IT ANSWERS – What are RSS Feeds?

What is RSS?

So the basic rundown is this, RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary” and it is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. There are so many sites out there that are regularly updated and even several news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers that syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

So basically all the information that is constantly changing on the site is compressed into a type of code and sent to those who requested it as soon as new content is published on the site. The code is unreadable unless you have an RSS reader to decipher it when you are ready to read.

What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed?

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allows you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use. There are a variety of RSS Readers available out there and also for the different platforms available. Some popular feed readers include Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers, so no downloading or installing needed (well not too much anyway).

Once you have your Feed Reader, it’s just a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader list. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

Why RSS?

Not why should anyone go through this hassle when they can just go to the site and read it like they used to? RSS solves a problem for regular web browsers; it allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. So you now save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter, which I personally think is awesome because I hate a full mail box.

Nowadays the number of sites offering RSS feeds is growing rapidly and includes big names like Yahoo News, CNN, BBC, etc.


So stop wasting time site hopping and join the RSS feed movement.

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