What is RSS? How does it work? And how do you make one?

As I have stated in one of my previous blogs, RSS is a product of Web 2.0. RSS was first introduced by Netscape, as a way for users to find webpages more efficiently and be able to read a description of the webpage before clicking on the link, to be sure it was a good fit (Cadenhead, Rodger). As RSS became more popular, it soon became a craze that we are far from getting rid of.   RSS is an amazing tool in todays world, how it works totally facinates me.

Before the introduction to RSS, if an individual wanted to check a couple news sites and blogs before bed, he would just type in each address and scroll down the pages to see what is new.  However, as more sites showed up with loads of information, this process became very time consuming.  And may even now be seen as the “cavemans” way of doing it.  With RSS, an individual can look at one page, or even their desktop to see what is new on multiple pages at once.
What RSS does, is communicates with an aggregator set up by an individual and delivers what is new from that page, and is automatically updated on that persons account.  If you are more of a visual learner like myself, here is a link to a video that describes the processes perfectly. Video

I understood how the RSS feed worked with sites such as blogs, however with a normal webpage, I could not understand how it worked.  It felt like a smack in the head when I realized how simple creating an RSS feed was.  It really stayed true to is name, Really Simple Syndication.  Creating an RSS feed is just as simple as any coding can be.  It is a part of XML, which is HTML’s granddaughter you could say. A newer, and more advanced version.

If someone were designing a website for a golf tournament, and wanted to remind players there was only a few weeks left before the final signup date, they would post that on their webpage.  They could also put in some extra coding, so that they can alert those who have access the the RSS feed.  All they would have to do is put in a new item, and it would go to the subscribers.  Inside the RSS code the programer would then put in

<item>
<title> Sign up date </title>
<description> Sign up now! The closing date is fast approaching. </description>
<link> golfcourseexample.com</link>
</item>

It truly  is as simple as that.  The simplicity is something I find comical and extremely encouraging. Comical in a sense that hearing about it sounded very confusing and very time consuming to create.  It is encouraging knowing it is not as difficult as it seemed, and it is something anyone can create.

Sources:

What is RSS?

RSS and Live Webfeeds

RSS Basics

RSS manual feed

Can of Worms: Created RSS

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