Thursday, July 06, 2006

What are RSS feeds?

In a previous post, I talked about the ideal way to view your RSS feeds, and already there are some new options out there. But I neglected to explain what RSS really is, or how it works. If you aren't aware, this post is for you.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (and used to stand for Rich Site Summary). It's delivered by a mark-up language - XML - and its purpose is to summarizes new web content, so users can track updates to a site rather than revisit the site to check for updates.

This can be of great benefit to you for three reasons: you need not miss new content on your favourite sites; you will be alerted to the update immediately, so you will not miss time-sensitive updates; no more tedium of checking sites for updates, and trying to figure out what's new.

Any page that has an RSS feed will have a little RSS icon, or just a subtle RSS link. Click on it to see what the feed looks like. The URL should end in .xml, and that's the URL you will use if you manually add that page to your subscriptions (If you run NetNewsWire, just click Subscribe).

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