Thursday, August 9, 2007

RSS:"Really Simple Syndication"

RSS is an acronym, and it stands for "Really Simple Syndication". It is one of several ways that web authors and publishers can use to make sure that their updated information gets to their readers in a quick and efficient way. Most often, RSS feeds are used to update readers of blogs or news sites on new information that has been posted, or in the case of podcasts, new audio that has been uploaded.

The name "RSS" is an umbrella term for a format that spans several different versions of at least two different (but parallel) formats. The original RSS, version 0.90, was designed by Netscape as a format for building portals of headlines to mainstream news sites. It was deemed overly complex for its goals; a simpler version, 0.91, was proposed and subsequently dropped when Netscape lost interest in the portal-making business. But 0.91 was picked up by another vendor, UserLand Software, which intended to use it as the basis of its weblogging products and other web-based writing software.

In the meantime, a third, non-commercial group split off and designed a new format based on what they perceived as the original guiding principles of RSS 0.90 (before it got simplified into 0.91). This format, which is based on RDF, is called RSS 1.0. But UserLand was not involved in designing this new format, and, as an advocate of simplifying 0.90, it was not happy when RSS 1.0 was announced. Instead of accepting RSS 1.0, UserLand continued to evolve the 0.9x branch, through versions 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, and finally 2.0.

What is an RSS feed, let's take a look at how it works. RSS is maintained by using a code known as XML, which stands for extensible markup language. This generic data format is a good way to be able to send out your RSS feed without having to use a lot of graphics or other large file formats. A reader program, downloaded by the reader or subscriber to your blog or other website, is able to take the XML information and put it into a usable context so it can be read and enjoyed.

There are a few types of RSS feeds out there, most commonly RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0. While most people who use RSS today are updated to RSS 2.0 (the most user friendly and advanced version of the Really Simple Syndication feed), there are still a few older sites that use the 1.0 technology. Most of the RSS feed readers available today are able to read either format, but it is important to check before downloading or using a reader.

RSS feeds are easily used by the programmer, because many of the most popular website hosting and building sites allow quick implementation of this code. Other sites, such as Blogger (the most popular free blogging site and network) as well as the major blogging software companies, allow RSS feeds to be built from within their programs without needing the use of coding or other technical know-how. This means that all bloggers can use this technology to their advantage without having to learn a whole new set of codes.

What is an RSS feed? It's a great way to make sure your followers, readers or devotees can keep up to date with your web site and the information contained on it. It is also easy to use on both the publisher and consumer ends, making it a perfect solution for information dissemination.

Exampel feed URL for the New Blogger, but I have typed in other URL like:


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