RSS feed and syndication

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : What do this mysterious symbol and barbarian acronym mean?...

What is an RSS feed ?

Whether we call it "RSS feed" ("Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication"), "RSS channel", "RSS thread", "information thread", the principle remains the same: it is a data format to disseminate updates of websites whose contents change very often (information websites, blogs...).
An RSS feed gives a summary of the latest information on a website: generally a title, a very brief description and a link to the original page with the information.
The RSS file is updated constantly: it contains all the latest published information.

What is it used for?

There are two ways in which an RSS feed can be used:
  • for one's own personal information: to subscribe to and check all the latest information of websites from one single place, without having to visit all the sites. Essential for searches and to follow the activity of open cooperative devices and also to ensure an “ex-post” moderation…

  • for a webmaster to syndicate content, which means publishing information coming from other websites automatically on a website. This is essential to grow the networks, and to avoid publishing the same information twice, to make one's site dynamic without becoming exhausted ;-)

RSS feed readers

To subscribe to an RSS feed individually one needs a specific tool called “RSS reader” or “RSS aggregator”

There are two types of these:
  • Workstation tools:
    • Thunderbird:
      • +: very easy to use, a simple interface, multi-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux), this software is more than a simple feed reader
      • -: this software is more than a simple feed reader
    • RSSowl :
      • +: advanced functions, tag browsing, multi-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux)
      • -: not always easy to use, slow (JAVA)
    • Feedreader (Windows), NetNewsWire Lite (Mac), or Liferea (Linux)
      • +: very easy to use, simple interface
      • -: mono-platform (Mac OR Windows OR Linux)
    • Akregator (Linux)
    • Firefox

  • On-line tools:
    • Netvibes
    • iGoogle


Generally speaking "content syndication" refers to the possibility of re-publishing on a website content from a different website, in theory automatically.


Be careful with copyright!

Credits : ejk* on Flick CC-BY-SA
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