What is RSS? A Bit of Background

About RSS

RSS defines three different things. Originally RSS (RDF Site Summary RSS 0.9) was developed by Dan Libby for Netscape. Simpler and easier-to-use versions i.e., Rich Site Summary or RSS 0.91 was produced after a couple of months. Due to loss of interest the owner of this was not specified. Since RSS was widely in use by many users, Winer developed adapted version of RSS 0.91 for Userland, claiming it as his own. Later in 2005, Microsoft developed Really Simple Syndication in relation to its Simple Sharing Extensions.

What is RSS?

For syndication content and news in the web RSS XML file format is used. Websites and web blogs such as (CNN, BBC etc.) which constantly need to update their content use RSS file format’s is widely used in Marketing, web publications and virus reports for providing more web traffic to ones webpage. Most large and small websites today, are RSS-enabled.

For example, you’re an avid fan of cricket and you want to share something recent about one of the players. You can also attach multimedia files, like videos or pictures other than content. With the use of RSS feeds, other Internet users subscribed to RSS-enabled sites can read your “headline” for free. Changes and updates can also be traced with the help of news aggregators which will be discussed later.

How does RSS work?

To use RSS, you first have to download a software (content management system), by which XML format can be read. The title and, excerpt of the article, and a link to the full article are shown. User can also insert multimedia files in RSS feeds like pictures, videos, mp3s and others rather than inserting only text. Features like Broad catching, picture casting, photo casting, and pod casting can also be incorporated in your feed.

To access RSS feed users need an aggregator of a feed reader. An aggregator searches for updates on RSS-enabled webpages then displays it. Based on the operation system used aggregator can be either a standalone program or a web browser extension. Search engines for web content broadcasted over RSS feed are also available such as Plazoo and Feedster.

How can I make an RSS feed?

It is definitely easier to make an RSS feed if you know HTML. If not, you could sign up for a blog (there are hundreds out there), some of which automatically creates RSS. If one’s using personal webpage building system, one needs to understand more about RSS. Making an RSS feed from scratch is relatively easy.

A RSS feed should always contain an “item”, whichever version of RSS you might use. If you wrote about a recent event in your city or a book review, the contents of this article can form an item. An item is essentially composed of three things: a title, its description, and link (where they can find your webpage). In choosing a title and description, use something that will describe the web content best. Although it will be easier for you, it doesn’t follow that the title tag of your webpage and the item title are the same.

An item will look like HTML tags. First, you need to put an opening channel tag that defines it as an XML file. Then, label the tag as an item by putting after the channel tag. After this, you can now insert the three essentials of your item: title, description, and link. Just like HTML, we need to close the tag by writing /channel and /rss at the bottom.

Now, if you’re still having a hard time understanding these tags, look for HTML tags tutorial to further grasp the concept. Have fun!

About the Author: Mike is a post graduate and is associated with medical transcription, medical billing services and development of MDCare EMR. Please visit our websites http://www.vinfonet.com and http://www.mdcareplus.com for further details.

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Search Engine Specialist - 12 year veteran SEO with multiple top 20 ComScore properties publishing experience. Enterprise level across international, mobile, and social media spheres. Advisor to startups for pre-launch optimization and ongoing SEO consulting.

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