give out their e-mail address with an RSS feed. That avoids the possibility of receiving spam or unwanted junk e-mail. It’s one of the reasons RSS is so attractive

RSS Readers

To read an RSS Feed, you’ll need something called a RSS reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Online Solutions (webpages)

Many users use online RSS Readers to view their news, often making it their homepage. These online solutions include ;

Offline Solutions (applications and browsers )

The RSS readers like Outlook treat an RSS Feed as an account, and the articles are formatted just like they were emails. In the Browsers they are referred to as “live bookmarks” (as they update).