What is RSS?
RSS is short for Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. Normally referred to as an RSS Feed it is a way of distributing content information (usually blog/news headlines). RSS is one the latest buzzwords flying around the internet, constantly referred to, but hardly ever explained its use. As a blogger (or even someone that reads blogs), it is important to understand RSS and how it can make your internet experience more enjoyable.
What?! Simply put, RSS files or feeds provide news updates from a website in a simple form for display on your computer. You read these files in a program called an aggregator, which collects news from various websites and provides it to you in a simple to read form. SO the RSS feeds are used to distribute information from blogs (like this one) to people who want the information, like you!
By requesting the appropriate RSS feed, you the end user can quickly find out the latest information posted on a website, like this one!
An aggregator (also known as a feed reader, reader, or RSS reader) makes this whole process even easier by accumulating RSS feeds for you, and distributing that information to you as you want. Some require a program to be uploaded, some do daily emails, and others integrate right into your browser. We have a list of some available aggregators listed below.
In the end, RSS is about distributing content quickly and easily. It also increases efficiency – instead of having to visit a site every day, by using RSS, you can automate the process and be notified when an update occurs.
How about an example to make it all make sense?
Lets say you are a fan of five different blogs (including this one). You may end up wasting a lot of time visiting the other four blogs. So you turn to an RSS feed aggregator, and add the RSS feeds of all five blogs. Now the reader will check the RSS feeds for each site, and notify you when there is an update to the content!
Here is a list of RSS aggregators that you might find helpful:
Check all your feeds from any web browser.
Plus, vote on items and get recommendations about other feeds you’ll like.
Web: Google Reader
Check all your feeds from any web browser using your iGoogle page.
Mac OS X: NetNewsWire
This elegant Mac-like aggregator is easy to use and powerful.
Simple, but gets the job done.
The best aggregator for GNOME.
A news aggregator you access through a web browser. (Mac/Win/Linux)
A more complicated aggregator for Windows. (Win)
Like SharpReader, but sporadically updated. (Win)
Read the news from within Microsoft Outlook. (Win)
Based on Scopeware technology. (Win)
Lets you create your own customized news page with feeds from the sites you’re interested in. (Web)
A smart headline viewer and news ticker that can also process almost any website. (Win)
A full-stregth news-reading application, on your desktop. (Mac/Win)
Reads RSS feeds and sends each new item to you as an email. (Unix)
Displays RSS feeds in an Outlook-like interface. (Mac/Win/Lin)