Thursday, February 16, 2006

RSS: Web Syndication Part 1

RSS RSS: The Web's Next Big Thing..
Hang on to your hats boys and girls, because your experience of the World Wide Web is about to change!

What is RSS?
"RSS" stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.
RSS means to get latest updates on sites, blogs or news headlines as they released without going to the site and check it.

Think about all of the information that you access on the Web on a day-to-day basis; news headlines, search results, what’s new, job vacancies, and so forth. A large amount of this content can be thought of as a list.

Most people need to track a number of these lists, but it becomes difficult once there are more than a handful of sources. This is because they have to go to each page, load it, remember how it’s formatted, and find where they last left off in the list.

RSS is an XML-based format that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, or metadata, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link.

To enable this, a Web site will make a feed, or channel, available, just like any other file or resource on the server. Once a feed is available, computers can regularly fetch the file to get the most recent items on the list. Most often, people will do this with an aggregator, a program that manages a number of lists and presents them in a single interface.

Feeds can also be used for other kinds of list-oriented information, such as syndicating the content itself (often weblogs) along with the links.

Web pages are getting smarter than they used to be. More of your favorite sites are making content summaries and updates available for syndication, just like the syndicated advice columns in your newspaper. Only this kind of syndication is free and "really simple." It is called "RSS" for "really simple syndication."

That means you can download a free or low-cost news feed reader[aggregator] and "subscribe" to a number of your favorite Web sites. You might have seen odd little orange "XML" rectangles on some sites. The URL when you click on the rectangle is the address of the news feed.

What is RSS News Aggregator?
A news aggregator is a software application or remotely hosted service that collects syndicated content from disparate sources and provides a single consolidated view. These applications can also be commonly referred to as a feed reader, feed aggregator or simply just an aggregator.

Why Use an RSS Aggregator?
For anyone that reads a half dozen or more pages that have RSS feeds, an aggregator is a necessity. RSS aggregators are set up to periodically check for new items in the feeds you are subscibed to, commonly once every hour. In other words, the news comes to you, rather than you having to go to the news. This saves a tremendous amount of time. Or conversely, you can read many more feeds in the same amount of time. Many people read several hundred feeds. That just wouldn't be feasible without an RSS aggregator. Additionally, you avoid all the non-new information on a web page, including the ads, menus, etc.

to be continued in part 2..

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