CaRP: RSS & Atom to HTML Converter
Display RSS & Atom newsfeeds on PHP enabled websites

Jawfish: RSS to JavaScript Conversion Service
Display RSS & Atom newsfeeds on any website

Grouper: Convert news searches to RSS
RSS Manager, XML Converter, Website Scraper

Chordata: RSS, Atom and Info Bite newsfeed directory
RSS & Atom Feed Directory

About RSS

» What is RSS, and what is an RSS feed?

RSS is a document format. It's XML-based, if you care to know that. An RSS feed or newsfeed is essentially a file in RSS format, which leads us to...

» What is RSS used for?

It is commonly used to publish news headlines, blog entries (like you see in the column to the right), and other small bits of information. New uses for RSS are being found all the time, such as publishing comic strips, recent earthquake data, and more.

» What can RSS do for me as a webmaster?

Keeping your site fresh and up-to-date: Using tools like CaRP, Jawfish and Grouper, you can import newsfeeds from other sites and display them on yours, keeping your site fresh and up-to-date without lifting a finger.

Search Engine Optimization: One of the great benefits of displaying newsfeeds on your website is that it boosts your position in search engines like Google. How? First, every time the search engine visits your site, it finds new content. Pages that are updated often are ranked higher by search engines. Second, if the newsfeed is relevant to your site, newsfeeds put more information relevant to your keywords onto your page.

Publishing an RSS feed: By publishing an RSS feed, you enable people to stay on top of what's happening on your site without having to constantly check for updates. As people become accustomed to using RSS feeds, they become less likely to visit your site if you don't have one.

» What is Atom?

Atom is almost exactly the same thing as RSS -- just the technical details of the format are different. Atom was created by people (myself included) who wanted to address some of the problems with the RSS format.

» What can RSS do for me as an information consumer?

With so much news, information, entertainment, etc., available on the web, monitoring all your favorite websites for updates can be a daunting task. You either have to spend lots of time making the rounds of many sites, or limit yourself to a few information sources. Enter RSS: If your favorite sites have RSS feeds, you can subscribe to those feeds in an RSS reader, which will automatically check all the sites you've subscribed to and show you new items when they are added.

» What does "RSS" stand for?

"Really Simple Syndication", "Rich Site Summary", "RDF Site Summary", and maybe a few other things. Strange but true--it stands for more than one thing.

» What is the format of an RSS or Atom file?

There are a few different versions of RSS, which fall into two groups, one which is "RDF' based and another which is not. The latest RDF based version is 1.0. The latest non-RDF version is 2.0.

The first widely deployed version of Atom was 0.3. It has since been replaced by the version commonly referred to as "Atom 1.0", though officially it has no version number.

» Which version is better?

Speaking of RSS, the RDF-based version is quite a bit more complex, but if you want to do more complex things with it, it gives you ways to do them. The non-RDF based version focuses more on easily doing everything that RSS was originally designed to do, with some natural extensions.

Personally, I prefer 2.0 over 1.0, because to me, RSS is about simplicity, but it all depends on what you want to do with it. For more of my thoughts on RSS, visit Info Bite.

Atom is between RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0 in complexity. Technically, it is far superior to RSS 2.0.

While RSS 1.0 has technical features not available in Atom, most people don't yet have much use for the extra features. Since Atom 1.0 is quite a bit simpler than RSS 1.0, and was built based on experience gained from using all versions of RSS, I recommend using Atom 1.0 except in cases where required data is not available. In those cases, I recommend using RSS 2.0.

Alpha Gecko
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