Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What's RSS?

A comment on a previous post motivates me to post this up. Yup, blogging is not something new - lots of web-savvy people do keep online journal and share it with their friends. As blogs gain popularity, new technologies were developed to enhance it further, which leads to RSS.

The following article is adapted from Mark Daoust (see resource box below)

What is RSS?

To understand RSS (Rich Site Summary), you must be in the correct mindset. Think about the types of websites that offer RSS feeds. First, there are the news and article related websites. These make up the majority of the websites who use RSS. There are also forums, web portals, search engines, and news aggregators, to name a few. The one thing all these types of websites have in common is that they are all filled with a lot of information.

Organizing this information is the difficult part, and organizing it in a way that others can syndicate and customize the format is even more difficult. Enter RSS.

RSS organizes information within ‘tags’ or ‘labels’ and places this information into what could be considered an outline format. If you think about it, all information can be organized into separate parts. As an example, an article website is made up of articles. Each article can be considered its own part of the site. Within each article there are parts as well, such as the title of the article, a description of the article, the date the article was published, who wrote the article, and so on. What RSS does is to present these ‘parts’ in a uniform, organized format.

RSS organizes information the same way every time. An RSS feed can be broken down into a few parts. First RSS presents the header information such as the XML version and various comments. This is more for the computers than it is for the readers. Next RSS presents information about the website. The information presented here can vary, but typically there will be the name of the site, a link to the site, the webmaster’s e-mail address, and maybe the last time the feed was updated. The next part to an RSS feed is the actual content of the feed.

You can read the full article here, but it contains more technical details for webmasters on how to set up a RSS feed etc. Definitely not for non-techies like yours truly :-)

About the Author: Mark Daoust is the owner of Site Reference (http://www.site-reference.com) Marketing Articles. Thousands of marketing articles along with marketing resources and marketing forums are available.


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