Friday Feast #42: The World of RSS Feeds

There is a plethora of information available about RSS (RDF Site Summary), feeds, feedreaders, and tools. Today’s Friday Feast lists some of the more helpful ones I’ve recently found.

Summaries, Complete Posts, or Both?

Like Jeffrey Zeldman and for the same reasons, for now I’m far more inclined to provide linked summaries or “teasers” rather than full posts for my RSS feeds. While I do feel content is king and should hold its own weight, Jeffrey makes some important and well-written points about content and design. Eric Meyer is posting summaries and discusses his approaches, too. On the other hand, Dori’s readers want the full posts with their RSS feeds. So we’ll see where this all ends up.

I’m also planning to add categorized feeds soon. I’ve noticed that some sites offer summaries, full posts, and other choices, too. The world of RSS feeds is new territory for me, so I’m just beginning to get my feet wet, whether reading them or providing feeds. I welcome feedback.

RSS Feed Readers

There are also an increasing number of RSS feedreaders available.

[Content Syndication with RSS, by Ben Hammersley] RSS Books, Tutorials, Tips

So what’s RSS all about? You can dig in with Content Syndication with RSS, a new book by Ben Hammerseley published in March by O'Reilly. A sample chapter is also available.

As usual for the wonderful Internet, you can find plenty of resources online, too. Here are a few:

  • Connecting Interested People to New Web Content With Syndication and Aggregation
    An excellent (and redistributable) slide presentation about RSS with links to resources. By Doug Ransom.
  • Introduction to RSS
    Helpful introduction to the world of RSS, including syntax, validating your code, syndication, aggregators, and resources. By Andy King,
  • Really Simple Syndication
    An article providing background information about RSS, where it is today, possible future directions, and thoughts by Sam Ruby.
  • RSS For Non-Techie Librarians
    Good introduction to the benefits and how-to-instructions for utilizing RSS feeds to conveniently review a multitude of sites and resources. By Steven M. Cohen, June 2002.
  • RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters
    Provides a helpful introduction to RSS feeds, how to create good feeds, tools available, and resources to more information. By Mark Nottingham.
  • Using RSS News Feeds
    A tutorial at WebReference on how to write a Perl script to convert RSS feeds to HTML to add them to your website via SSI or similar method.
  • What is an RSS Channel, Anyway?
    Insightful introductory article about what an RSS channel is, the uses and components of an RSS channel, and channel definitions and terms. By Mark Nottingham.
  • What is RSS?
    A helpful introductory article about RSS that provides a brief history, a helpful chart about RSS versions and compatibility, samples of RSS, and even how to write a simple program to read RSS feeds. By Mark Pilgrim for, December 2002.
  • Where Next for RSS?
    Opinion piece by Tim Bray about RSS, where it’s going, what to read RSS with, and the bonuses and drawbacks. By Tim Bray, January 2003.

Registering and Finding RSS Feeds

If you build one, will they come? And where can you find existing RSS feeds? Look around at the sites you visit for icons—they may indicate RSS, RDF, XML, or something similar, and those will link to the site’s RSS feeds. I’ve also listed a few resources below to register or find feeds:

  • Explanation of RSS, How You Can Use it, and Finding RSS Feeds
    Helpful tutorial about using RSS feeds, RSS aggregators, finding RSS feeds, directories, search queries, topical feeds, blogs and forums, and links to helpful resources. You can also use Faganfinder to locate RSS feeds, weblogs, and more. Helpful information provided by Faganfinder.
  • Finding More Channels
    Amphetadesk’s info for locating more RSS feeds.
  • Feedster
    Register your feeds or find feeds at Feedster.
  • InfoWorld RSS Feeds
    InfoWorld provides a helpful page that concisely explains RSS, provides a FAQ, and includes resources to find feeds, including their own, of course.
  • RDF Ticker
    Find RSS feeds or register your RSS feeds at the RDFTicker site. RDFTicker software also available for download.
  • rssSearch
    As the title indicates, rssSearch is a search engine for RSS feeds, harvesting and indexing the RSS/RDF files produced by weblogs across the Internet. As of this post there are over 32,000 weblogs and almost 900,000 articles available through rssSearch. By FS Consulting, Inc.
  • RSSxpress
    Create, modify, and register your UK RSS news channels.
    Register and find RSS feeds at this major RSS portal.
  • Syndicate Your Page
    Helpful service to register or set up your feed.
  • Syndication Subscription Service
    A syndication subscription service for RSS content consumers, RSS content producers and aggregators.

Movable Type RSS Templates

In addition to Movable Type’s site and the MTPlugin Directory, check out Making Feature-Rich, Movable Type RSS Files, by Ben Hammersley.

RSS Specifications

Here is a listing of RSS-related specs and modules.



Friday Feast archives

02:23 pm, pdt 2 May, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks (10) ·';}?>

Categories: Content, Friday Feast, Internet, Syndication, Technology, Weblogs, Wireless


Comments, Trackbacks: 10 so far. Add yours!

  1. I can’t see the purpose of RSS. Why do I need a seperate piece of software to view updated sites when I blogroll my favourite sites. What am I missing?

    07:19 am, pdt10 August, 2003Comment by Sian

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  2. I worked out how to add a blog to Newzcrawler by accident. I read a post on Big Pink Cookie and decided to give Newzcrawler another go. I looked at the instructions, couldn't figure out how to add my own...

    10 Aug, 2003Trackback from Diaphanus v3

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  3. Hi, Sian,
    A blogroll can let you know when sites have updated, too, of course.

    My early review of FeedDemon tells about some of the features available:
    Upcoming FeedDemon RSS Reader and Organizer, the cited links for list more on FeedDemon, and there are other posts in the Syndication section that includes what others like about RSS and various RSS readers.

    First and foremost, though, I’m not trying to sell you or anyone else on RSS.

    For me a feed reader/organizer is an incredibly convenient way to have a HUGE amount of information immediately available and "watch lists" that watch for specific topics discussed in addition to letting me know when a site has updated. I end up learning about many more high quality and interesting websites with all the info delivered to me.

    So RSS feed software has provided me with a means to reach far more information that’s also filtered by my interests. I utilize the RSS software to watch for something, store links to articles for my weblog, and other things, especially since it searches at search engines for me, too.

    RSS has added an additional dimension to the Web and so much more immediately available. It’s kind of like the difference between

    1. being at a huge library, going to the card catalog to find the books and articles you want and then going to get them all over the library, which can be time-consuming, and once I open the book or article it may or may not have an update or have what I’m interested in reading,


    2. being at the same huge library, going to the card catalog to find books and articles, and then having them all delivered to my desk while I’ve got my feet up with a cup of tea. Some of the books and articles are delivered by excerpts for me to scan to see if I want to read the entire article or book... and if so, I just click the button and it’s delivered to my desk right away. In addition the software finds related information that I might be interested in, and with the click of a button it’s also delivered to my desk.

    I still open books and articles and read what I’m interested in as I love the books and articles just as always. I end up with a much wider range of sites, articles, and information that I’m interested in reading, all available in 1/100 the time.

    I still visit my friends' sites and read their weblogs, but the RSS software provides me with far more information about their site updates, too, and many other features.

    I still love to read and I haven’t substituted RSS feed readers for visiting websites. Instead, RSS software enhances and improves the entire Web experience for me.

    That analogy may not be perfect, but that’s kind of the idea.

    I didn’t get what the excitement was all about with RSS feeds until I tried software with helpful features that made it all come together for me. I really entered the world much later, only adding RSS feeds last April.

    You may or may not be at all interested in RSS, of course.

    There are plenty of articles around the Web about what folks like about RSS, so you might check out Google for some different opinions about it as I’ve really just scratched the surface.

    I hope that helps.

    12:06 am, pdt11 August, 2003Comment by Shirley

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  4. Which ones are available for no charge and do not need to be downloaded to your computer?...

    Or where would there be a listing of ones available for no charge that are not downloaded on your computer?...

    08:59 am, pdt 5 September, 2003Comment by don warner saklad

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  5. Don,
    Your questions are already answered within my article. So if you read that you’ll see there are links to sites for RSS feeds and newsfeed readers.

    09:44 am, pdt 5 September, 2003Comment by Shirley Kaiser

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  6. eedDemon RSS Reader is getting close to its official release, Friday announcing FeedDemon 1.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1). The FeedDemon 1.0 RC1 Release Notes document the latest of Nick Bradbury's diligent hard work, fine tuning, and listening to user r...

    19 Oct, 2003Trackback from Brainstorms and Raves

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  7. Jared Blank addresses that question in his new article for ClickZ, What If You Built a Blog and No One Came? That title caught my eye, so naturally I read the article and checked things out for myself. Jared Blank's weblog is one of the Jupiter Resear...

    24 Oct, 2003Trackback from Brainstorms and Raves

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  8. Free! Sign up now!

    06 Jan, 2004Trackback from la rawr de nuestra señora

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  9. You've been writing away and you'd love to build your readership. You want people to find your weblog, read it regularly, and tell their friends and colleagues. How does that happen? In addition to optimizing your site for search engines, search engine...

    23 Mar, 2004Trackback from Brainstorms and Raves

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  10. A really informative post- thanks! I have been exploring alternatives for registering and discovering RSS feeds in my weblog post too.

    10:34 pm, pdt12 May, 2004Comment by Vivek

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This discussion has been closed. Thanks to all who participated.

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