Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a lightweight format for publishing content. Blogs and other web sites will often publish RSS feeds to allow regular readers to receive updates without having to visit each site individually. The content of the RSS feed is often the same content that is on the website, but in the simpler structure without navigation links, headers, etc.
Reading RSS feeds
RSS readers are software that will load (usually) many RSS feeds for you into a single interface. Rather than visiting many sites to see what is new, you just look at your reader and get the latest updates from all sites whose feeds you are subscribed to. Watch the video above from Common Craft for a nice overview of RSS and reading it.
You can subscribe to RSS feeds using Microsoft Outlook with your Middlebury email:
Or try one of these tools (there are many others). To use RSS in these tools, you will generally have to create an account and then copy and paste the URL of the RSS feed into them.
Other ways to read/use RSS feeds
- Drupal's RSS Page content type can be used to display a feed on your site.
- The FeedWordPress plugin for WordPress can take a feed and turn each item into a post on your site.
Creating RSS feeds
Most blogging tools will generate RSS feeds of recent posts, sometimes with a separate feed for comments. Many other web-based tools will generate feeds with a variety of information
- Movable Type will create an RSS feed for each post. For comments?
- MediaWiki creates feeds of changes to new pages and recent changes to pages.
Transforming RSS feeds
Yahoo! Pipes is a service that allows you to take a series of inputs and filter them, reformat them, and/or combine them into a new output feed. Often the inputs are RSS feeds, but they can also be search results, CSV files, Flickr image searches, or other data.
For example, this pipe will give you a feed of recent changes to this wiki with a particular user's changes filtered out. You can use this to monitor changes without being bombarded with a list of your own edits (that you are obviously aware of).