Sunday, January 30, 2005

RSS Aggregators - The better way to read blogs

I've had several conversations with different people recently about RSS and RSS aggregators like bloglines. I thought I'd post a summary of info about these things in case any of you reading this are interested in making your blog reading easier and more enjoyable.

First, what is RSS?

RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a family of XML-based communications standards with the following members:

Functionally, RSS (pronounced "arr-ess-ess") is a web syndication protocol primarily used by news websites and weblogs.

Second, what is an RSS aggregator?

A program known as an RSS aggregator or feed reader can check RSS-enabled webpages on behalf of a user and display any updated articles that it finds.

Why should you care? RSS saves users from having to repeatedly visit favorite websites to check for new content or be notified of updates via email.

See the RSS entry in the wikipedia for more info if you'd like to dig deeper.

RSS aggregators come in two basic flavors. The first is is an application that sits on your desktop (tied to a specific computer) and aggregates your RSS feeds and presents them to you. The second type is web sites that act as your aggregator and when you sign in to them (doesn't matter what computer you're using) the web site will present your RSS feeds to you. I'm a big fan of the second type of RSS aggregator because the web version is available anywhere. You can check your feeds from work, home and other computers if you're traveling.

For the most comprehensive list of RSS aggregators I've seen see this wikipedia page. The RSS aggregator I use is It's very easy to register and subscribe to your feeds.

How do I subscribe to a feed? Most sites that provide an RSS feed will have an image link on the page that looks like this . If you find this link simply copy the link location or address and enter that in your RSS tool for the link feed location. If you don't find a link like this try just putting the URL of the blog in as the location or address of the feed.

In the case of my blog you can use either

Have fun. Let me know if you have any problems setting this up.

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