What is RSS feed ?
Recently a friend of mine asked me that what is RSS feed , and my answer was its a way to keep up to date with the latest posts on a blog or website. But it was his next question that led to this post, he backfired with then what is a Newsletter? and how’s it different from Bookmarks?
So What is RSS feed
Well answer to what is RSS feed is simply that a RSS feed is a way to keep up to date with the latest posts on a blog or website. RSS stands for RDF Site Summary, often dubbed Really Simple Syndication. RSS documents called a “feed“, “web feed“,or “channel” and includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing date and name of author etc.
So what is difference between RSS feed and a Bookmark?
RSS is considerably a new technology that came into existence to keep track of a sites updates without actually visiting the site. RSS feeds are somewhat similar to Bookmarks just easier to manage and with a little more features. Bookmarks had certain limitations like
- you didn’t have a way to be sure that the site has updated or with the same content
- one had to manually check each Bookmark and chances were that you may forget to do so and miss some content
- managing too many Bookmarks was a clumsy task
So How is RSS feed better than Newsletter and Bookmark ?
Well we have already discussed the problems with Newsletter and Bookmark over RSS. RSS completely change the way we keep ourselves updated. Take a RSS feed more like a monthly magazine that is delivered to your doorsteps every month with the latest content. An RSS feed gets updated with every update of the corresponding site or blog. As soon as the content is published it gets listed into your RSS feed subscription and is delivered to you.It thus is far more effective and fast when compared to a newsletter which may be released at a fixed time every day or week but never as soon as the content is published.
More over to subscribe to a RSS feed you need not give your personal details like your Name and E-mail id etc to the site, thus protecting your privacy.
So What do I need to do to read an RSS feed ?
Well to read RSS feeds you need a RSS feed reader.Feed Reader is a software which will allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use.There are a lot of RSS Readers available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook).
But jus in case you don’t want to install a software,there are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.
Once you decide on your Feed reader all you have to do is to search for the appropriate RSS feed to subscribe. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.
Further Reading on What RSS is ?
Well this my attempt to tell you what RSS is for further reading here are a few interesting reads: