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Most sites, especially blogs have feeds associated with them, but Internet users do not know what a feed is or how to use it. You’ve probably seen the little orange button with white writing (XML,RSS, Feeds, Syndicate This Site) on a web page or blog post. If you are a non-techie, you must have wondered what this little button is for. To ensure that Internet users know what a feed is, Dave Winer, RSS creator, advocates the use of one simple and universal button Subscribe, which leads to feeds rather than using XML, RSS, Feeds, etc. Some web developers even combines the Subcribe button with a Help button that will lead web users to an explanatory page about subscribing and RSS. Ilikecheats

About RSS, XML, Syndicate This Site Link

A button or a link that says Syndicate This Site, RSS, XML simply means that the article title, a link and a brief description for each new page or post are available for you to use on your site or to access through a newsfeed reader program.

RSS is a text-based format specified in XML (Extensible Markup Language). XML is useful in describing, sharing and transmitting data across the Internet. XML defines data and HTML displays that data. The RSS abbreviation is used to refer to the following standards – Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary.

RSS feeds provide a list of items. Usually each item contains a title, summary, a link to the full version of the content and a link to a URL of the site. For the internet user, the ability to subscribe to content using RSS means that he gets content without having to browse from site to site and also of not having to worry about spam. The content goes to a newsfeed reader. He can choose whatever content he wants to subscribe to. For the content providers, RSS can help drive traffic to their sites by making it easy for users to be updated with new pages or blog posts.

A lot of sites include any one of the RSS, Syndicate This Site buttons. Clicking one of these buttons will take you to a broken page full of codes. Just copy the URL that appears in the address bar of the page or blog and use that URL to subscribe to the site in your newsfeed reader. The newsfeed reader will inform you when there is new content from a site you subscribed to.

When a site has an RSS feed, it is said to be syndicated. Syndication is a method through which web publishers and bloggers make their content available in a format that software can read. A newsfeed reader or news aggregator is software designed to subscribe to sites through syndication. A newsfeed reader automatically compiles latest contents of your sites that are RSS enabled. You can now view the sites’ updates in your newsfeed reader.

For example, you have several favorite travel websites. Rather than logging on to each one of these travel sites for fresh updates, you can just subscribe to their new contents (feeds) in your newsfeed reader software. A click of the RSS button will display a list of the headlines of all new entries from all the travel sites you subscribe to. Clicking the headline link will show a brief description for the entry and a link to the full version. You get to only read the entries that interest you.

You can install a newsfeed reader on your computer and have easy access to it on your desktop. You can also use an online newsfeed reader. Some of the more popular ones are FeedDemon for Windows, NetNewsWire for Mac OS X and Bloglines (web-based, free).

Once you’ve installed a newsfeed reader, you can then subscribe to feeds. Feeds are names given to sources of information utilized by newsfeed readers to obtain new contents and updates they display. Feeds are technically similar to web pages. However, web pages are written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language, standard language with which all web pages are built) readable by humans. Conversely, feeds are intended to be read or processed by software. Feeds are based on XML technology. Newsfeed readers allow you to subscribe to feeds in different methods. Most web pages or blog posts have a little orange button that says XML,RSS, Syndicate This Site.

Feeds are very useful. They notify Internet users of updates from favorite sites without visiting them one by one. Feeds also allow users to read fresh contents from one convenient location.

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