Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML-based format for distributing and aggregating Web content (such as news headlines), now adopted by thousands of web sites. Using RSS, web content providers can easily create and disseminate feeds of data that include, for example, news links, headlines, and summaries.
RSS feeds bring automatically updated information straight to your desktop. You can monitor news, weblogs, job listings, personals, and classifieds. More and more sites offer feeds, which you can identify by a small button that says either RSS or XML. However, if you click one of these links, you will most likely get a page full of code in your browser. To properly read the feed, you need an RSS news aggregator or news reader.
How can I use RSS?
1. Get an RSS reader: Software programs called news aggregators or news readers will download and display RSS feeds for you. There are three types of RSS readers. Standalone, desktop applications are simply programs that process RSS feeds for you. Another type is the plug-in, an app that works within an existing program such as Microsoft Outlook or Internet Explorer. Finally, there are web-based RSS readers, which aggregate content into an easy-to-read web page, custom-created with the content you want to read.
A number of free and commercial news aggregators are available for download and use. Popular news readers include NewsGator, AmphetaDesk, NetNewsWire, Bloglines, and Radio Userland. The San Jose Mercury News has this excellent overview of RSS news reader software.
2. Locate the RSS feed. You can identify RSS feeds by a small, orange button on a web page that says either RSS or XML. Here is the button used on the Hypergene MediaBlog:
3. Subscribe to the RSS feed. Copy and paste this link to your news reader using the instructions provided by your chosen application. Once you have subscribed to the weblog RSS feed, your news reader will periodically check it for new information, keeping you up-to-date on Hypergene MediaBlog posts. If you are using a web-based news aggregator, look for special links or buttons that make it easy to you to automatically add an RSS feed to your specific aggregator. For example, here is a link that will automatically add the Hypergene MediaBlog RSS feed to your MyYahoo! page.
We do not use these images, but we do offer hyperlinks that do the same thing. Look under the “Subscribe with:” heading for links that will automatically add our RSS feed to your aggregator.
Want to know more about using RSS on your site?
Check out the All About RSS guide or the RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters.