Saturday, June 17, 2006

Layman's Intro to RSS

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary) feed is [free] syndicated news, blog or other content that anyone can access and use. It's based on the XML standard. There are also similar forms, such as Atom. A typical feed URL looks like (also, /feedname.rss, /rss.xml, /atom.xml, or /feedname.rdf). My feed URL is

To read numerous RSS feeds without scouring the Internet for each feed, you can use a feed aggregator. A feed aggregator does exactly what it implies, it gathers and aggregates multiple RSS feeds into one location for easy viewing and so forth. There are a ton of aggregators. Google has their own called Google Reader, and you can use Google's Personalized Home page, as well. I have an account with Bloglines that does the same thing. Other notable aggregators that come to mind, both downloadable and web-based, are NewsGator, My Yahoo! and Rojo.

So I can bring up one website or program and quickly scan the articles, blog entries and news from as many different websites as I want. Instead of individually going to,, (a favorite of mine),, etc., and trying to sort through their websites for current articles, I can go to, or, and view all of them in one place!

Its popularity is currently skyrocketing, and for good reason. Add RSS feeds and feed aggregators to the abundance of opt-in email newsletters, and you have personalized, targeted news and web content delivered directly to you for access when you want it.


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