How RSS Works

March 12, 2003

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication". It started in the world of blogs to help people who read lots of blogs.

Publishers of content (such as CNN, ESPN, NPR and over a million other web sites) as well as personal and professional web logs (or blogs) provide a mechanism for their information to be syndicated by other web sites through the use of RSS. You can think of RSS as a specification standard for sharing information on the Internet.

RSS allows for sites such as My Yahoo to aggregate the content of a dozen different web sites and provide them on a single page.

Blogs usually have a free "RSS feed". It is a little XML web page icon that contains the headline, date/time and a description of each new item that the blog is publishing. You install a piece of software called an "RSS reader" on your machine. You connect it to the RSS feeds for your favorite sites. Then, when you click the "update" button in your RSS reader, it goes out and checks their RSS feeds. RSS gives you a much quicker way to keep up-to-date on your favorite sites.

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