RSS Tutorial

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Although RSS is gaining a lot of traction as a tool for online publishing the vast majority of Internet users is not familiar with the technology. Below you will find the first part of a very good RSS Tutorial created by Mark Nottingham.

RSS Tutorial
Think about all of the information that you access on the Web on a day-to-day basis; news headlines, search results, “What’s New”�, job vacancies, and so forth. A large amount of this content can be thought of as a list; although it probably isn’t in HTML list elements, the information is list-oriented.
Most people need to track a number of these lists, but it becomes difficult once there are more than a handful of sources. This is because they have to go to each page, load it, remember how it’s formatted, and find where they last left off in the list.

RSS is an XML-based format that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, or metadata, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link.
This allows peoples’ computers to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists they’re interested in can be tracked and personalized for them. It is a format tha is intended for use by computers on behalf of people, rather than being directly presented to them (like HTML).

To enable this, a Web site will make a feed, or channel, available, just like any other file or resource on the server. Once a feed is available, computers can regularly fetch the file to get the most recent items on the list. Most often, people will do this with an aggregator, a program that manages a number of lists and presents them in a single interface.
Feeds can also be used for other kinds of list-oriented information, such as syndicating the content itself (often weblogs) along with the links. However, this tutorial focuses on the use of RSS for syndication of links.
You can check the full tutorial here, it has useful information even for people already using RSS.


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