Welcome to rss-resources.org !
rss-resources.org is the most complete repository of information about the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) technology. You will find here links to popular RSS readers, data, specifications and basically the best online resources about RSS.
Best RSS feed readers (popular topic !)
RSS feed readers and news feed aggregators let you follow news and blogs easily in a dedicated program for PC, Mac, Linux or even Online.
These programs let you organize, search, categorize and use news items just like emails.
Some of them also feature connectivity with a free Google Reader account.
Please check our list of the most popular RSS feed readers
Here is a list of popular dedicated RSS feed readers for each platform:
What is RSS
RSS feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content.
It's a way for frequently updated websites - such as news sites or blogs - to push their updates straight to anyone who wants them.
RSS feeds are an excellent way to keep up to date with all kinds of information sources (blogs, news, the weather, discussions,..).
'RSS' originally stood for 'RDF Site Summary', but has now come to mean 'Really Simple Syndication'.
RSS is useful for web sites that are updated frequently, like:
- News sites - Lists news with title, date and descriptions
- Companies - Lists news and new products
- Calendars - Lists upcoming events and important days
- Site changes - Lists changed pages or new pages
RSS feeds benefit those who actually own or publish a website as well, since site owners can get their updated content to subscribers fast by submitting feeds to various XML and RSS directories
, or displaying an rss widget.
How to use RSS feeds
You will need first a RSS reader.
An RSS feed reader will check subscribed channels for updates automatically and let you browse the news that's important to you.
When loaded into an RSS reader, a feed will deliver a brief summary of each update that is made to the website it comes from, along with a link to the updated area of the website.
You will probably use one of the readers built into the major web browsers.
All these browsers have readers built-in, although Google Chrome requires a plug-in to use RSS feeds
You can also use a web-based rss aggregator like Google Reader (Note: Google Reader has been discontinued).
Finally, blogging platforms such as Wordpress let you embed some rss widgets directly on your blog. Such widgets display posts from any RSS feed on your website.
Where to find RSS feeds
News sites almost always have RSS feeds attached to them.
You can easily browse the latest headlines in one place, as soon as it's published, without having to visit the websites yvideo ou have taken the feed from.
To find feeds on your favourite sites, look out for either the letters 'RSS' or the orange RSS logo, as show here :
How does RSS work
RSS works in a very simple way:
- A website or a blog creates an RSS Feed. Many Blog services automatically create RSS Feeds. For Websites, RSS Feeds can be created manually or with software.
- The RSS Feed that is created is an XML file that lives on an Internet server. There are now hundreds of thousands of RSS Feeds sitting on Internet servers waiting patiently for an RSS Reader to subscribe to them.
- The RSS Feed Reader reads the RSS Feed file and displays it. The RSS Reader displays only new items from the RSS Feed.
RSS is a dialect of XML. All RSS files must conform to the XML 1.0 specification. They are delivered through the HTTP Protocol
Extensible Mark-up Language or XML is a specification developed by the W3C.
A Brief History of RSS
RSS was first invented by Netscape, which wanted to use an XML format to distribute news, stories and information.
Netscape initially published the first version of RSS on March 15,1999, named RSS v0.90
.This was simply XML with an RDF Header.
In 1999, Userland Software
took control of the specification and continued to develop it releasing a newer version in 2000, which was then the official 0.91 specification:
- RSS v0.91 does not have RDF header.
- RSS v0.91 is called Rich Site Summary (RSS)
- RSS v0.91 has features from Dave Winer's RSS version scriptingNews 2.0b1
- RSS v0.91 has support for international languages and encodings.
- RSS v0.91 has support for image height and width definitions.
- RSS v0.91 has support for description text for headlines.
A non-commercial group lead by Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly picked up RSS at the same time and based on their interpretation of the Netscape's original concept of RSS they also released a new version.
UserLand was not happy with the non-commercial version and continued development of their own version of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), eventually UserLand released RSS v2 in 2003.
The most recent version of RSS is RSS 2.0.11
and was published on March 30, 2009.
Which RSS version to use
One of the most confusing and unfortunate problems in syndication is the large number of formats in use :
- About 50 % of all RSS feeds use RSS 0.91
- About 25 % use RSS 1.0
- The last 25 % is split between RSS 0.9x versions and RSS 2.0
RSS 1.0 is very extensible, and useful if you want to integrate it into Semantic Web systems. RSS 2.0 is very simple and easy to author by hand.
Atom is now an IETF Standard (see below), bringing stability and a natural community to support its use.
You can browse the recent RSS specifications at the RSS Board
Tools to validate RSS feeds
If you have created one RSS feed for your website, then it is your responsibility to ensure that your RSS feed file can be parsed by the XML parser of any subscribing site. This is called XML validation.
There are lots of tools and programs out there that can help you use RSS - from scripts to put up RSS feeds to programs for working with the feeds:
RSS File example
This RSS 2.0 document has one item in the feed along with the feed information. This is the minimum you need to have a valid and usable RSS feed.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>
<title>W3Schools Home Page</title>
<description>Free web building tutorials</description>
<description>New RSS tutorial on W3Schools</description>
<description>New XML tutorial on W3Schools</description>
Atom vs RSS
The Atom format was developed as an alternative to RSS.
Both RSS 1.0 and 2.0 are informal specifications; that is, they are not published by a well-known standards body or industry consortium, but instead by a small group of people.
Atom is a relatively recent spec and is much more robust and feature-rich than RSS, and adresses many of its shortcomings.
Atom 1.0 is specified in RFC 4287
, issued on August 11, 2005. The Atom Publishing Protocol (RFC 5023)
was published in 2007 is different from many contemporary protocols in that the server is given wide latitude in processing requests from clients. Atom feeds provide an updated field which means that any feeds that are modified have a timestamp associated with them.