Thursday, March 1, 2007

Web - RSS

You've noticed websites with orange icons that say "RSS" on them, but you don't know what that means or what to do with those icons.

What is RSS?

Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication.

For real, what is RSS?

A website containing an RSS feed has the capability to send you a summary of updates whenever it has updates. In other words, you're able to subscribe to that website's updates.

Why should you care?

When you subscribe to an RSS feed, it sends notifications when updates are available on the site. Some feeds even give a brief description of the update. This way, you don't have to open the whole website to know that it's been updated; thus, saving you time.

What can you subscribe to?

Any site with orange icons labelled RSS or XML. This includes sites such as blogs, news sites, forums, and download lists.

Some browsers, such as Firefox, display buttons when you browse to a site with RSS feeds.

Ok, cool. So how do you use RSS?

Let's walk through an example:
  • At the bottom of CNN, you'll see a link for RSS.
  • Click on that RSS link. It should bring you to CNN's page of RSS feeds, which contains various RSS links to potential topics to subscribe to, such as CNN's Top Stories.
  • Click on any one of those RSS links. A page or dialog box should prompt you for which RSS aggregator (such as GreatNews) to use to subscribe to that feed.
  • Now you open your RSS aggregator, update your feed, and look at the page updates. Simple as that!

Subscribe to my blogs using RSS