What is RSS – All about RSS and feed syndications

What is RSS?

“RSS” stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is basically used for publishing regular updates to web-based content. Using this format, Web publishers provide updates, such as the latest news headlines or weblog postings. Meanwhile, consumers use RSS reader applications to collect and monitor their favorite feeds in one place (RSS content from a publisher, viewed in one of these readers, is often called a “feed”).

Consumer Benefits:
RSS makes reviewing a large number of sites in a very short time possible.

Publisher Benefits:
RSS permits instant distribution of content updates to consumers through desktop applications (feed readers) and mobile devices.

Who publishes RSS feeds?

Some of the biggest names on the web now offer content using RSS feeds:

  • Yahoo!
  • BBC News Headlines
  • ABCNews
  • CNET
  • CNN
  • Amazon.com
  • Netflix
  • …and many more.

In addition, thousands of weblog authors publish feeds to keep themselves better connected to their readers, customers and critics. Blogs are a driving force behind a recent surge of interest in RSS and syndicated content.

How do I read RSS Feeds?

If you want to collect and browse feeds you have many choices, but there are two primary categories of feed reading applications: installable desktop programs and online services. There are many desktop applications for Windows and Mac OS system users, but two of our favorites are Omea Reader (Windows) and Shrook (Mac).
If you would prefer to use an online service to track and manage your feeds, you have the advantage of being able to access your feed updates anywhere you use a web browser (and in many cases, on mobile devices). Also, any upgrades or new features are added automatically. Bloglines, My Yahoo! and Google Reader are probably the three best-known examples of web-based feed reading services.

How can I publish my own RSS Feed?

If you have a website or weblog, you can add RSS syndication as a publishing option. How easy this is to accomplish depends entirely on how your site is served today. If you are using WordPress on your site, you are already serving up an RSS feed, on other platforms you will need to investigate whether your provider’s administration tools offer feed-related options or controls. Other types of websites and application platforms may require some programming skills in order to add RSS syndication capabilities.

Where is RSS headed? What is RSS going to look like in the future?

RSS is almost a mainstream technology; the popular press is all over it and consumer services are rapidly moving to integrate it into existing products. RSS will gain a whole new level of value once it moves beyond just text and links, and fewer and fewer will ask what is RSS?

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