Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What is RSS?

While this blog is predominantly aimed at people who would like to publish digital content using RSS, there may be a few of you who do not know what it is. This posting is a brief intro to RSS.

RSS originally stood for Really Simple Syndication, but is sometimes referred to as Rich Site Summary. Simply put, RSS is a means of defining a digital content feed that people can subscribe to or opt out of whenever they feel like. As well, assuming you have permission, you can syndicate someone else's RSS feed on your web site. The "Simple" aspect earns its moniker for two reasons. Firstly, RSS makes it is easy to syndicate your content. Secondly, the actual feed content consists of predefined "markup text" very similar to HTML tags, but which is actually a derivative of XML. [If you are not familiar with either HTML or XML, you may want to at least pick up and skim a beginner's book on HTML before continuing here.]

RSS is considered a "pull" technology because subscribers request the information by actively requesting and reading your RSS feed content. Compare this to email, which is a "push" technology because it can be sent to people whether they want it or not.

RSS is not a replacement to email, as we'll see in a later posting.

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