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What is RSS feed?


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rcronin

 
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Okay, I admit it. I can't for the life of me figure out what RSS feed is. I finally subscribed to the mac-forums one about 5 minutes ago. And now I see it on me bookmark menu. So what's the deal. It looks like a list of all the recent threads. Then I have to click one one to see what's going on in it?

I'm a bit lost as to the huge benefit of this.

So, please enlighten me. Or send me to an link that will.

THANKS!

Becky
Web & Graphic Designer, LLL Leader, teacher (in my previous life; pre-kids) and Mama to my two daughters (who think the Apple booty is theirs)
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kman445

 
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RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts.
Users of RSS content use programs called feed 'readers' or 'aggregators': the user 'subscribes' to a feed by supplying to their reader a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user's subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user.
The initials "RSS" are variously used to refer to the following standards:
Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0)
RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
RSS formats are specified in XML (a generic specification for data formats). RSS delivers its information as an XML file called an "RSS feed", "webfeed", "RSS stream", or "RSS channel".

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rcronin

 
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So I need to get a reader, right? Not just subscribe.

BTW, NICE pict in your profile! I've been collecting picts of trees for my website. Is that yours or did you buy it? I got mine all off of istockphoto.

Becky
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cazabam

 
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There are a bunch of readers available. I use Shrook. It lets you subscribe to a whole bunch of RSS feeds and will show you a short text preview. You can then select them and the entire article or, optionally, the linked web page will display in the 3rd pane. It's like textual podcasts, really
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kilo15

 
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I am in the same boat.
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rcronin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cazabam View Post
It's like textual podcasts, really
...and I have NO idea what textual podcasts are either. I'm behind the times a bit, huh?

Becky
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djames42

 
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Yeah, RSS feeds are baffling -- until you find out how useful they are

You don't need a separate reader if you've got Tiger, as RSS is built-in to Safari 2. A lot of people complain that Safari's support is very limited, and the fact that I find it adequate probably means my understanding of the capabilities of RSS is limited!

Here's one of the ways I use RSS...

Bring up a news site, such as cnn.com. At the right side of the address bar you'll see a blue "RSS" icon. You also may see them embedded in the site, often times tied to a specific feed (such as Entertainment News, or Travel News). Instead of a blue RSS icon, you may see an orange square icon with three white semi-circles, or a rectangular icon that says "XML"

Click on one of those, then bookmark it.

Go to another news site, such as bbc.co.uk -- bookmark one of its XML/RSS feeds. Add a few from the New York Times, Washington Post, and any other sites that have news of interest. Now organize your bookmarks, create a news folder, and add all of these RSS subscriptions into that bookmark. Drag the folder to Safari's bookmarks bar.

Select the news folder, and then select "View all RSS articles" You now have all of your news on a single web page. On the right-hand side is a search box. Now type in something such as "London" or "Apple". You now have a page full of news headlines about London or Apple (or both if you want). You can now even select "Bookmark this Search" from the action bar on the right, and any time you want to see news about Apple combined from a multitude of sources, just click on this bookmark.

Don't forget to select some of the options on the RSS tab of Safari's preferences.

There are also various other ways of reading RSS feeds. I have a few widgets that pull information from various feeds. There may even be growl notifications that can be set to alert you when there's new news.

I'm sure others here can give some even better ideas about creative uses of RSS.

Saying an RSS feed is like a textual podcast is really kind of backwards. Podcasts are really audio RSS feeds, since the method of delivery is based on the same technique.

Hope this helps, and hasn't simply confused the issue even more!

BTW, in my Safari browser are the following RSS subscription categories: Friends Blogs (with a single click I can see what all my friends are up to), News (detailed with way too much verbosity above), Apple (News from a few Apple-specific websites), A real-estate feed (keeping an eye on housing in Seattle), cycle information from craigslist (so I can see what's for sale and search it offline easily).

Any time you see that "RSS" icon in your address bar, you've got a page that can be viewed as an RSS feed by simply clicking on that icon.

Have fun!

P.S. If you don't have Safari, you can check out NetNewsWire Lite. It's a free RSS subscription tool. They have a paid version with more features...
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rcronin

 
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Thanks. That was very helpful and really not too verbose (sp?) at all. I'll have to work on it a bit. I have Safari, but just add Foxfire and am trying to fix that up (customize it a bit). I guess tomorrow. I'm whipped.

Becky
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kkrog

 
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You might want to try out Google Reader for your RSS-feeds.
You can see a video presentation here:
<http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/technology/1210/google-reader-demonstrated>
Greetings
Klaus
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cazabam

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcronin View Post
...and I have NO idea what textual podcasts are either. I'm behind the times a bit, huh?
Heh, I just meant that where podcasts let you subscribe to audio, RSS lets you subscribe to text.
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Alexis

 
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It's still just easier to keep the news websites in your bookmarks IMO!!
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That was a beautifully succint explanation.
Send me the manual you are no doubt writing.
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