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A Rough Guide To RSS Aggregators

April 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 202

RSS or Really Simple Syndication formerly known as Rich Site Summary makes it possible for users to create an organized list of news headlines and periodic updates from other internet sources.

This is great for those that visit a lot of websites whose content is continually changing such as news sites, medical websites, product support pages and magazine blogs. As time pressure limits the amount of time one can spend on the internet it has become very important to get rid of the very tedious task of repeatedly returning to each website for updated content.

RSS easily distributes information from different websites to a broad spectrum of internet users. There are special programs that use RSS to source blog and website updates organising the content for easy reading. It allows computers to automatically retrieve and read content users are interested in, whist tracking the changes to further personalize the list.

The specially made programs called RSS aggregators were created to automatically find and retrieve the RSS feeds of websites previously selected by the user by acting in a similar way to a web browser. The difference is that the aggregator is browsing RSS feeds rather than websites. HTML presents information directly to users and RSS automatically lets computers talk with one another.

While users are busy using browsers to surf the internet enabling them to load and view each page of interest, RSS aggregators keep track of website changes and updates.

So How Does It Work

The title or description of an RSS feed are links themselves and can be used to load the page required by the user. RSS starts with an original or source website that has had its content made available by the sites webmaster. The website creates an RSS document and then registers it with an RSS publisher that allows other websites to syndicate the documents. The website also creates an RSS feed that is available along with all other resources and documents on the particular web server. The website will then register the feed as an RSS document, with a listed directory of RSS publishers.

Usually an RSS feed is made up of website content that is listed from newest to oldest. Each item consists of a simple title description, along with a summary and a link to the webpage containing the content described.

In some instances the short description or title is all the user will want to read, a good example of this being the results of a sporting event or stock market updates. This means that it is not even necessary to have a web page associated with the content as sometimes the information the users require is in the title or the summary.

The RSS content is located in a file on a web page in a similar manner to normal web pages; the major difference is that the information is written in the XML code used by an RSS aggregator and not by a web browser like a normal HTML web page.

RSS syndication consists of an originating source and a receiving client. The client part of the RSS publishing gathers and uses the RSS feed, this is usually done by a web browser along with a desktop aggregator program. Once the URL or source of an RSS feed is known the user can give the URL address to an aggregator program and have the RSS aggregator monitor the RSS feed for changes. There are numerous aggregators available that have been preconfigured with the most popular news and information sites and these can be easily adapted to a user's preference with a few clicks of a mouse.

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Source: EzineArticles
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