New Technology World
What’s all the Fuss about RSS?
Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is a XML web service standard for being able to pull web content updates in an automated fashion. What really helped RSS take off was the explosion of the Content Management Systems (CMS) that a large number of website now use. CMS (like WordPress) managed website basically skin the website and the content itself is pulled from a database, typically called articles. Blog website are the most common using a CMS, but many major websites use a CMS for the entire website.
In most cases the author of an article uses a third party writer, like Windows Live Writer (from the Windows Live Essentials 2011 pack) to create the article and publish it to the website. This can include category options, which tells the website where to display the article in the article list or layout on the website. This article you are reading is a perfect example of the whole process.
That’s fine and dandy, but what does any of this have to do with RSS? Most Content Management Systems and websites have the ability to pull an RSS feed with a list of the latest articles. So with an RSS client and a subscription to the RSS feed, you can quickly and easily see a list of all new articles posted to your favorite websites in one location. Below is the RSS link from the NTWorld website:
Other websites may have the RSS icon and a link similar to this one found on the Wndows Phone Blog. Internet Explorer 9 supports RSS feeds. If you click on the RSS link, it will bring up a basic window display the articles in the blog. At the top of the page is a “Subscribe to this feed link” which will allow IE to automatically download the feed contents on the specified interval (click the “View Feed Properties” link the lower right to set options). This will allow for off-line viewing of the feed articles, say during your commute to work and back. To view the feeds, click on the star (between the Home and Settings icons) after all the tabs in IE and select the feeds tab.
Google has created a really nice way of bring all your feeds together called Google Reader. With Google reader, simply click the “Add a Subscription” button, paste the URL of the RSS feed and your done. Some websites actually bring up a second page when you click on the RSS link asking what type of RSS link you would like, and Google Reader is an option. Selecting Google Reader will automatically add it to your Google Reader list (if you are logged in) without having to copy/paste the URL manually.
To make all of this even more useful, there are RSS and Google Reader clients for your phone. Quite a few of them are available for free for a couple dollars on WP7 Marketplace. I recommend taking advantage of the trials available and find the one that suits your needs. Currently I’m using the free Greadr app but there are quite a few RSS apps on Marketplace to choose from. Using an RSS aggregator service and app on your phone means you can now quickly and easily check most of your favorite websites on the go, with no more fuss!