RSS feeds

Here is a little more detail about RSS feeds. 

This is a little simplistic, but it does show you the purpose of RSS feeds.  RSS help you find new content on the Internet.  An RSS feed is an xml website, this means the information is not formatted to look graphically appealing but rather the format allows a computer program to read the content.  The computer program identifies the title, a summary of the content and most importantly the link to the content.  The program remembers what content you have read so it highlights new content to you.  You can quickly look at the information and see what is new to you.

There are two types of programs that normally reads RSS feeds, a feed reader and an aggregator.  A feed reader is a program that runs on your computer and reads the feeds on the Internet.  Many times these are build into your e-mail program.  Thunderbird and Outlook make your RSS feeds look like e-mail.  They will display the feed like a new e-mail account.  It will mark items that you have not read just like an e-mail message.  The other type of program is an aggregator, these are websites that display the RSS feeds.  The advantage of the aggregator is it on the Internet so you can see your feeds from any machine.  The advantage of a feed reader is it appears like an e-mail message.  I use iGoogle, iGoogle is a web home page, I can add your favorite RSS feeds.  Now every time you start your web browser you see your feeds.

The big advantage of an RSS feed is that it can not be spammed.   The reason you get spam in your e-mail is that anyone can send you an e-mail message.  No one can send you an RSS feed, you need to go to a site to get the feed.  If you do not want it , you just stop getting the feed, you are not depending on someone else removing you from a list.

RSS feeds can be very powerful, they help you find content on the Internet.


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