What is RSS?
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. It refers to a web format containing data from different sites which are constantly or regularly updated. Web formats may be in the form of breaking news feeds, new blogsite entries, and updated video or audio files – all in one standard form. A typical RSS document is usually called a “web feed”. For the site publishers, RSS feeds benefit them because of automatic content syndication. For the users or readers, RSS feeds not only give updates to preferred sites but also give out information on an aggregate basis. Meaning, RSS feeds will contain all info from different preferred sites in just one document or feed.
RSS formats are based on XML and require “readers” for usage. RSS readers are sometimes called “aggregators” as they aggregate data from a variety of sources. These RSS readers are software that needs to be installed on the user’s computers. Some readers are specific to a particular platform while others work on a variety of operating systems and platforms. Popular readers include Amphetadesk which works for Windows and Mac OS, FeedReader, and NewsGator. If a particular user already has a RSS reader, then he/she can now choose the sites that offer RSS feeds. And once RSS has now the list of sites, it will constantly check on them for “new feeds”. Content from different sites on the list will then be aggregated to become the “RSS feed”.
In the user’s point of view, having RSS feeds is more convenient than manually going through each website of choice to check for updates. With RSS, every update will automatically be checked and the user will just retrieve the feed as needed. It also ensures more privacy as users do not need to register in different sites anymore just to get updates and newsletters. For publishers, RSS feeds help them spread news and developments more quickly to their target customers and users.
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