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A Quiz: Test Your RSS Smarts
You think that you have mastered the art
of RSS, but how much do you really know? Take the RSS
quiz to test your knowledge of RSS.
Question: If something is in an RSS
feed, it is perfectly fine to reproduce the contents
of the feed. I mean after all RSS means really simple
Answer: No, that is not true. Regardless
of whether content is in a feed or not, the original
creator of the content has the right to restrict its
use. While most people do feel that if content is in
an RSS feed, it is available for syndication--that is
not always the case. Various groups have made efforts
to add namespaces which expand the tags used in RSS,
to define whether the content is available for syndication.
The two most notable namespaces that detail permissions
are the Creative Commons extension and the Bloglines'
Access extension. These two extensions are not yet widely
supported so it is always best to check the terms of
service associated with the feed or website to determine
if the feed is available for syndication.
Question: RSS is only for blogs right?
All blogs have RSS feeds right?
Answer: No, and No! While blogs
may have helped increase the popularity of RSS feeds,
RSS feeds are not specific to blogs. RSS feeds can be
used for any type of content not just blogs. In fact,
there are probably more RSS feeds available for non-blogs
than there are feeds for blogs. Publishers have used
RSS feeds for articles, press releases, discounts, podcasts,
calendars, alerts and the list goes on and on.
Question: When I add a new item to
the feed, do I simply edit the old .rss file or do I
create a new one?
Answer: If you are adding content
related to the theme of the original RSS feed, you should
always expand your existing RSS feed rather than creating
a new feed. Do not edit any of the RSS feed's existing
items, simply add a new item to the existing RSS feed.
Question: Can RSS Feeds be set up
for private list subscribers and what kind of security
is available for RSS feeds to support a private feed?
Answer: Yes, while there are no
provisions in the RSS 2.0 specification for passwords
or protecting files, you can use any security mechanism
available on the http server to protect the entire RSS
feed. The security options are dependent on the capabilities
of your web server.
Question: What is a feed reader?
Answer: A feed reader can also
be referred to a news aggregator. RSS feed readers come
in all shapes and sizes and are just tools that make
it easy for users to view the contents or headlines
of the RSS feeds they subscribe to. Feed readers can
be desktop applications, or web applications. Desktop
readers are programs that behave similar to an email
client, you add new feeds and when the RSS feeds you
subscribe to are updated new items appear in the RSS
reader. The web aggregators are websites that aggregate
all of your favorite feeds, the web page dynamically
updates as new items are added to the feeds you subscribe
to. Many email applications now also include the ability
to monitor RSS feeds. As the popularity of RSS increases,
the options to read and monitor feeds is expanding.
Question: Can you block a search engine
from accessing a feed?
Answer: You can use a robots.txt
to indicate to search engines that specific RSS feeds
should not be indexed. Most search engines will observe
the contents of a properly formatted robots.txt file.
Question: What is a GUID?
Answer: A GUID is a 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 different GUID.
Interested in additional RSS FAQs visit
the RSS Knowledgebase http://www.feedforall.com/knowledgebase.htm
or subscribe to the RSS knowledgebase feed http://www.feedforall.com/knowledgebase.php
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
a wireless text messaging software company.
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