of RSS Feeds
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
D - Display
RSS Many webmasters post the content of an RSS feed
purposes. If done properly, the 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 by tags.
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 GUID.
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 on the Apple iTunes Music Store
of an RSS feed.
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 orange icon).
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 website.
U - URL
URLs can be embedded into the description of the RSS
feed items, so that when the feed is syndicated, the content originator
Feed validation is important. If a feed is not properly
formed, it will not always be valid for reading.
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 Markup Language.
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 Answers.
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 RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com
audio recording and editing software.