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Beginners Guides: RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions
Beginners Guides: RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions - PCSTATS
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   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Types of RSS feeds

There are three generally accepted RSS revisions for creating feeds: RSS 0.91, RSS 0.92 and RSS 2.0. Any recent RSS feed reader should be able to read all three types properly. There are also several more standards which are somewhere in-between these three.

RSS 0.91 is the simplest form and the easiest to understand, and not co-incidentally, is the format we'll be using throughout this article. It is also the most limited for a number of reasons. RSS 0.91 provides only a basic set of features, allows a maximum of 15 items in any single feed, limits the length of the text used in titles and descriptions to 100 and 500 characters respectively. HTML cannot be used in the descriptions of items in RSS 0.91, as the specification supports plain text only. RSS 0.91 is a very rigid form, in that each item will have a single link, a title and possibly a description, with no variations allowed in this pattern.

RSS 0.92 represents an extension of RSS 0.91. It removes a lot of the restrictions of the previous version and adds support for HTML code to the 'description' section of items. Items no longer need to have a title or link, as the description can now be used as both title and link if desired. The addition of an optional 'enclosure' tag allows an RSS 0.92 feed to contain files which are downloaded by the user along with the item. All the length restrictions of the various text fields that were present in RSS 0.91 are removed in RSS 0.92.

RSS 2.0 is a different branch of the RSS 'tree' than RSS 0.92, though it also originates in RSS 0.91. It supports all of the additions made by RSS 0.92, and adds a few new wrinkles like support for secure sites, GUIDs, feed categorizing, etc. A full description can be found here.

Anatomy of a basic RSS 0.91 feed file

Now let's take a look at what elements make up a basic RSS feed file. Here's one we made up especially for the occasion, complete with two items.

<rss version="0.91">
<title>PCstat's RSS test</title>
<description>beginner's Guides: using and creating RSS feeds </description>
<title>Pcstats newsletter </title>
<link> https://www.pcstats.com/aboutnewsltr.cfm</link>
<description>pcstats weekly newsletter. sign up today! </description>
<title>newsflash: microsoft buys pcstats</title>
<description>no they didn't…</description>

The <rss version="0.91"> tag at the top identifies the file to readers as an RSS XML file using RSS version 0.91.

The <channel> section identifies our RSS feed, including a title, a URL (which is usually pointed at the homepage that hosts the RSS feed), and an (optional) short description of the feed.

Each <item> section delineates one item or headline that is added to the feed and will be displayed to users when they download the feed through an RSS feed reader. Each of these also requires a title and a link (which will generally go directly to the main page of the information that the item concerns). A short description (less than 500 characters) can also be added, giving readers an idea of what the item is about.

After the last item, the </channel>and </rss> tags are closed, ending the file.

The dashes in between the various tags and items are not necessary, but help to distinguish them from each other. An empty line works too.

Of course, there are several more things you can do with an RSS feed, including using different versions of RSS to add HTML support to the item descriptions, but we'll stick with the basics for now.

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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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