In this article, I would like to introduce the RSS and the beauty of it to the world (Heh, as if they don’t know about it. 😛 )
Anyway, I’m sure many of you who are already using RSS but the purpose of this article is to get to know RSS better and learn about the benefits of using RSS.
What is an RSS?
RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document, which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”, contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually.
RSS is basically an abbreviation of Really Simple Syndication. In reference to the Wikipedia source, you’ll see that there are other abbreviations of it but it changed as time went by and new versions were introduced. So let’s stick to Really Simple Syndication.
What are the benefits of using RSS?
From a reader’s perspective, RSS saves you a lot of time when it comes to keep-track of the websites or blogs that you frequently visit.
Now, let’s say there are 10 websites and blogs that you love to visit. It’s definitely time consuming if you were to load up all those sites every day just to check for latest updates.
So how does RSS help? By using an RSS reader, you CAN subscribe to any website or blog that provides RSS feeds. 🙂 Once you subscribed, the RSS reader will take note of the feed location and extract any new updates when they appear. Instead of having to browse all the new sites and skim through the front page to see if you missed any new stories, RSS readers make sure the updates now appear right at your door-step just like an E-mail.
Here’s a screenshot (below) of my RSS reader, I use Mozilla’s Thunderbird E-mail client. 🙂 See how it displays my RSS content just like how it displays E-mail?
And yes, you can read them OFF-LINE too! But that really depends on what reader you’re using. In some cases you only get to see a portion of the article, this depends on how the RSS feed is published.
Forums like Lowyat.net has RSS feature available for each discussion topic. So if there’s a hot topic that you like to keep track of, then just subscribe to the RSS feed for that particular topic. 🙂 Neat huh? There’s no need to browse the forum, look for the thread, click the last page to only realize that you’ve missed 10 pages of discussion about Eva Longoria.
From a publisher’s perspective, RSS allows you to get your publication to more readers across the globe. This means that your readers are not confined to reading your publication from web-browsers alone. This also means that your fans get faster updates as long as they subscribe to your feeds. 8)
How Do I Get The Feeds?
You’ll have to hunt around the website that you’re looking at. It’s pretty common for bloggers to place their RSS feed source on the upper right side of their blog. If they’re not found on the upper right side then they could be around the footer of the page.
As for goldfries.com, I’ve placed the RSS feed details on one of my columns. 🙂 You should see that cute little button with the words “SUBSCRIBE“.
Did you notice that there’s an icon that looks like this one here? Well that’s the universally recognized icon for RSS feeds. 🙂 Just look around any website, icon marks the spot! Some websites may decide to use words to indicate the location of the feeds instead of using the RSS symbol. Commonly used words are RSS, feeds, subscribe.
Alright, have a click on that nice little button there (the one that links to my feed). You’ll see that it the link leads you FeedBurner, which is a service that I am using to distribute my RSS Feed. 🙂 You’ll see that FeedBurner caters for many RSS reader types, click on the View XML Feed (or click here) to see how the feed looks like.
Now That I Have The Feed Address, How Do I Read Them?
Here are some applications that you can use for subscribing to RSS
- Mozilla Firefox
- Apple Safari
- Mozilla Thunderbird
Subscribing Your First RSS
Alright, here’s a little exercise – visit NetVibes and do as what you see in the picture below
But before you proceed, I suggest you COPY the following feed address for this exercise
(Hint : select the whole address, right click, copy)
3 Simple Steps
- Click on the “Add a feed” Link
- Add the Feed address
- Click on the “Add” button
Welcome to the World of RSS Users!
Yes! Congratulations for successfully setting up your first RSS subscription!
I hope this article was helpful to you. I’m sure it makes life easier by having new updates coming to you instead of you going to them.
Remember to share the beauty of RSS to your friends. 8) If you like my articles, perhaps you should subscribe to my RSS too so you’ll be notified each time I post something new.
Have fun RSSing!