RSS is a great way to distribute your news or podcasts to subscribers so they
don't have to visit your web site every time they want updated information. This Introduction to RSS tutorial will explain what an RSS feed is and how to create
on in extensible markup language or XML.
Introduction to RSS Tutorial
RSS is a method of distributing web content on one web site to many other web sites by using extensible markup language or XML. RSS is not limited to distributing text-based content. It can also distribute audio or other media content such as podcasts. It has evolved into a popular method of sharing any web-based content between sites and allows your users to get your content without actually having to visit your web site.
What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is also known as Rich Site Summary. It is an easy way to share and view headlines and web site content and it enables you to syndicate your site content. RSS uses extensible markup language to create a text-based file save as XML that includes the information about your blog, website, or podcast.
Why Use RSS?
RSS was designed so that users will be informed automatically about new updates to your web site or other files such as podcasts without having to actually visit the site every day. Through an RSS feed, users can find out about updates to your site through a program or web site that gathers and sorts RSS feeds called
As a very small text file written in XML, RSS can be used with services such as PDA's and cell phones too.
RSS is a wonderful tool to keep users informed about updates to web sites or podcasts. Sites that frequently change or update information, such as News sites, or catalog sites that frequently post new products or news articles, will find RSS a very useful tool.
Everyday, more people find uses of RSS and more web sites begin using it. By using RSS, information on the internet becomes easier to locate. Individuals who are interested can subscribe to XML feeds and be automatically updated through aggregators like My Yahoo.
How Does RSS Work?
RSS is used to share content between websites. To use it, you must register your RSS feed that describes your content with an aggregator. It works by allowing computers to retrieve and understand information in a feed from other computers and present it via a feed aggregator that is customized based on the users interests.
MyYahoo is a well known example of a feed aggregator.
The first step in using RSS is to create an RSS document and save it as an XML file with the .xml extension. To use RSS, the XML file must be made available on a web server, it needs to be uploaded to a web site. Once it's available on a web server, an aggregator can retrieve the XML file and read the new information. The aggregator can then display the content for you. There are several free aggregators listed below.
Each new story or podcast is defined by an <item> tag in the XML file, which contains a headline or title, a link, and a description. An RSS file can contain up to 15 items.
An Example of an RSS File
RSS files written in XML use a self-describing language and a simple syntax. Look at the simple RSS document in the box below.
<?xml version "1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?> <rss version="2.0"> <channel>
<title>RSS Tutorials at GuidesandTutorials.com</title> <link>http://www.guidesandtutorials.com/rssfile.xml</link> <description>Free Guides and Tutorials</description> <item>
<title>RSS Tutorial</title> <link>http://www.guidesandtutorials.com/rss.xml</link> <description>New RSS Tutorial Available</description> </item> <item> <title>Put your title for item 2 here</title> <link>Put your link for item 2 here</link> <description>Put your description for item 2 here
</description> </item> </channel> </rss>
The first line in the
document is the XML declaration. It defines the XML version for the aggregator and specifies the character encoding used in the XML document.
The second line is the RSS declaration which identifies this as an RSS document of version 2.0.
The next line is provides information about the <channel> element which provides information about the RSS feed. The <channel> element requires three additional elements sometimes called sub-elements or child elements.
<title> - which defines the title of the channel (Guides and Tutorials)
<link> - which provides the hyperlink to the channel (http://www.guidesandtutorials.com/rsstutorial.xml)
<description> - this describes the channel and tells what it is about (A New RSS Tutorial on GuidesandTutorials)
Items (<item>) are elements that are included in the channel. A channel element can have one or more <item> elements that provide information about the article, or story, or podcast, or whatever it is describing.
Item elements also have three required components also called sub-elements.
<title> - which defines the title of the channel
<link> - which defines the hyperlink to the channel
<description> - which describes the content included in the item
The Last two lines of the RSS file include the closing tags for the </channel> and the </rss> elements.
You can include comments in RSS files by enclosing them in tags like this:
<!-- This is a Comment in RSS. It begins with a <tag and an exclamation point followed by two dashes -->
Comments are included in the code but will be ignored by aggregators when they read your RSS feed. They are there to provide notes for programmers or to remind you of specifics about the RSS feed.
RSS is Written in XML
Keep in mind the following rules for writing your RSS files in XML:
All RSS elements have have pairs of tags, an opening tag and a closing tag. For example: <title> is the opening tag and </title> is the closing tag, <channel> and </channel>, <item></item> and so forth.
Elements in RSS files are cast sensitive which means that <title> and <Title> are not the same thing.
RSS Elements must be properly nested. This means that you must have your <item> elements nested inside of the <channel> element and not by itself.
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