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A Reader Asks... The ABC's of RSS Feeds - PCstats.com A Reader Asks... The ABC's of RSS Feeds
Thu, September 27 2007 | 3:14PM | PermaLink Feedback?

A Reader Asks... The ABC's of RSS Feeds and Aggregators


Q: I keep hearing about something called "RSS", and how this will delivered links right to my desktop. What is RSS, and how does one set it up?

A: Marina McCartney has a quick rundown on the ABC's of RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. PCSTATS has RSS feeds for our latest tech news here, and for the PCSTATS Newsletter here, if you'd like to see RSS in action. Add them to a feed aggregator like Feedburner, or Firefox today. We've also written our own Beginners Guide to RSS Feeds here if you are looking for a little more in-depth guidance than Marina goes into.

Here is what Marina has to say, and be sure to check out the links at the bottom. "RSS means Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a special format based on XML, which was first used to unite headers with web content. In fact, RSS feeds are XML files containing data according to the RSS specification, and usually located on a website. As soon as an RSS feed appears in the Internet, any connected computer can access it. In order for the user to be able to use the RSS feed, he needs special software or services called readers or aggregators. RSS allows users to save their time, however it is rather difficult to create an RSS feed manually. That is why currently there are a lot of programs that do not require XML or RSS knowledge to use them. These programs allow you to create RSS feeds in WYSIWYG mode, as well as maintain and update it. One of such programs is Feed Editor that has some additional functionality besides editing RSS feeds. The RSS technology is being actively developed and used in various fields. It is likely that in the future it will not be possible to make a successful website without an RSS feed.

Why Use RSS?
If you are a user, RSS will help you save time - you will be able to receive latest information using just one special program or web service. RSS will bring you information from websites, boards, blogs – from everywhere in the Net. Besides, RSS files are quite small, so it will also save your traffic.If you are a site owner, RSS will help you increase the popularity of your website as well as its quality. Sometimes website becomes popular only because providing an interesting RSS feed. Using RSS today is considered a good form especially that it is very easy to add an RSS feed to your website. Do not forget to update your feed often and it will fructify. < /EM >

How to Read RSS?
To take advantage of RSS, you need a special program (or service) for reading feeds. Now, there are a lot of such programs, both free and commercial. If you use Opera (or IE 7.0, Maxthon), you don’t need any special software, because Opera can download and read RSS feeds. Of course, Opera is a browser first of all, so it doesn’t have all features of an advanced RSS reader. We have already compiled the list of full featured RSS readers:

http://www.yeahreader.com - Very popular free RSS reader and news aggregator (Windows); http://www.bloglines.com - Online RSS reader; http://www.newsfirerss.com/ - Cool RSS reader for Mac; http://liferea.sourceforge.net/ - Free RSS aggreagator for Linux; http://pda.jasnapaka.com/prssr/ - Free RSS reader for PocketPC.

How to Create RSS?
To create RSS, you can use special online services or desktop applications. Moreover, if you are not afraid of difficulties, you can write the code of your feed manually, since RSS is based on XML.

Windows applications: http://www.webvigour.com/ http://www.extralabs.net/, Online services: http://www.feedburner.com http://www.rssmix.com, Mac tools: http://www.feeder.com/

How to Promote RSS Feed
Various methods are used to promote RSS feeds. The most widely used one is submitting of the feed file into specialized search engines and directories. You can use the following services:
http://feedshark.brainbliss.com/ http://www.submitrssfeed.com/ http://www.dummysoftware.com/rsssubmit.html

Besides submitting, any other methods usually used to promote the website can also be used to promote the feed.

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