Monday, 23 August 2004

As a professional geek, I am often tasked with explaining RSS (which these days stands for Really Simple Syndication) to people who are either not familiar with the technology or are non-technical by nature. Typically the explanation includes some form of answer to some common questions, such as "What is it and how does it work?" combined with "What is XML?" and "Why do people use it, and why should I care?"

It's always nice to explain RSS in person (and it's much easier), but that's not always possible. For example, trying to explain RSS in an instant messenger session(which I did the other evening) can be pretty difficult. So, there are times when it's nice to have an online resource to point people to.

So, with no further delay, here is a very good, clear and simple explanation of What RSS is, what it does, how it works and pretty much anything else someone might want to know in terms of consuming RSS feeds, all explained in plain English for the common-folk:

Using RSS feeds is so simple that literally anyone can do it, with just a little knowledge. If you want to consume my RSS feed, just look for the XML button marked RSS in the "Syndication" section of the side-bar (RSS 2.0) and click on it - you'll then see the raw XML RSS feed in your browser window. Don't be scared by the gobbledy-gook: The URL (web browser address) is all your RSS reader program will need to be able to use the feed from this web site.

If you have not yet found the world of RSS, download a RSS reader (to start try RSS Bandit for a free one, or FeedDemon for an inexpensive but very nice commercial RSS client), sign up for my feed (RSS 2.0) to see what it looks like, and then start looking for the RSS buttons on your favorite blogs and web sites. You will quickly find that you have been missing out on a revolutionary capability and information source, and that it's much easier than you think.

And if all else fails, send me an email and I'll be glad to explain - Send mail to the author(s)  ;-)

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RSS Stuff | Tech
Monday, 23 August 2004 19:40:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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