RSS Feeds and Syndication Help
with RSS feeds
What is RSS?
Rather than just provide a definition, it's often easier to explain
RSS in the context of a problem:
Problem: There's only one of you. However, there are billions and
billions of websites. And every day — well, guess what? Someone
is adding another website even as you read this here on Kidology.
How can you keep up, assuming that you'd want to?
Wouldn't it be cool if the latest articles, blog updates, essays,
and news items were delivered directly to you, rather than you needing
to click from site to site? Well now you can have the latest items
from many of your favorite websites delivered to you without your
so much as lifting a finger, thanks to a very clever service called
The "RSS" acronym stands for "Really Simple
Syndication" (Though some tech folks debate this a little,
as a few prefer to call it "Rich Site Summary", but it
doesn't matter if it works, right?).
Put plainly, RSS allows you to choose the "content" you
like and have it delivered directly to you, taking the hassles out
of staying up-to-date by delivering to you the very latest information
from sites of interest to you.
One analogy is that RSS is like receiving a customized news feed,
just like a personalized AP or Reuters wire service. Thus "feed"
is a term frequently bandied about when discussing RSS.
Now, you need to understand that what you get with RSS depends
upon the "Newsreader" you use (more on this in a moment).
Some just show the headline and when it was published. Others include
a brief summary as well. Not all websites currently provide RSS,
but it is growing rapidly in popularity and most blogs and news
sites do offer "feeds".
Finally, you might see mention on the Internet about "Atom"
or "XML" in relation of feeds. RSS and Atom are two different
(and competing) ways of doing the same thing. They both use XML
(eXtended Markup Language) formated "messages" to deliver
the latest news from a given feed (website) to a newsreader. Here
at Kidology we use the RSS 2.0 standard.
How do I start
using RSS feeds?
There are two options for reading RSS feeds: Installing a piece
of software on your computer or using an online (sometimes called
"Web-based") reader service.
So which is better?
Well, if you already have a Yahoo!, MSN, or Google e-mail account
or other personalized homepage then you already have an online reader.
Yep, these popular services offer newsreaders that allow you to
add your favorite RSS feeds to your personalized homepage painlessly.
However, if you'd prefer a stand-alone, non-Web-based application,
there are a couple to check out.
Here at Kidology, we find that most people prefer online readers
such as Bloglines
Reader. Why? No matter what computer or platform (PC vs. Mac),
you can always access your favorite feeds via the Web. Additionally,
there is no software to install and they are easy to use.
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