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May 13 2012

rssfeed

All you need to know about RSS

What does RSS mean?

RSS may mean three different things. The original RSS (RDF Site Summary RSS 0.9) was developed by Dan Libby for Netscape. After a couple of months, they produced a simpler and easier-to-use version called Rich Site Summary or RSS 0.91. But they later lost interest, leaving it without an owner. As more and more users were using RSS, Winer made an adapted version of RSS 0.91 for Userland, claiming it as his own. Later in 2005, Microsoft developed Really Simple Syndication in relation to its Simple Sharing Extensions.

What is RSS?

RSS is a XML file format for syndicating content and news in the web. It is usually used by websites that constantly need to update their content regularly such as news websites (CNN, BBC and Reuters) and weblogs. Since it essentially gives one’s webpage more traffic, it is now more widely used in marketing, web publications and virus reports. Today, large and small websites alike are usually RSS-enabled.

For example, you’re an avid fan of baseball and you want to share something recent about one of the players. Other than content, you can also attach multimedia files, like videos or pictures. By using RSS feeds, other Internet users subscribed to RSS-enabled sites can read your “headline” for free. They can also track for changes and updates using news aggregators, which will be discussed later on.

How does RSS work?

To be able to use RSS, you first have to download a software (content management system), by which XML format can be read. The title and, excerpt of the article, and a link to the full article are shown. Other than just text, you can also insert multimedia files in RSS feeds like pictures, videos, mp3s and others. Broadcatching, picturecasting, photocasting, and podcasting are some features you can incorporate into your feed, but will not be discussed in this article.

For users to access a RSS feed, they need to use an aggregator or a feed reader. An aggregator searches for updates on RSS-enabled webpages then displays it. It can either be a standalone program or a web browser extension, depending on your operating system. Search engines for web content broadcasted over RSS feed are also available such as Plazoo and Feedster.

How can I make an RSS feed?

It is definitely easier to make an RSS feed if you know HTML. If not, you could sign up for a blog (there are hundreds out there), some of which automatically creates RSS. If you’re using a personal webpage building system, you need to understand more about RSS. Making an RSS feed from scratch is relatively easy.

A RSS feed should always contain an “item”, whichever version of RSS you might use. If you wrote about a recent event in your city or a book review, the contents of this article can form an item. An item is essentially composed of three things: a title, its description, and link (where they can find your webpage). In choosing a title and description, use something that will describe the web content best. Although it will be easier for you, it doesn’t follow that the title tag of your webpage and the item title are the same.

An item will look like HTML tags. First, you need to put an opening channel tag that defines it as an XML file. Then, label the tag as an item by putting <item> after the channel tag. After this, you can now insert the three essentials of your item: <title>, <description>, and <link>. Just like HTML, we need to close the tag by writing </channel> and </rss> at the bottom.

An RSS feed that contains multiple tags looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss version="2.0">

<channel>

<item>
<title>Anne Rice’s Belinda: A Book Review</title>
<description> If you haven’t read any Anne Rice books yet, you will be greeted with shocking romantic relationships forming between unlikely characters… </description>
<link> http://allaboutbookreviews.com/belinda </link>

<item>
<title>Harry Potter IV: Darker with More Deaths</title>
<description> The recently released Harry Potter installation has proved dark for its younger readers…</description>
<link> http://allaboutbookreviews.com/harrypotterandthehalfbloodprince </link>

</channel>

</rss>

Now, if you’re still having a hard time understanding these tags, look for HTML tags tutorial to further grasp the concept. Have fun!
rssfeed

RSS Streamlines

RSS streamlines communication between publishers and readers. Since RSS has had a popularity surge, webmasters have been experimenting and using RSS feeds to deliver content in new and innovative ways. Typically, RSS feeds have news headlines and content summaries. The content summaries contain just enough information without overwhelming the reader with superfluous details. If the reader is involved and wants additional information they can click on the item in the feed, accessing the website which contains additional details. RSS readers aggregate multiple feeds, making it easy for individuals to rapidly scan information contained within each feed. Feeds are generally themed, allowing users to opt-in to feeds that are of interest.


The big advantage to RSS is that individuals opt-in to content of interest, completely controlling the flow of information that they receive. If the quality of the content in the feed declines, users simply remove the feed from their RSS reader and they will not receive any additional updates from that source. The RSS reader acts as an aggregator, allowing users to view and scan numerous content streams in a suitable fashion.


RSS is a great additional communication method that does not burden the publisher with maintaining lists or following strict privacy guidelines. RSS feeds are compiled according to the user's choices, removing any burden that is placed on publishers of email newsletters. Publishers no longer need to be concerned with spam, privacy policies, and age guidelines.


Publishers using RSS as a communication vehicle are able to create keyword-rich, themed content, establishing trust, reputation, and ongoing communication with current and prospective customers.


What Kind of Information Can be Delivered in RSS Feeds?


Blogs Feed
Many blogs are catalogued in an RSS feed, with each blog entry summarized as a feed item. This makes it easy for visitors to scan blog posts for items of interest.

Article Feed
Articles are often placed into feeds to alert readers when new articles and content are available. The feed entry is typically an article summary or introduction. Readers can then ascertain if the article is of interest and read further.

Forum Feed
Many forums now have add-ons that allow participants to receive forum posts via RSS. The RSS feeds often will show the latest discussion topics; if users are interested they simply click to enter the forum to participate in the discussion. As the topic is updated they will see new entries in the RSS feed.

Schedule Feed
Schools, clubs and organizations will often use feeds to communicate meeting times, places and events that might be occurring. The RSS feeds are often used to publicize events, notify the community of schedule changes or meeting agendas.

Discounts / Specials Feed
Retail and online stores have begun using RSS feeds to deliver their latest specials and discounted offers. Some online retailers have taken this a step further, allowing users to create their own feeds based on keywords or phrases.

For example, this service will generate a URL than can be entered into a news reader. The feed is updated each time an item is added to Amazon that meets the specified criteria or keywords - Amazon Search Feed - http://www.oxus.net/amazon/

Ego / News Monitoring
Companies or individuals interested in receiving headline news based on a specific brand or keyword can use RSS feeds to monitor news sources.

For example, users can use the following tool to create a feed that will allow them to receive filtered news from Google News. They will only receive items related to a specific keyword or phrase they setup - http://www.justinpfister.com/gnewsfeed.php

Industry-Specific RSS Feed Uses Include:
Technical professionals in specific industries have also developed RSS feeds as way to market, promote or communicate within their specific industries. In many cases, this has expanded their reach and increased communication with current and prospective customers and clients.

RSS feeds can be used by realtors to communicate the time and location for open houses, announce new property listings or promote decreased mortgage rates. Content feeds can also be used by universities to communicate sports scores or event schedules. Computer service professionals can create feeds to notify clients of potential security breaches, virus risks or outbreaks. Ultimately, RSS is molded to meet the communication needs of many sectors. Consider how RSS can benefit your business and supplement your communication needs.

RSS feed creation tool for publishers interested in creating fresh content - FeedForAll - http://www.feedforall.com
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