This is an RSS Icon.
What does it do?
An RSS Feed lets you read all of your favorite websites from one location. Instead of having to parade around the net finding out which one of your favorite sites has been updated, a feed reader can do this for you and gather it all in one location. Now you can read all of your favorite websites from one spot. Another beauty of RSS feeds is that it only presents the latest, so that you’re not stuck reading the same thing you read last week.
- If you love cooking, you can get all of your favorite cooking recipes from hundreds of websites in one location.
- If you love sports and don’t trust the view of one major news provider, why not get information on the same subject from lots of different sports sites.
- If you love gossip but don’t know who’s telling the truth, subscribe to all of your fave gossip sites from corporate media to your local bloggers and more easily decide for yourself what is truth.
For the techies: RSS has been referred to as …
- Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
- Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0)
- RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
RSS is created using XML. At this point, you don’t need to know XML, but I’m mentioning this because sometimes the RSS icon is an XML icon. You will see them used interchangebly on web sites, not that this is the right thing to do, but I’ve seen it done. (e.g. )
Today we’re going to show you (average Joe) how to use this crazy thing known as RSS. It’s extremely easy and so useful you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
What Does that Mean?
First and foremost we’re going to get you familiarized with some RSS Jargon.
- Feed – The feed is the content, the information, the data.
- Feed Reader – This is the program that reads the feed, interprets the feed, and displays it in human form.
What Does a Feed Look Like?
Most feeds nowadays don’t look half bad. Popular browsers have learned the value of feeds and have taken the proactive step of displaying these pages so that they look more human.
Some example feeds for you to check out.
- Schipul Articles
- Schipul OPMLS
- Schipul LoveFest 2007 Flickr Group
A basic rss page has the content you’re looking for but it’s probably covered in weird looking code that’s not easily readable. Note that some browsers may also redirect you to a default Feed Reader.
Popular Feed Readers
So how do I do it!?
I can’t show you how to use every single feed reader out there but what I will do is show you my current favorite feed reader and you just have to trust me when I say that they all work the same for the most part.
Once you have your account you simply visit their feed reader page at http://www.google.com/reader. Their front page offers an array of options. The easiest way to get started is to look at their list of already chosen feeds and simply select those which interest you. They have a very nice assortment.
Now if you have a unique website that you enjoy visiting you can simply visit that website and click on the RSS icon which is usually orange (but doesn’t have to be) and contains the words RSS. (e.g. ) You then copy the URL and simply paste it in the “Add Subscription” part of your Google reader, and don’t forget to click the “Add” button.
Tada, that’s it. You are now “subscribed” to this website. Which means that your feed reader will get information from this website and hold it for you so that you may view only the newest information whenever you’re ready.
Tidbit: Some smarter websites allow you to subscribe by copying and pasting their homepage URL. Try it: http://www.schipul.com
Other RSS Readers
RSS Readers come in two forms. There are your online Feed Readers and your Desktop Feed Readers. They’re both very useful in their own way.
The Desktop Feed Readers usually have a lot more options when it comes to sorting, arranging, and over all management of your feeds. They also have the ability to download the content for offline reading (i.e. you don’t have to be connected to the net to read your feeds)
Online Feed Readers usually don’t have that many features when it comes to feed management, but I tend to stick with the online services because they can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer. I move around a lot, with school, work, home, and my notebook so it’s just more convenient for me.
RSS Help Files
You should also check out our help files for more on RSS.