RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”, and it is a standard, public format designed for sharing headlines and the content of web sites (previously known as the RDF Site Summary).
But RSS feeds are not just for news anymore. Almost anything that can be organized into smaller items can be then syndicated through an RSS feed.
Overview of RSS:
In many ways, it is similar to newsletters that web sites offer to keep viewers updated. The substantial difference is that this system does not require users to provide their e-mail addresses since it offers a direct channel to the information.
An RSS feed is a lightweight XML (Extensible Markup Language) web page that contains a list of items (each identified by a link) such as the headline, date/time and a description of new item published.
When syndicating news headlines, for instance, those fields can be used for the story title and the summary.
RSS started in the world of blogs. Its objective was to help people reading too many blogs to organize their information, especially blog creators, who found it hard to keep updated since it implied a hard routine. They had to visit those pages every day using their web browsers. Their wish was to find an easy and simple way to check if there was any new content on their blogs. Once RSS was created, the problem was solved.
Since it’s inception in 1997, RSS has evolved into a popular format of sharing content between sites (including sites such as CNN, BBC, Disney, Apple iTunes and many more). Some experts think it has one of the most popular formats for distributing news headlines on the Web.
Today, there are more than seven hundred thousands websites utilizing RSS feeds. It’s popularity is due to this fact: RSS is a simple XML document, easy to generate and light to transport. It can be used for many different objectives, it grows easily and everybody can use it.
In other words, RSS is an excellent ally for those people who want to be updated by multiple on
-line sources and who wish to find their overwhelming amount of information organized in a simple and automated way.
How RSS Works:
Here’s how it works: The web site makes an RSS feed, or channel, available for viewing, just like any other file on the server. In order to read this information, you need to install software called an RSS reader on your computer. Then you connect this software to the RSS feeds for your favorite pages and click update in your RSS reader. This way, the program checks the RSS feeds and tells you what is new on your selected sites.
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