RSS Can Boost Web Sites Appeal

 
 
By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-04-21
 
 
 

What is RSS, and why should you be interested in it?

You should care about RSS if a) youre interested in regularly updated newsfeeds from around the Web a la the old PointCast; b) youd like to add syndicated content from news sites and blogs to your Web site; or c) you want to make it possible for sites to syndicate your content—thus driving more traffic your way—and for visitors to see updated headlines in a newsreader.

RSS isnt new. It was created in 1999 by Netscape to enable easy site summaries using RDF (Resource Description Framework) tags. During that time, RSS has stood for Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication and now RDF Site Summary.

RSS is easy to use. Simply create an XML file and then define links from your site using simple tags such as , and .

Any basic HTML coder should be able to create an RSS file. If your site is dynamic, you can find examples of scripts that will generate RSS files. In addition, most portal and content management applications have an option to automatically generate RSS files.

If youre not looking to create RSS content but simply want to find news and other feeds in RSS, go to www.syndic8.com, which collects a number of feeds from all over the Web.

A feed of eWeek headlines can be found at rssnewsapps.ziffdavis.com/tech.xml (see screen).

There are a number of reader applications that make it possible to view and manage a large number of RSS feeds on your desktop. A list of these readers can be found at blogspace.com/rss/readers.

For more information about RSS itself, go to www.oreillynet.com/rss.

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