What is RSS and why would I care?

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 in Artifacts

Q. What is RSS?

A. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, essentially it’s a way to “publish” news, articles, personal opinions, stories, blog entries, and more (e.g. content) on the web. This stream or information from your site is a Feed. Other people can subscribe to your RSS Feed and be instantly updated when you write something new, without having to remember to visit your website.

To use an example: You like gardening and while surfing the web you find a great website dedicated to gardening tips. There are a bunch of great tips and you can see that they are updated regularly, instead of having to remember to come back and see what’s new on a regular basis you can subscribe to their RSS feed. Every blog or news site has one, and so do many other site. Just look for the my-yahoo-sc5 logo.

Q. How do I subscribe to an RSS Feed?

A. All modern web browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) can handle RSS Feeds. When you click the RSS logo link you will be redirected to that website’s RSS Feed. This URL (web address) is the RSS Feed you can copy it into whatever Feed Reader (see below) to  you use.

Q. What’s an RSS feed reader?

A. A program designed to capture updates to “subscribed” RSS feeds. There are lots of RSS readers, some are programs installed on your computer others are web-based customizable sites (like My Yahoo! or iGoogle) that allow you to add Feeds from their library or add your own.

Need more?

RSS resources:

  1. Google Feed 101
  2. Wikipedia: RSS

Feed Reader resources:

  1. A Great all around Feed Reader: My Yahoo!
  2. Wikipedia: RSS Feed Reader (Aggregator)