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RSS ...what????

Have you heard the phrase RSS and wondered what it meant? Or looked on your favourite news site and seen a little graphic that looks like this

rss graphic

or like this

rss

or like this

xml graphic

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and every time you see a button like this it means you can subscribe to the content.

So why would you want to do that?

Imagine that every day you see this symbol on the sites you visit - news sites, favourite websites and , soon, this website. Because you like all these websites, you need to check every day to see if there has been new information posted - and that is inconvenient and time consuming. When you see the RSS symbol that means the information can be outputted, like a ticker tape, and if you have a "reader", also called an "aggregator" (or a ticker tape machine) you can have all that new information sent to your aggregator so you only need to visit one place to see everything new that has been posted on your favourite websites with RSS.

An aggre - what?

An aggregator is simply a tool you use to pull all this content together. There are many free aggregators on the web - bloglines.com and google reader are 2 of them (they're are many). Simply go there, set up a free account and start subscribing to blogs.

The best explanation I've ever seen for RSS was created by the folks at common craft and posted on YouTube. Here's their video - it's only a few minutes long and well worth watching.

 


If you have any questions about RSS, aggregators and blogs, post them here. I'd be happy to answer them or point you to more information.