7/28/2007

What is RSS ? What are web feeds ? : A introduction

RSS - The word that is heard most on the web now a days.Earlier this is known only to Tech savvy people especially Firefox users.After the release of Internet Explorer 7.0 , This has finally came to all masses.But what is this RSS and RSS feeds ? and What is it's purpose ?? How will be it useful to readers and bloggers ??


RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication .RSS simply allows a website to automatically publish a basic file of “what’s new”. A user (i.e. you) can subscribe to this file (called a feed) and be notified of anything new that has been written on that particular website since you last received an update.It’s a quick and easy way of finding what is new on any site without necessarily having to visit the site yourself. Using a feed aggregator (more on these in a second), you can quickly keep up-to-date on the latest updates to many websites in a single place.

Every website you visit mostly will have a feed.The link to the feed will normally shown on any website with the symbol

Sometimes the feed may be in XML format and will be shown with a icon having letters XML.On Five point someone , you can find feed icon just on the right along with a feedburner chiclet showing number of feed readers of the day.Apart from the regular feed , creating a feed in other websites like feedburner will gain you advantage ,as they give you more features to your feed like showing you the traffic of the feed , allowing you to put ads of the networks.Feedburner has got FAN for its publishers to publish ads in their feeds.Normally it accepts feeds which have more than 500 users.

Once you have found a feed, what do you do with it? You need to add this feed to a feed aggregator, a system that collects all your feeds in one place and converts the feed into an easily readable format. There are quite a few ways in which to read these updates.Here are some feed methods.

1. Online RSS readers :
Few examples are :

There is no need of installation of any softwares for using these ones.In Five point someone , one can find chiclets for different feedreaders on the top portion as shown in the fig.

2) Personalised homepage : There are many varieties of personalised homepages where feeds (as well as other “widgets, such as email inbox, weather updates, clocks, etc) can be added. These include:

Browser Readers Users of IE7 and Firefox web browsers will see the feed icon on their toolbars “light up”, or appear when a feed is available for a website. They can then subscribe to these feeds and read them directly in the browser as if they were a webpage.
IE7:
IE RSS icon
Firefox:
Firefox RSS

They can be called live bookmarks.But I prefer feed aggregators.

Desktop Readers : If you want to have some desktop reader rather read your feeds inside your browser, Here are some options
a) Standalone reader software

One can download the feeds and read them offline using this.Its all the you need to have the software installed on your PC.

b) Integrated into your desktop email

These are also good but you need the software to be installed on your PC.

Email feeds : Now a days Feeds are even available through email .We at Five point someone is providing newsletter through feedburner.

Click here for Five point someone Newsletter .

Overall RSS/web feeds are an attempt to allow users easy access to the latest updates on their favourite websites, in one convenient place of their choice. Your method of reading them is down to personal preference, try a few of the free options There are many more than mentioned here, a web search for ‘RSS reader’ will find plenty of alternatives. If you have any best reader in your mind, Just post it as a comment.May be my readers will like your choice.

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