Enhanced web hosting and web design through the use of RSS XML Services


RSS is the acronym of a family of web feed formats. Specifically, it is of XML dialects for Web syndication used by (among other things) news websites and weblogs. The abbreviation is used to refer to the following standards:

  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)
  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
Web feeds in general allow Internet users to subscribe to websites; these are typically sites that change or add content regularly. To use this technology, site owners create or obtain specialized software (such as a content management system) which, in the machine-readable XML format, presents new articles in a list, giving a line or two of each article and a link to the full article or post. Unlike subscriptions to many printed newspapers and magazines, most RSS subscriptions are free.

Web feeds in general provide web content or summaries of web content together with links to the full versions of the content, and other meta-data. RSS in particular, delivers this information as an XML file called an RSS feed, webfeed, RSS stream, or RSS channel. In addition to facilitating syndication, web feeds allow a website's frequent readers to track updates on the site using an aggregator.

The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a W3C-recommended general-purpose markup language for creating special-purpose markup languages, capable of describing many different kinds of data.

It is a simplified subset of SGML. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the sharing of data across different systems, particularly systems connected via the Internet. Languages based on XML (for example, Geography Markup Language (GML), RDF/XML, RSS, MathML, Physical Markup Language (PML), XHTML, SVG, MusicXML and cXML) are defined in a formal way, allowing programs to modify and validate documents in these languages without prior knowledge of their form.

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Web feeds are widely used by the weblog community to share the latest entries' headlines or their full text, and even attached multimedia files. (See podcasting, vodcasting, broadcasting, screencasting, Vloging, and MP3 blogs.) In mid 2000, use of RSS spread to many of the major news organizations, including Reuters, CNN, and the BBC. These providers allow other websites to incorporate their "syndicated" headline or headline-and-short-summary feeds under various usage agreements. RSS is now used for many purposes, including marketing, bug-reports, or any other activity involving periodic updates or publications.

A program known as a feed reader or aggregator can check webpages on behalf of a user and display any updated articles that it finds. It is common to find web feeds on major Web sites, as well as many smaller ones. Some websites let people choose between RSS or Atom formatted web feeds; others offer only RSS or only Atom.

Client-side readers and aggregators are typically constructed as standalone programs or extensions to existing programs like web browsers. Browsers are moving toward integrated feed reader functions, such as Opera browser and Mozilla Firefox. Such programs are available for various operating systems. See list of news aggregators.