What is RSS?


128pxfeedicon If you’re reading this blog and you don’t know what RSS is, it’s time to find out. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows website visitors to automatically receive updates via specialized software known as a Feed Reader. Depending on the site, these updates can include the title, author and summary of new postings or articles. The update will sometimes contain an image that goes along with the article, but they always contain a hyperlink that lets you read the full article on the site you subscribed to.

To subscribe to a site using RSS, you must first choose a Feed Reader (see below). Depending on the reader you choose, simply clicking on the link (usually something that says "subscribe to this blog" or "subscribe via RSS or XML") will be enough to subscribe you to that site. Alternatively, you may need to copy the link’s URL (Windows users can right click on the link and choose "copy shortcut") and paste it into the appropriate field within your reader.

More on Feed Readers

As of the writing of this article, there are literally hundreds of Feed Readers to choose from. Some are web-based and can be accessed from any computer with a browser and an internet connection. Others can be downloaded and installed on your computer. There are benefits to both types depending on your needs. Web-based readers are available anytime, anywhere, but may offer limited control over the sorting, display and frequency of update times. Installed readers can be powerful tools that let you manage multiple site subscriptions and give you plenty of display choices, however these readers are only accessible from the computer you installed them on.

Click here for a list of installed Feed Readers

Click here for a list of web-based Feed Readers

If you are a frequent visitor to Sympatico / MSN you may prefer to use the feed aggregation function that is built-in to MyMSN.

Anytime you see this icon Add To MyMSNyou can click it to instantly add a site’s feed to your MyMSN page. Users of Windows Live can use this link: Add to Windows Live

For people who use Internet Explorer as their browser, you might want to check out version 7, which includes the ability to determine if a web site has a RSS feed, and of course offers you the option to subscribe.

For more information on RSS and feed reader software, check out the following resources:

Defintion of feed reader (aggregator) from Wikipedia

What is RSS, from XML.com

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8 comments

  1. Terry

    Some folks are missing the value I have just discouvered in this service.
    It's a geat tool to reconnect and suss out the folks you held dear years ago.
    Younger people may be looking for that "instant gratificaton" thing that plagues them.
    People like myself, who have lived and been separated over time from good friends and family, see the value of short visits, and it's use, not abuse of the program.
    I live a balanced life, work out , travel , maintain relationships, but this is a good thing, and when the older generation like myself catch on, that growth will take off in earnest. You have yet to see the true extent of what this will be!

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