A gentle introduction to RSS

Last Updated: January 12, 2005

View this page as series of slides through the magic of xslt.

  1. Goals for Session:
    1. What is RSS? xml rss   rss.gif
    2. Why is RSS useful?
    3. How to get started using RSS
  2. RSS Definition

    RSS is an acronym for "Really Simple Syndication" or perhaps "Rich Site Summary" depending on who you ask. It is a simple XML format (RDF) that can be produced and read easily by programs.

    Example of an 'item' in an RSS feed:

    <title>Barbarians Attack Rome!</title>
    <description>Rome Attacked by Barbarians</description>
    <dc:date>410-01-07 20:01</dc:date>
    <p>Today, Aleric the Visigoth and his troops entered the imperials city of Rome. Aleric is quoted as saying...

    Several formats exists for newsfeeds, RSS versions 0.9, 1.0, and 2.0. In addition a new format, Atom, is competing to be the standard.

  3. Why is RSS useful?

    It's all about getting timely information to the public. Currently this is done by visiting a site's web page, but people may forget to visit some of their web sites. Email newsletters have been popular but are having issues now.

    Yahoo's latest story on RSS says:.

    "If you're not reading it in RSS you're wasting your time," declaimed Microsoft's blogging evangelist, Robert Scoble, who says he subscribes to nearly 1,300 feeds.
    RSS has been called the TiVo of the Web, the first "killer app" of the anticipated automation of social and commercial transactions online using the Web's second-generation XML (extensible markup language) standard.

  4. RSS Publishers

    Anyone who wants to publish timely information could benefit from syndicating an RSS feed. Many bloggers, news sites, and companies have RSS feeds.

  5. RSS Readers (a.k.a. "news aggregator")
    1. Client based (See here for more detailed list)
      1. For the PC with .Net SharpReader is very popular since its free, but requires the .Net framework.
      2. RSS Bandit is also very popular.
      3. Shrook is a good RSS reader for the Mac.
      4. NewsGator runs inside Microsoft Outlook.
    2. Web based
      1. newsisfree.com.
      2. bloglines.com.
  6. Demo of using SharpReader
  7. How to Find RSS feeds
    1. Individual web sites like The Scotsman post an icon,xml rss.
    2. Search sites to find their RSS feeds with Feedster.com.
    3. DayPop's ranking of top blogs.
    4. NewsIsFree.com.
    5. Gossip's Bootleg RSS Feeds Palooza (note amazon wishlist and javascript).
    6. Radioland.
    7. Top 100 Blogs.
    8. newstrove.
  8. MetaBlog information
    1. DayPop 40 what are the most popular links embedded in blogs right now?
    2. DayPop's what are the most popular words in blogs?
    3. Search Engine for blogs.
  9. OPML - a portable directory of rss newsfeeds in xml

    My OPML.

  10. Interesting new uses for RSS
    1. Amazon's Audio Books.
    2. Ebay provides RSS feeds for key word search.
    3. Comment Spam and page rankings at Google
    4. RSS feed into your checking account? credit card?
  11. Demo of creating a new RSS story

    A little blog.

  12. Miscellaneous Links
    1. Glenn Reynold's Popular Blog
    2. Longhorn will have its own rss reader.
  13. Conclusion:

    RSS is an interesting new way to syndicate news in 2004.