RSS, at first glance, can seem confusing, frustrating and daunting. But push through, understanding and implementing RSS is hugely rewarding.
RSS is confusing because there’re 3 main angles to it.
After I understood this I sat down and learned each one in turn:
1. RSS FeedsRSS Feeds are simply lists of information from websites. Usually articles or links. This is really all there is to an RSS Feed. There’s alot of technical information and standards and things, but for now you don’t need to know where they come from, how they’re made, etc. All you need to know is that an RSS Feed is a list of articles from a website.
2. RSS Aggregator
An RSS Aggregator pulls together different RSS feeds and puts them together in one big chunky RSS feed. Think of it like a river. The smaller rivers are www.bbc.com/news, www.yahoo.com/technology and www.google.com/links (these don’t actually exist). Your RSS aggregator takes all these ‘channels’ or smaller rivers, and puts them together to create one large river, or feed.
3. Creating RSS Feeds
It starts to get a little more complicated when you want to create your own RSS Feed. If you post articles you might want to allow people to read them as RSS on their mobile or display them (with links) on their website.
To do this you simply write a little script or download one which turns your HTML into XML. Structuring it for other people to read via the previously mentioned RSS Aggregator. Now you know where RSS Feeds come from.
Other things to note:
You should also be aware there are multiple formats of RSS, and RSS files can be .txt, .rss, .xml and more. There are many different [i]standards[/i] which identify how RSS is stored and structured, and this is where alot of the confusion arises. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS for more
Displaying RSS feeds on your website is very good for Google and other search engines. Because the content on your website is changing every day, Google wants your fresh information and lists you higher up. To do this you need to write a little script (again, or download one already made), to display them. This takes the .xml, .txt or whatever, file and turns it back into HTML to display on the page.
So please, please identify which of these things you’re trying to do before diving into RSS. 6 years ago