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  1. #1
    Member samharrelson's Avatar
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    Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
    Instead of going on and on about how I use RSS, let's kick this discussion off by having people ask questions or give their opinions instead.

    As an introduction, I love RSS. I use Google Reader and an offline "feed reader" client that I've built myself on top of Mono inside a Linux interface. So, I use both an offline and an online reader, but whatever you use should be a personal preference. When I'm out of the office, I use the online Google Reader through my BlackBerry to check feeds in my downtime or in between classes that I'm teaching if I don't have my laptop handy.

    I get about 95% of my information and news about world events, national politics, local news, weather, sports, discussions (such as the feeds available here on ABW) and blog content from my RSS readers.

    The idea of a syndication mode of consumption is much more appealing to me than having to visit every single website from which I want to receive and ingest content.

    That being said, RSS has some marketing implications as well.

    So... how are you using or not using RSS and what questions do you have about it?

  2. #2
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I haven't used it, I'm not sure how to use it.
    How do you set it up? Where do you set it up? How does one start?
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  3. #3
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I get my news from http://www.newsnow.co.uk/

    It automatically searches 28792 news sources every 5 minutes.

    Where does one get RSS? What programming skills are suggested/required?

    How do you get it? Where do you put it? I believe Blogger syndicates through Atom or something like that. I don't know how to set up a RSS feed for others.

    So all you RSS pros/cute guys/sassy gals here's your chance to show off
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  4. #4
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I have used listgarden . It's a nice free one and will help you understand how it all works.

    I have a WordPress blog that automatically publishes a RSS feed, but I can't remember it it came that way or was a plugin.

    Places like my.yahoo.com will help you collect your feeds and show you in one place if any have been updated. It's Really Simple.

  5. #5
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    gmail also has an RSS reader. I use it for descriptions of upcoming tv programs on Discovery Channel, quick reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (just a movie title and a percent rotten/fresh), and a couple of "strange news" feeds.

    I thought about building my own RSS feed for my site, but the content turnover isn't often enough.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    RSS is Really Simple Syndication, as mentioned above.

    Basically, RSS is an XML file that only contains content. This is the idea behind RSS. An RSS feed (as they are called) only contains words, links, and images, and light formatting (bold, italic, etc...). There is no positioning (this goes up here, this goes over here), no background or text colors, no link colors, no navigation, just pure content.

    This makes RSS a great way to distribute articles. If you subscribe to an RSS feed you will get a steady stream of articles as they get posted to that feed. Because you can style the pure content however you like, RSS is really flexible.

    The most common use for RSS is use in a feed reader. Safari (the mac browser) and new versions of Firefox have a feed reader built in! Wherever you see an RSS button or the official orange badge (), click on it and your feed will show up.

    In firefox or safari, if a web page you are viewing has an RSS feed available you will see an RSS icon in the URL text box right next to the page URL. Click the icon to read the feed.

    For example, if you go to http://www.cnn.com/ in Firefox and click on the orange icon in the URL text box, you will get a feed that starts like this (yours might be different, they update the feed often!):

    Bizarre honeybee deaths cost billions
    Today, 04:28 PM
    Beekeepers throughout the United States have been losing between 50 and 90 percent of their honeybees over the past six months, perplexing scientists, driving honey prices higher and threatening fruit and vegetable production.

    Read more…

    Australian Taliban considers plea deal
    Today, 04:18 PM
    Read full story for latest details.

    Read more…


    Basically you get a short description of the story and a link to read more about it. As the feed is updated newer stories appear at the top, much like a blog.

    So, RSS lets you "subscribe" to feeds and read them in a different way than just browsing web pages. Some people (like me) find it a cleaner and faster way to keep up with news.

    You can bookmark feeds in Safari and Firefox so you will know when new stories come out. You can also use a feed reader (Google's was mentioned above, its very easy to use!) to read feeds. As you collect a list of feeds you like to read you can move from site to site with a single click, browsing through the feeds. Very easy! Try it out!

    However, you can do a lot more with RSS. Because feeds are pure content they can be re-published, mashed up, edited, and all sorts of other cool things. Lots of blogs have plugins that will allow you to type in a feed URL and republish the contents of that feed as HTML on your website. So, you can easily add a self-updating news ticker to your site.

    You can combine feeds into your own custom feed using something like Yahoo! Pipes (http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/). Say you wanted a feed of all the news from all your local newspapers. Combine it into one feed and you've got all your info in one place!

    You can also use feeds to deliver podcasts (mp3 links), videos, or all sorts of other things (like merchant data, as anyone who works with datafeeds knows).

    Getting Your Own Feed

    Feeds are great for constantly updated sites like blogs. You can get your own from FeedBurner (www.feedburner.com). Most CMS systems (wordpress, joomla, etc...) output feeds automatically. Take your feed and burn it with feedburner. Feedburner offers lots of cool features for feeds such as giving you stats on how many people read your feed, adding in Digg or Comment buttons after each feed story, giving you an automatically generated line of javascript that republishes your feed in HTML, and my favorite, email subscriptions!

    FeedBurner will give you a ready made form to take email addresses. The emails are opt-in and they will always have an opt out link included in every email. Then, feedburner delivers any NEW updates in your feed once a day to email subscribers. You can customize the emails with your logo and text styles too. It's really quite cool.

    Once you've got your feed, put an orange RSS button that links to your feed on your website so people know its there. Also, make sure your pages have your feeds in auto-discover mode so Firefox browsers will see that feed in their URL bar. Just add this code to the header of every page:

    HTML Code:
    <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" 
      title="Title Of Your Feed" 
      href="http://www.yoursite.com/yourfeedURL/" />
    Easy!

    Well, there's the basics...what else do people want to know?
    Last edited by MINDsprinter; March 29th, 2007 at 06:33 PM. Reason: spelling
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Great post Jason!

  8. #8
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Jason, I appreciate your post and I'll try that out later (I kind of have a headache at the moment).

    Jason, I really like your posts: they are clear, provide lots of information, and are inspirational
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
    Twitter me

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Thanks for the support guys. I've really only scratched the surface of RSS. If you have questions let me know. And others here, chime in!
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  10. #10
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Here's a question
    I'm looking at MyBlogLog: the Primary Feed URL (RSS) is
    myblog/blogger.html/rss.xml

    Then it says: Secondary Feed Title: (blank)

    Secondary Feed URL: (blank)

    I'm not sure how to fill those out. I'd like to make my blogs as accessible as possible.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Hmm...I've never used mybloglog, but I'd assume primary is the one you need. Some people have multiple feeds (for different categories of their site for instance), so that might explain the fields. I'd go with one for now, chances are you can add a secondary later.
    Jason Rosenbaum
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    MINDsprinting

  12. #12
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINDsprinter
    Hmm...I've never used mybloglog
    http://www.mybloglog.com/

    You can submit a pic with your name/nick (plus more info if you'd like) in order to become a member of your friend's blog community of recent readers.

    It's kind of interesting but I spent time creating a second community based on a vampire blog and I uploaded a cool picture and I did too much work last night and then like shifting sands all my work was washed away because I don't feel like paying them a monthly fee
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Ah...darn those fees! Seems like an interesting service, I signed up myself last night.

    Start with FeedBurner, that's my suggestion. They have the coolest tools out there for feeds, and most of their useful services are free.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    I have a question about using RSS, but I'm coming from the other direction. I already subscribe to several feeds through Bloglines (including SAS online/offline notifies) and I even subscribe to my own blog feeds on MyYahoo so I can casually check them as I go by.

    What I'm struggling with is how to use other peoples feeds as content on my static site (so I can't just add a WP plugin). I'm not trying to scrape content, I just need to add a couple of different news topics in certain areas.

    What I have used is a couple different free scripting sites that give you the code in exchange for their ad, but it worries me that I'll forget to log in and check and they'll be gone - or changed to something I don't want.

    I want to buy the tool (or script) if necessary, but I don't think that the guru selling $today's price only Content scraper is what I want to try and customize for my purposes. I've looked at a couple of different ones that seem legit, but I get lost in the comparison(s) and then can't find the sites again.

    Logic tells me that it should be some kind of PHP application that could be loaded up and changed to config the specific feed. Is it so simple that I'm just looking right past it? Can anyone recommend one that I can use for different feeds in different areas of my static site?

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Again, feedburner!

    I've used it in the past. The only thing you get is a little powered by feedburner logo at the bottom. Grab the feed's URL, burn a feedburner version at www.feedburner.com, go to the publicize tab, then go to BuzzBoost.

    Paste the resulting javascript onto any page and you'll get easily styled HTML out. I've used it before with great success.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    Thank you! I guess I hadn't actually been to the Feedburner site in awhile. Lots of good info there.

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I ran across this: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives...ure_of_rss.php

    A nice article on RSS, what it is, what it does, and where it is going. A bit techy, but a good read.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  18. #18
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    Here's a neat little script that can be used on php pages or html pages that can parse php (you can set this up using htaccess or in cpanel for some hosts) it reads the rss and converts it for use on your page

    http://simplepie.org/

    There are others out there, some free, magpie rss is another, magicparser.com is not free but works pretty easy and can be used for importing feeds into mysql.

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