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ABC's of RSS
ABCs of RSS....
By Sharon Housley
Implementing RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
can be aided by an understanding of the terms relating
to RSS. Learn the ABCs of RSS....
A - AutoDiscovery
Auto Discovery is code that is inserted
into the header of an HTML web page, which then indicates
to readers that an RSS feed is available for the content.
B - Blogs
Blogs are web logs that are updated regularly,
usually on a daily basis. Blogs generally contain information
related to a specific topic. In some cases, blogs are
used as daily diaries about people's personal lives,
political views, or even as social commentaries. The
truth of the matter is that blogs can be shaped into
whatever the author wants them to be. While initially
thought of as diaries or online journals, blogs have
evolved into the latest fresh web content.
C - Cache
Cache is a temporary storage area for
frequently-accessed or recently-accessed data. Having
certain data stored in a cache area speeds up the operation
of the computer. Using a cache with RSS feeds will help
minimize bandwidth and display an RSS feed's content
D - Display
RSS Many webmasters post the content of
an RSS feed on their website. They use either PHP, ASP,
feed's content will dynamically update as the content
of the feed changes.
E - Elements
Within an RSS feed, there are various
feed elements. The elements of an RSS feed are defined
F - Filter
Many RSS feeds contain duplicate or similar
content. Publishers can filter RSS feeds so that they
only see content that they wish to see, by filtering
out duplicate postings.
G - GUID
GUID stands for Globally Unique IDentifier.
The RSS specification strongly suggests that each RSS
feed item have a unique GUID. If you are creating feeds,
a GUID is important because GUIDs are often used by
feed readers and aggregators to determine if a feed
item is new or simply an existing item that has been
updated. Each item in the RSS feed should have a unique
H - HTML
HTML, which is the acronym for HyperText
Markup Language, is frequently used to design websites.
I - iTunes Namespace
The iTunes Namespace allows the user to
add the information necessary to have a podcast listed
K - Keywords
Keywords should be integrated into the
RSS feed to help search engines determine what the RSS
feed is about.
L - Links
Links are used to direct RSS readers to
the original webpage containing information that directly
relates to the feed.
M - Mashup
A mashup is a combination of multiple
RSS feeds that have been merged together to create a
new, single feed.
N - Namespace Extensions
The RSS specification allows you to create
and use your own custom elements (tags) in any RSS feed
by declaring your own namespace. Doing this is 100%
in line with the RSS specification and the feed will
validate. However, you should have a specific and well-planned
reason to do so. No RSS readers, or other RSS processing
applications, will be able to use your custom info for
any purpose. Adding elements (tags) would typically
be used only in an in-house situation where both the
writing application and the reading application have
prior knowledge of the new tags.
O - OPML
OPML, or Outline Processor Markup Language,
is a file format standard that can be used to exchange
subscription lists between programs. OPML is used as
a standard to import or export groups of RSS feed subscriptions.
OPML was initially designed by Radio UserLand as a file
format for outlines. The purpose of this format is to
provide a way to exchange information between outliners
and Internet services. OPML has since been adopted for
other uses, the most common being to exchange lists
of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators. OPML is an open
format, allowing other services to extend the format.
While OPML was not initially designed as a vehicle to
share RSS feeds, it has become the de facto standard.
OPML, like RSS, is based on RSS, and because of the
similarities, those familiar with RSS have embraced
OPML as a way to share RSS feed collections
P - Podcasting
Podcasting is online audio content that
is delivered via an RSS feed. Many people equate podcasting
to radio on demand. However, in reality, podcasting
gives the listener far more options than radio does,
in terms of content and programming. In addition, podcast
listeners can determine their own time and the place
for listening, meaning they decide what programming
they want to receive, and when they want to listen to
it. Listeners can retain audio archives to listen to
later, at their leisure. While blogs have turned many
bloggers into journalists, podcasting has the potential
to turn podcasters into radio personalities.
Q - Query
Webmasters can create RSS feeds based
on search queries for their websites.
R - RSS
RSS is a standard format for syndicating
content on the Internet. The content can be anything!
Information contained in an RSS feed is often syndicated
on other sites, which expands its reach. Website visitors
love RSS because they choose which feeds they wish to
subscribe to. If at any point they are unhappy with
the content contained in the RSS feed, they simply unsubscribe
and no longer receive notification of feed updates.
RSS is really a win-win for both subscribers and publishers.
In order to get a better understanding of how RSS works,
download an RSS reader or use a web aggregator and subscribe
to an RSS feed (they are usually indicated by a small
S - Syndication
Syndication is the supply of material
for reuse and integration with other material.
T - Template
Many webmasters use templates to layout
the contents of their RSS feed and make it match there
U - URL
URLs can be embedded into the description
of the RSS feed items, so that when the feed is syndicated,
the content originator gains backlinks.
Feed validation is important. If a feed
is not properly formed, it will not always be valid
W - Website
Updates RSS feeds can be set up to notify
visitors when a website changes.
X - XML
RSS is a subset of XML, or eXtensible
Y - Yahoo Answers
Yahoo's interactive system of questions
and answers can be tracked using RSS feeds. You can
create keyword or category feeds for anything in Yahoo
Z - Zero Feeds
Not having RSS feeds for your website
puts you at a competitive disadvantage. RSS feeds bring
traffic and help the stickiness of your website.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
audio recording and editing software.
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