Rss For Dummies

RSS (see RssFeeds) stands for many possible things, but a common one is ReallySimpleSyndication. This page is intended to explain what it is in terms of things you already know.

Suppose there are a few web-sites in which you're interested. You want to know when there are updates, and you'd like to get a summary of each update to decide whether it's worth going to the site and getting the full story.

The site could offer a single page that summarizes changes. That page could also, for example, have a "refresh" set to every hour. Then you can open a browser on that page and see the updates as they come along, deciding whether of not to click the link.

Problem is, you might want to track lots of sites. Two or three you could manage with the above system, but more than that and it gets unwieldy.

So you write a little script that fetches all the summary pages in which you're interested and presents them as a single page. There's a little work to do to extract the content from the HTML guff, but it's not that hard.

It would be easier if the servers, the web site owners, only provided the content and let you top-n-tail it with HTML.

So that's what RSS does. Each RSS feed returns to you a page containing the summary of that site's changes in XML. You tell your software all the ones you're interesting in and it polls them every hour (by convention), gets the content from the XML provided, and presents it to you.


Resources

RssViewers, some free at http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,116018,pg,7,00.asp

Both MozillaFirefox and MaxthonBrowser has RssViewer addons, refer to individual listing

history of Rss and channels, etc found at http://www.downes.ca/files/rss.htm


I have been using RssFeeds for a few days now, it is good but not GoodEnough. -- dl

Maybe I am not using RssFeeds correctly, or maybe I need to BlameTheTool. I do not see RssFeeds being much better than ways I keep informed using GoogleSearch, GoogleNews, UseNet (via FreeAgent? reader) or old fashioned mailinglists.
CategoryRss CategoryDummies

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