by Stephanie Poll
I love researching new ideas and eventually being able to implement them to see what I’ve learned. My newest task and challenge? RSS. I really had no idea what RSS entailed when I first began, except that it stood for Really Simple Syndication. I set out on my search to find what exactly was behind those three words. What I found was initially over my head; however, with persistent research and lots of reading, I found that RSS can really be ‘simple.’ And not only that, it can be a really valuable tool for both the avid web publisher and the internet news reader.
For avid web publishers, whether through a personal or company website or blog, RSS allows you to share the updated content on your site without having to worry about sending out those bulky e-mails or newsletters announcing that you have new information. Instead, as long as your audience has a news reader and is subscribed to your RSS feed, they will automatically receive the updated information through the reader. Talk about convenience! For those internet news or blog readers who consistently search tens, maybe hundreds, of websites daily, RSS will bring all that information to you through one program as long as your favorite sites have RSS Feeds and you have subscribed to them.
So how does this work? Well, for those who just want to be on the receiving end of RSS Feeds, there are many news readers (aggregators) to choose from. If you are someone who is constantly on e-mail such as Outlook, RSS popper is a free downloadable reader that will incorporate right into Outlook. If you are looking for something with more options, NewsGator is also available for Outlook for a small fee. Once again, there are many, many different kinds and types of news readers available. Check out this site to read more about them and determine which suits your specific needs: http://www.hebig.org/blogs/archives/main/000877.php
If you are on the publishing end of RSS, there are also different options to choose from. If you happen to work through Dreamweaver for website management, RSS DreamFeeder is a downloadable extension made especially for Dreamweaver. Check out this tutorial for information about how to specifically create RSS feeds with Dreamweaver: http://www.webreference.com/programming/rss_feeds/. There are also specific programs for bloggers as well as programs for those who would simply like to stream information over the web.
RSS, although introduced a few years ago, is now beginning to catch on quickly. Most larger, more dynamic websites now contain those little orange and/or gray buttons that display the word ‘XML’ or ‘RSS.’ I have just briefly touched on the subject and all that it involves. If you are interested and want to learn more, here are a few suggested websites. Find out how RSS can upgrade and enhance your company and/or personal site.