What Is RSS And How To Use It

RSS Feed

RSS is the next big thing after raised beds. I think it has something to do with Web 2.0, i.e. the next generation of the Internet.

You have all of these websites, that you visit again and again, because the content is updated periodically. I used to do this and waste a lot of time visiting sites that where not updated since my last visit.

When you use the RSS system you use a program (RSS feed reader), which presents you with a sort of custom “newspaper”, with updated content from your favorite websites only. The number of articles in this newspaper is different from day to day. It depends on how many websites you subscribe to in your RSS feed reader and how often they are updated. I use Google Reader as RSS feed reader, but there are many others. The good thing about Google Reader is that it is online, so I don’t need to be at home on my PC.

Most websites today allow you to fetch their new content with a RSS feed reader. Some provide the full blog post or article, and some only provide the headline and introduction.

Using a feed reader can be quite addictive since the content you’re reading is highly customized for you, and you know you don’t waste time visiting sleeping websites. Soon you’ll be adding websites to your reader like a madman, because the system is good and effective, so just remember to use it with caution, or it will start to consume more of your time than you really want it to.

In order to use Google Reader you need to have a Google account. Go to google.com and in the top choose “more” -> “Reader” -> “Create an account”. With your account you sign in to Google and open the Reader function:

Google Reader

On the left you add new RSS feeds and have an overview and on the right you have the content of the different websites fetched from all over the Internet and presented in your custom “newspaper”.

Here are a some examples of the particular address you put into your RSS reader in order to subscribe to a website:

http://happyfarming.com/feed/
http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/feed/
http://whenicomeupforair.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

often found behind a RSS logo button like on the front page of veggiegardentips.com

So the format can be very different. Sometimes websites have buttons for subscribing looking like this:

RSS Subscribe Buttons

Then you just press the “Add to Google” button to subscribe.

Please leave questions you may have regarding RSS in the comments and we’ll try to find the answers.

2 comments on “What Is RSS And How To Use It

  1. -

    A great blog page!

  2. -

    @Andy: Thanks! You can also get Twitter updates from the people you’re following on Twitter directly into your RSS reader. Or updates from web pages that are not blogs, but semi-static.

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