Reading RSS Feeds
While many have resisted the urge to decipher the meaning behind the acronym RSS, the vast majority of technically knowledgeable online surfers have begun incorporating RSS into their daily routines. Why go through the hassle of understanding something new, the novice might want to know? Because it saves time, and time is a precious commodity these days.
The contents of an RSS feed can be read any number of ways. A variety of tools, both fee based and free, to read RSS feeds are available on the Internet.
When determining what RSS feed reader to download, thought should be given to security. More an more publishers are using RSS feeds as a way to deliver podcasts or media rich-content. Users of desktop software will want to find an RSS reader that allows for rich media to be delivered safely and securely.
Web surfers might want to give thought to another consideration of cross compatibility and synchronization. With the advances in RSS readers, many subscribers use multiple platforms to read their feeds. While this is convenient, if the the web surfer is not using a synchronized solution, they find themselves marking the same feed items read multiple times.
These days, aggregators are available in all shapes and sizes. Determine what type of RSS reader you would like to use to aggregate and manage your RSS feeds.
1. Desktop RSS Reader Software
A number of desktop RSS readers are available for download from the Internet. Many desktop readers allow subscribers to categorize and group their RSS feeds. Many users find it helpful to segregate personal and business feeds.
Active Web Reader – http://www.deskshare.com/awr.aspx
2. Web Based RSS Aggregator
Web based RSS news aggregators are accessible via any computer that has Internet access using a login and password. Web based readers are particularly useful to individuals who travel frequently.
MyYahoo – http://my.yahoo.com
BlogLines – http://www.bloglines.com
NewsGator – http://www.newsgator.com
3. Browser Plug In
RSS readers are now being incorporated into newer versions of web browsers. In addition many popular browsers have third party tools that expand their functionality to incorporate RSS feeds.
Firefox Sage – http://sage.mozdev.org/
Internet Explorer FeedScout – http://www.bytescout.com/feedscout.html
4. Email RSS Reader
A handful of popular email clients have add on modules that allow users to manage their RSS feeds in their existing email client.
Newsgator Inbox – http://www.newsgator.com
5. Mobile RSS Readers
As the world becomes remote, mobile RSS readers are becoming increasingly popular. Surfers on the run appreciate receiving content updates remotely.
Mobile RSS Reader – http://www.dace.fi/
FreeRange – http://www.freerangeinc.com/products/
Once you have a news reader setup, you will need to populate it with RSS feeds. Website visitors, subscribe to RSS feeds by adding the URL of the feed to their RSS reader or aggregator. Many publishers use orange boxes or buttons marked RSS or XML to signify that an RSS feed exists for a website. In order to discover the URL of the RSS feed simply click the icon. Do not panic if as a result of your click, you see a page that contains code that makes little sense. Simply add the URL to the RSS reader. The RSS reader will decipher the code and display the feed’s content in a format that is easily readable.
Some websites have added chicklets or icons for popular news readers to make subscriptions very easy. In those cases, you will see a subscription button for specific RSS readers, simply click the icon that corresponds with your RSS reader and the feed will appear in your RSS reader. Some desktop aggregators and integrated readers will automatically detect that an RSS feed is available on a website. The RSS reader will pop up and ask if you wish to subscribe to the RSS feed.
While it does require initial effort to setup a solution for aggregating and reading RSS feeds, users find that it saves a lot of time in the long run. Determine what solution best meets your RSS needs and begin aggregating information.
Copyright 2006 Sharon Housley
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software company.
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