Friday, July 29, 2005


By now you are probably wondering what kind of information you can publish via RSS Feed. The rule of thumb is that RSS content should be linear in structure, with each item in the feed essentially independent of other items. If there is any sort of hierarchy implied, then the information is not ideal for RSS. RSS feeds essentially contain "headlines" and a brief description per headline. Select a headline one at a time in an RSS Reader application and you will see the brief description for that headline or "story". If there are further details, a link from the description takes you to a web page with greater detail.

Fortunately, there is a vast amount of information that fits a "linear" structure. However, there is a misconception that RSS feeds contain only fresh, daily updates of information, such as news, weather, or sports. While RSS feeds are more likely to carry regularly updated content, they can also carry "static" content. A few examples of either type are listed below:

Examples of Static or Infrequently-Updated Information
1. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), provided that the list is mature
2. Information about old TV Shows
3. Details about existing insurance policies
4. Company policies for employees
5. Static collection of media files such as photos, interviews, audio. (This case is more likely to appear in the next list.)

Examples of Frequently Updated Information
1. News, weather, sports
2. Information about new TV Shows
3. Store or office locations
4. Internal job listings
5. Public/external job listings
6. City council general announcements, meetings, water usage warnings, garbage pickup changes, bus route changes, public events
7. Crime scene information and subsequent arrest details
8. Apartment listings
9. Births and deaths (publisher: hospitals and/or funeral homes)

These are just a few examples of the uses of RSS. (Many of these examples may include maps as a supplement to the text information.) The point being made here is that regardless of what industry you are in, you very likely to have some information that can be massaged into an RSS feed. Your target audience may be a very focused group of people (for example, industry salespeople) or the general public.

We will explore examples more in-depth in future postings.

(c) Copyright 2005 Raj Kumar Dash,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home