The Internet has a load of new information updated every minute on hundreds and thousands of web pages. With such a massive torrent of media being produced each and every day, it can often prove to be difficult to keep up with all your favorite websites. The answer to this is RSS. RSS is the Rich Site Summary or more commonly Really Simple Syndication, which was originally called RDF Site Summary and it is all about simplifying the way we view and process the contents on the Internet.
Web pages are typically multimedia experiences, with multiple columns of data. An RSS feed of a page peels off the information down to the bare essentials, usually the main text content, main images, or in the case of podcasts and video channels, the content itself. The browser can also be commanded to automatically download the new data for the user.
It is a way to distribute a list of headlines and/or update notices and content for a large number of people without any effort or taking up much time. It is generally used by computer programs that organize those headlines and notices for easy reading. When there is something new posted on one of your favorite websites that you subscribed to using RSS, the updated content just gets sent to your feed reader directly. This allows you to go through the contents on a larger number of platforms without having to worry about compatibility or display issues.
But it doesn't just help you with the content you view. Sites like Craigslist and eBay support RSS subscriptions to specific categories of services and items. They allow you to subscribe to your chosen list of classified ads, allowing you to set up notifications which alert you when any new posts or updates are published within a specific category. In today's need for speed world, everyone believes in saving. And with RSS, you can take the very idea of saving to another level. For example, you save time by not needing to visit each and every website individually and manually check out the updates. And you also ensure your privacy by not having to join each site's email newsletter to keep up with the updated content.
RSS feeds enable publishers to organize data automatically. It uses a group of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information such as news headlines, audio, video, blog entries, etc. Software named "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be either web-based, or desktop-based, or mobile-device-based, are available which present RSS feed data to users. They are basically programs that keep running in the background and constantly wait for your favorite sites to post new content. A standard XML file format ensures compatibility with many different machines or programs.
RSS feeds also do well to users who want to receive timely updates from websites or to gather data from many sites. There are also a number of programs and add-ons that provide RSS functionality to web browsers and email clients.
It's really simple to use RSS as you only need to have an Internet connection and install a feed reader. You can know whether a website supports RSS subscriptions or not if it features an orange icon with a set of white lines running through it. It is similar to a Wi-Fi symbol, except that it's just a quarter of it and in orange.
Users can subscribe to the RSS feed either by entering a feed's URL into the reader or by clicking on the browser's feed icon, which is usually given alongside the buttons you click for Facebook and Twitter updates. Just about every site offers some type of RSS feed nowadays, although you might need to do some research work to find the appropriate one for yourself.