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Beginners Guides: RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions

Beginners Guides: RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions - PCSTATS
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Abstract: As the internet advances, even surfing has become slow and laborious. Enter RSS Feeds, and the simplified way in which they allow us to keep a birds eye view on favourite websites content.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats Apr 13 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats

Beginners Guides: RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions


As the internet advances, even surfing has become slow and laborious. Enter RSS Feeds, and the simplified way in which they allow us to keep a birds eye view on favourite websites content. - Version 1.0.0

The Internet is most often characterized as a web of information, but in some senses it can be thought of as a restless ocean, full of waves representing various trends. Some roll under the surface without trace and some sweep onwards, building up mass and momentum until they flood from the realm of the web savvy into the consciousness of the 'average' user, possibly drawing them deeper into what the Internet has to offer below the surface. E-mail and instant messaging are two obvious examples of these crossovers, but there are many more, including recent developments like blogging and the technology we are going to concern ourselves with today, RSS feeds.

It's actually rather difficult to take any sort of broad view of new Internet technologies and trends without resorting to grand metaphors like the one above. The Internet is so vast with so many new technologies and items on offer that it's often difficult to stop and focus on what's important to you. For this reason, we appreciate tools that can help to streamline the Internet experience without causing us to lose touch with our many, many favourite sites. The RSS feed is one such tool.

In this guide, PCSTATS will be looking at what RSS feeds are, how they work and what they offer to the average user and site administrator. We'll also create a basic RSS feed to illustrate just how easy it is to use this web-syndication tool for your own needs. Let's start by looking at what the acronym stands for.

What is RSS?

Depending on whom you ask, the acronym 'RSS' could stand for one of several things: Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication, RDF Site Summary, etc. Let's condense these into a meaning. RSS is an XML-based protocol which among other things, offers Simple but Rich website Summaries and Syndication.

RSS feeds are the most common use for this protocol, and they allow websites to publish summaries of their content in a form that is easy for users to browse.

The above just scratches the surface of what RSS is and can do; for example RSS also forms the basis of the software used to create many online 'blogs' or weblogs.

What does RSS Offer?

For the average web surfer, RSS provides a way to see at a glance if your favourite web sites have updated their content. Using a simple RSS feed reading program, you can subscribe to the feeds from any supporting site to get this information and link directly to the new articles that interest you.

This RSS reading software, also called an RSS feed aggregator, collects RSS files from websites with RSS feeds that you have subscribed to. It then displays this information in a single interface, allowing you to browse in a minute what would have taken you half an hour or more of surfing to accomplish. All new content is displayed in links, generally with helpful comments attached, allowing you to pick and choose your destinations for the day rather than clicking to a succession of your favourite bookmarks looking for updates.

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions
 Pg 2.  How do RSS Feeds Work?
 Pg 3.  Adding RSS Feeds
 Pg 4.  Types of RSS feeds
 Pg 5.  Creating an RSS feed for your website
 Pg 6.  Examining your first RSS file

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