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RSS: What is it?

Really Simple Syndication

RSS Feed Icon

This icon alerts you to an RSS feed you can subscribe to.

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a specific way of formatting content that streamlines presentation and distribution to users. Where HTML Web pages are a 'pull' medium, RSS feeds are 'pushed' to users who subscribe to them. This means that you can then view all new content from a variety of sources in one place without having to search for it and without having to manually check for updates.

Inherent to the concept of RSS usage is the idea of an aggregator, a program used to manage subscriptions. These programs store a list of the RSS feeds you like to read and periodically check for new content. Depending on the publisher's offerings and the features of your aggregator, RSS feeds can contain a summary, full article, or multimedia.

By watching for the XML badge or syndication icon on sites you visit, you'll find many feeds you can subscribe to. Once you've downloaded or subscribed to an aggregation service you can subscribe to the feeds of sites you like. When those sites publish new content, your aggregator will provide you with updated information. This saves time and lets you keep your content better organized.

For more information about using RSS:

Feed 101 [FeedBurner]
RSS (file format): Usage [Wikipedia]

For more information about the RSS specification:

RSS 2.0 Specification