1/30/2009

ABC News on Rss

What Is RSS?

Depending on who you ask, RSS stands for either "Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication." But no matter what it's called, RSS is a new way to publish information online.

At the heart of the technology is special Web coding, called XML, that has been widely developed by the global online community over the past few years.

The XML code for RSS describes a new type of Web information called a "news feed." Essentially, the feeds can contain a summary and links of the new content on a Web site or anything else a creator desires to share. A company may publish an RSS feed that contains news of its latest products, for example.

Anyone — an online surfer or another Web site — can pick up the RSS codes and with the appropriate Web software display the information automatically.

The concept is similar to how a newswire service operates: Information published by one news organization can be "syndicated" — picked up and displayed — by any other news organization.

What Does RSS Mean for Site Publishers?

Through syndication, online content creators have a much easier way to get their information published and seen. For instance, a Web surfer who sees an RSS feed — say a ticker of top news stories — on one site might click on the content, which in turn drives more traffic back to the original Web site.

RSS can also be a way for Web sites to retain "loyalty" among visitors. By supplying the RSS code on the Web site, visitors can "subscribe" to the feed and automatically receive updates on their personal computers of new content on the site.

Such an RSS feed will free content creators from creating and sending e-mail reminders — many of which may be stopped by anti-spam filters.

Why Would Ordinary Web Users Like RSS?

For Web surfers, the advantages of RSS are quite simple: They save time and bandwidth.

Instead of remembering to visit a favorite Web site, the news comes directly into your computer daily or at whatever interval you want.

What's more, most RSS feeds contain just links, headlines, or brief synopsis of new information only. That means the small amount of Web data can be sent to any XML-compatible device — a cell phone, pager, or handheld computer — without a lengthy download process.

More importantly, RSS gives you control over receiving information you want without revealing information about yourself. Unlike subscribing to an e-mail newsletter, you never have to give out your e-mail address with an RSS feed. That avoids the possibility of receiving spam or unwanted junk e-mail from the Web site.

Which Online Sites Use RSS?

Almost all technology-oriented Web sites offer RSS feeds to satisfy the crowds of computer savvy users online.

You'll also find some Weblogs — or online diaries — also offer RSS feeds.

You can view ABCNews.com's RSS headlines by clicking the appropriate links at the top of this page.

What Do I Need to Receive RSS Feeds?

First, you need a feed reader. Performing a search for "RSS Feed Readers" in any major online search engine such as Google or Yahoo! will produce a bundle of software options — many of which are free or at little cost.

Once you've obtained a feed reader, subscribing to an RSS feed is as simple as looking for the appropriate feed link. Most Web sites that publish an RSS feed will display a tiny orange box or button labeled "RSS" or "XML."

Click the feed link you are interested in and your Web browser typically goes to a page of cryptic XML code. No worries, just copy the Web "address" or URL of that page and plug it into your feed reader. The software will then automatically retrieve and display that site's latest information.

1/18/2009

Yahoo! Pipes a Dream Come True for RSS Marketers ... and a Huge Threat

Posted by Rok Hrastnik in RSS Latest News


A Marketer's Dream Come True

Robin Good must be licking his fingers right now. In an interview we did back in February 2005 we discussed RSS NewsMastering, the act of ...

taking multiple RSS feeds, search engine results and other content sources,
mixing and aggregating them together,
filtering the results with the keywords pertaining to your interests,
and creating a highly relevant and automatically updated content resource on a specific topic, pulling content from dozens, hundreds or thousands of content sources around the globe.
This was a dream come true for marketers, enabling them to ...

enrich the visitor experience on their websites to increase visitor loyalty and visit frequency, by automatically providing visitors access to the latest and most relevant focused content in your industry, without having to actually write the content yourself;
make your website more relevant to the search engines for your top keywords;
become a prime access point for key influencers looking for latest and most relevant news in your industry;
conduct business intelligence easier and quicker than before, constantly knowing what the market is saying about you, about your competitors, what your competitors are doing and so on.
The only problem back then was that applications offering NewsMastering capabilities were few and far between. Things started improving with FeedDigest, mySyndicaat, Feed Rinse, Ning and others, but with farily limited functionalities.

Yahoo! Pipes Offering NewsMastering on Steroids

But today Yahoo! changed everything with its launch of Yahoo! Pipes.

The general idea behind Yahoo! Pipes is to allow its users to "easily" connect various internet data sources, mix them together in various ways, add additional functionality to them and create a new single output, pertaining directly to your settings.

In simpler words ...

Select various online content sources, RSS feeds or others
Define your own rules on how you want to use these different content sources
Create an output that matches your needs
While this may sound alot like the standard RSS aggregation & filtering tools we mentioned above, it actually goes much further than anything on the market in enabling you to manipulate outside sources and come up with a new content output, all of this in a visual programming environment.

The "old services" simply allowed you to combine various RSS feeds, set some basic rules on how you want to get content from them, such as limiting the output to only the content items that match your keywords and removing duplicates, and get a new single RSS feed from them. You could then subscribe to this RSS feed in your RSS Reader (for business intelligence purposes) or use it to display its contents on your website.

But Yahoo! Pipes goes much further.

[BTW - in the Yahoo! Pipes glossary, a pipe is an output you create from mixing and manipulating various content sources]

Aggregate and Filter any XML Feed

Aggregate any kind of XML feed, not just RSS, which means that if your application provides an XML data output, you can now aggregate that data feed with other different feeds you might be interested in, and create a single RSS feed that you can subscribe to in your RSS Reader. Just as an example, imagine having an RSS feed that brings you various data from your organization in a single output, such as the latest sales data from your webstore, latest account of company expenses, notifications of new employees, important team communications, your website visitor counts and so on. It even lets you combine other pipes into a new single pipe.

Content Manipulation

Apply various filters, such as a keyword content filter to give you only the content you're interested in, sort, count, truncate, join or even create your own filters. It even lets you add your own input fields. For example, you could create a pipe that aggregates all the RSS feeds from top online retailers, and include an input field that allows you to enter the name of the product you want the latest deals on, and then creates an on-the-fly output with the latest deals for this product. Essentially, it allows you to add simple or advanced search functionalities to filter out only the content you're really interested in ... from hundreds or even thousands of content sources.

Social Applications

Browse through pipes created by other users to either use them as an end-user, or use their pipes to create your own new pipes. It of course also allows you to make your own pipes public and even provide them as a service to end-users.
There are really almost countless opportunities of what you can do with Yahoo! Pipes, and various new applications will surface when the service gets some milage.

The best part is, you can either create your own application that you use when the need arises from the Web, or an RSS feed that you subscribe to in your RSS Reader, to constantly deliver to you the content that you want. Or you can use the RSS feed to display that content on your website.

All of this is done through a visual interface, which might be daunting for the average user, but shouldn't present a problem to marketers that either have the time to learn the ropes or pay a little something to a person that already has.

How Marketers Will Profit from Yahoo! Pipes

If you're thinking of how you can profit from Yahoo! Pipes as a marketer, there really are countless opportunities.

Provide highly relevant streams of content on your website to enrich the visitor experience.
Become a preferred access point to relevant and latest content in your industry.
Build applications that allow your visitors to easily access the content they're interested in.
Take your business intelligence activities to the next level.
And much much more ...

With all the capabilities available through Yahoo! Pipes, countless new opportunities will certainly arise quickly.

The best part is, you can now more easily take advantage of them.

Threats for Marketers

But while Yahoo! Pipes makes the NewsMastering process increadibly easy, it also comes with as many threats for marketers.

Mass Syndication of Your Content

RSS by itself already made syndication of your RSS content easy.
While you may (and should) be happy about easily spreading your content to help you generate more credibility, brand recognition and traffic from other sources, Yahoo! Pipes will bring these syndication levels to a whole new level. It will make it easy for anyone to access just individual content items from your RSS feeds through countless applications, putting your content entirely out of your content context and brand context.

Your website and your own stream of content as a whole will start mattering less and less, since individual pieces of your content will start being increasingly syndicated more than your content as a whole.

There is now immediately more potential for just a single piece of your content to get more readership and reach than all of your content combined together. In many cases this may be good, but it also means that this decreases the number of total touch-points you will have with your audiences.

It might mean more exposure for a single piece of content, but much less exposure to the entire universe of your content, making audience loyalty and conversion even more difficult to achieve.

Mass Manipulation of Your Content

But it's not just about syndication. Yahoo! Pipes actually allows users to further manipulate your content items, for example removing your links, calls to action, advertising or mixing your content with other content sources. While you may want to syndicate your content as widely as possible, you will now need to invest special care to also protect your content more.

Easy Access

And finally, Yahoo! Pipes will provide easy access to NewsMastering and other capabilities to practically everyone. It hasn't been that difficult before, but with the success Yahoo! Pipes is likely to achieve, these capabilities will now be in the hands of many many more people.

On one side this means that if you were counting on NewsMastering to enrich your visitor experience, the power of this approach will be greatly reduced since so many other companies and even end-users will be able to provide the same or do the same for themselves. It means losing your unique position. It also means that influencers that would otherwise perhaps come to your website for their daily dose of latest content will now be able to create the same functionalities by themselves.

But it also creates an even easier way for abusers to abuse your content. It's now even easier to steal your content and display it on a different website for various purposes.

Am I overexaturating?

Certainly, the possibilities are here, but it remains to be seen how much penetration this service will achieve and who is going to use it.

Additional News, Comments and Resources

Yahoo! Pipes really is the most talked about online subject right now.

Here are some additional selections to get more information and different views:

TechMeme - Access all the latest conversations and blog posts about Yahoo! Pipes
O'Reilly Radar - An extended discussion on how Yahoo! Pipes is the most revolutionary internet development as of late
ZDNet Photo Galleries - Yahoo! Pipes screenshots
flashpoint - Good examples of possible Yahoo! Pipes applications
Anil Dash - An excellent look at Yahoo! Pipes
Niall Kennedy - Yahoo! Pipes threats for publishers, and more

1/11/2009

RSS Top 10

Top Ten RSS Resources


RSS Specifications
rss blog, general information and rss articles

FeedForAll
tutorials, free rss2html script and free button generator

RSS Compedium
list of resources

FeedBurner
free hosting services

Harvard Law
specifications and RSS version history

Marketing Studies
educational blog and RSS articles

Lockergnome RSS Resource
long established blog

MNot RSS Tutorial
features and benefits tutorial

Userland
articles and history

Make RSS Feeds
instructional site

RSS Tools
collection of RSS tools and an instructional site

1/09/2009

What Is This RSS, XML, RDF, and Atom Business? And how they impact the newsletter biz

It's been a long day at work and you're in no mood to cook dinner or go out. Time to count on the reliable pizza delivery guy. The order is called in and he promptly arrives with smokin' hot pizza within 30 minutes as promised. If it were only that easy with a picky family where no one can agree on the same restaurant for dinner. One wants Mexican, another wants Chinese, and another wants a burger and Mexican. Instead of running to three different places, you call a delivery service that goes to all of them and brings it to you. What could be easier in getting a meal without cooking it or fetching it?

RSS, XML, RDF, and Atom are the food delivery guy of the Internet. The content they deliver is mixed and cooked elsewhere on the Internet just like the meal isn't made on your door step and the acronym fellows bring the content to you via software or an online application. Instead of trying to remember all the places where you like to go to get the latest news, it all comes to you once you order your food.

What to Do with the Funky Code

Click on any of those orange or blue RSS, XML, or RDF buttons and you see unreadable text. Some of it is readable, but reading between the is slow and difficult. In this case, you've got the raw ingredients of the content known as a feed. To make it easily readable, download a feed reader that can interpret (aggregate) the ingredients or sign up for an online service that can do the same.

When the software or application is ready to go, click on the orange or blue button (or "Syndicate This Page," or whatever is along these lines) and copy the resulting URL from the address box. Paste it into the application to cook the ingredients where it's delivered to you ready for your enjoyment. Lockergnome offers step-by-step instructions to making this happen.

Syndication Isn't Just for Blogs

Syndication is a not a new concept on the Internet, but it's growing in popularity as more Web sites and newsletters are churning content to turn it into syndicated files, which are fed into an aggregator. Think of it as the content that's ready to travel anywhere it needs to go. Grab the feed and feed it to the aggregator, another way of bookmarking (or creating a favorite) a site because you wish to come back again another time. But how often did you go back to the site through your bookmarks / favorites?

I don't use bookmarks often, but I regularly use the aggregator. Instead of schlepping from site to site in search of information, I have it all in front of me via the aggregator. The feeds are sorted in folders by topic for easy finding. If I'm writing about the latest virus or worm, then I open the security folder with the security-related feeds and scan them. Scanning content through aggregators is easier than on a Web site because it's in one folder with headlines and maybe a short summary. On a Web site, you're only getting the benefit of that site's news and no where else. The folder has news from over ten resources including blogs, news sites, and newsletters.

Any content can be syndicated. It's a matter of having the backend process in place, which is dependent on the application used for managing the content. If a site doesn't have such resources, then there is software for entering content to create a file with the feed for posting on the site.

Most aggregators have exporting capabilities so the feed can be shared with others interested in the same topic. If you're interested in my security feeds, I can export them into, in most cases, an OPML file and you can import it into your aggregator.

So What Does This Have to Do with Newsletters?

Spam filters are preventing readers from getting newsletters or they get lost in the spam pool. Offering a feed for the newsletter is a compromise. Readers can get the content, only instead of it coming to the email box, it comes through the aggregator. It's a way around spam. Like everything else, it has its advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

* Filters can't stop the newsletter from reaching its destination.

* The recipient will get it - if the server is down, it'll download next time and email can get lost.

* The feed can be syndicated providing more exposure for your content.

Disadvantages:

* Rely on readers to open aggregators like they open email client, but some aggregators are built-in with an email client like NewsGator and there are online aggregators like Bloglines, which can be your home page.

* Metrics won't be as complete, but it's still there through the links (this is changing as we get more tools).

* Not as pretty as HTML-based newsletters.

If the feed is automatically created, what have you got to lose? You're providing another way for your readers to get your content just like you can get pizza in different ways: go to the restaurant, have it delivered, or make it at home. More applications are adding syndication capabilities, which make the process effortless. Some have said they won't read something unless it has a feed.

As for looks, already I've seen an example of a feed getting styled and that capability will be available for everyone soon enough.

Syndication works better than bookmarks. With bookmarks, you click on a site that might have the security information and arrive there to find it doesn't. So, back to the bookmarks to click on another site. Lather, rinse, repeat. With aggregators, there is no jumping from site to site. Scan the headlines right there until you find what you need.

There was a time when we didn't have the option to have pizza delivered to our doorstep. When we're too tired, we know we can rely on the delivery guy. In term of content, expect to see it show up at your doorstep more often than the pizza guy plus it's cheaper with the cost only coming from the software though there are many free options available. Syndication is here to stay and should be added to a company's communication toolbox rather than as a replacement. Witness it by watching for RSS, XML, RDF, and Atom out there

1/07/2009

RSS Main Page

From GPO Access


What is RSS?


RSS, which is an acronym that stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, allows users to keep updated on frequently changing content. RSS employs an XML-based structure that includes a title, date, brief description, and a link to the full text of content. RSS can be used to automatically deliver lists, or feeds, of noteworthy content and descriptive information to users who subscribe to a feed. Feeds can be read through a program called a news reader or aggregator, which can be found through the following DMOZ Open Directory Project.

How can I receive RSS feeds from GPO?

To begin receiving RSS feeds from GPO, you must first download and install a news reader or news aggregator that translates RSS code into a format that is easily under stood by users. Most browsers do not render RSS, instead they display the RSS code. Links to numerous news readers are available from the DMOZ Open Directory Project.

How do I subscribe to a feed?

Once you have downloaded and installed your news reader, the next step is to subscribe to a feed. Different news aggregators provide varying methods for subscribing to feeds, but the following instructions typically work for most readers.

A small "XML" button will be used to indicate the presence of a feed. Click on this button, or the accompanying link. Most browsers will display the XML source code. The URL of the feed will be displayed in your browser's address bar. Copy the URL and then copy it again into the "Add New Feed" portion of your news reader. The feed should now show up in your news reader. Your news reader is now configured to automatically display new updates to the feed.

What feeds are available from GPO?

GPO Access: What's New: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/rss/whatsnew.xml.

1/03/2009

History of RSS

RSS was first invented by Netscape. They wanted to use an XML format to distribute news, stories and information. Netscape refined the version of rss and then dropped it. Userland Software to control of the specficiation and continued to develop it releasing a newer version. A non-commercial group picked up RSS at the same time and based on their interpretation of the Netscape's original concept of RSS they too released a new version. UserLand was not happy with the non-commercial version and continued development of their own version of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), eventually UserLand released RSS v2.

Another View of the History of RSS
What is the history of RSS?

The history of RSS can be traced back to 1997, and the creation of Resource Description Framework. Resource Description Framework is also known as RDF. RDF was created by a man named, Ramanathan V. Guha. RDF is similar to RSS.

The mark up language RDF, was used to store metadata. Metadata is basically information about information, for example if there is an article or a news report, the metadata would be the author, the language, the copyright and all of the information related to the article or news report. In 1999 Netscape created a standard named RSS version 0.90. This was the beginning of RSS as we know it today. Dan Libby, an employee of Netscape improved version 0.90 and released RSS version 0.91. Dave Winer, an employee at Userland also created a new version of RSS. He too named it, RSS version 0.91, creating confusion, because the two versions of RSS were named the same but the specifications were slightly different. Unfortunately this was the beginning of a trend.

Netscape's RSS team abandoned RSS development, because it was dubbed too complicated for what they were trying to accomplish. Meanwhile Rael Dornfest at O'Reily released RSS version 1.0. The new specification by O'Reily was based on the RDF standard rather than the previous versions of RSS. RSS 1.0 was incompatible with previous RSS versions. The specification caused significant marketplace confusion because though RSS 1.0 had the same purpose as the 0.90 series, the specifications were very different. In an attempt to minimize further confusion Userland named their next release RSS version 2.0. RSS 2.0 is very similar to the 0.9 series and is generally considered compatible, while RSS Version 1.0 remains very different.

Harvard Law accepted responsibility for the RSS 2.0 specification because Dave Winer of Userland, found that competitors were leary of using the standard he had a hand in creating. In order for the specification to be endorsed by all it was donated to a non-commercial third party, Harvard Law school. Harvard Law is now responsible for the future development of the RSS 2.0 specification. What is XML? XML or eXtensible Markup Language is a mark up language.

RSS History

There are a lot of folk legends about the evolution of RSS.

Here's the scoop, the sequence of events in the life of RSS, as told by the designer of most of the formats.

scriptingNews format, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/27/97.


RSS 0.90, designed by Netscape, for use with my.netscape.com, which also supported scriptingNews format. The only thing about it that was RDF was the header, otherwise it was plain garden-variety XML. 3/15/99.


scriptingNews 2.0b1, designed by DW at UserLand, enhanced to include all the features in RSS 0.90. Privately DW urged Netscape to adopt the features in this format that weren't present in RSS 0.90. 6/15/99.


RSS 0.91, designed by Netscape, spec written by Dan Libby, includes most features from scriptingNews 2.0b1. "We're trying to move towards a more standard format, and to this end we have included several tags from the popular format." The RDF header is gone. 7/10/99.


UserLand adopts RSS 0.91, deprecates scriptingNews formats. 7/28/99.


The RSS team at Netscape evaporates.


UserLand's RSS 0.91 specification. 6/4/00.


RSS 1.0 published as a proposal, worked on in private by a group led by Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly. Based on RDF and uses namespaces. Most elements of previous formats moved into modules. Like 0.90 it has an RDF header, but otherwise is a brand-new format, not related to any previous format. 8/14/00.


RSS 0.92, which is 0.91 with optional elements, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/25/00.


RSS 0.93 discussed but never deployed. 4/20/01.


MetaWeblog API merges RSS 0.92 with XML-RPC to provide a powerful blogging API. 3/14/02.


RSS 2.0, which is 0.92 with optional elements, designed by DW, after leaving UserLand. MetaWeblog API updated for RSS 2.0. While in development, this format was called 0.94. 9/18/02.


RSS 2.0 spec released through Harvard under a Creative Commons license. 7/15/03.


On July 15, 2003, UserLand Software transferred ownership of its RSS 2.0 specification to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

serLand is a leading developer of tools that produce and consume RSS, and originator of the RSS 2.0 specification. The specification, which was previously copyrighted, is now licensed under terms that allow it to be customized, excerpted and republished, using the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license.

The UserLand disclaimer and copyright is archived on the Harvard website; however it now no longer applies to the RSS 2.0 specification. Since UserLand specifically disclaimed ownership of the format that the specification describes, no transfer took place on the format itself.

An independent advisory board has been formed to broaden the public understanding of the uses and benefits of RSS, and to guide developers who create RSS applications. The initial members of the board are Dave Winer, Berkman fellow and author of the RSS 2.0 spec; Jon Udell, lead analyst for InfoWorld and columnist for the O'Reilly Network; and Brent Simmons of Ranchero Software, author of NetNewsWire, a leading RSS-based application.

Other versions of the history of RSS

Web RSS History - History of the RSS Fork for a political history, and RSS Links for the evolution of some of the specific technical features.

RSS History

RSS 2.0 at Harvard Law
Internet technology hosted by Berkman Center
RSS History


Tuesday, April 6, 2004

There are a lot of folk legends about the evolution of RSS. Here's the scoop, the sequence of events in the life of RSS, as told by the designer of most of the formats.

scriptingNews format, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/27/97.


RSS 0.90, designed by Netscape, for use with my.netscape.com, which also supported scriptingNews format. The only thing about it that was RDF was the header, otherwise it was plain garden-variety XML. 3/15/99.


scriptingNews 2.0b1, designed by DW at UserLand, enhanced to include all the features in RSS 0.90. Privately DW urged Netscape to adopt the features in this format that weren't present in RSS 0.90. 6/15/99.


RSS 0.91, designed by Netscape, spec written by Dan Libby, includes most features from scriptingNews 2.0b1. "We're trying to move towards a more standard format, and to this end we have included several tags from the popular format." The RDF header is gone. 7/10/99.


UserLand adopts RSS 0.91, deprecates scriptingNews formats. 7/28/99.


The RSS team at Netscape evaporates.


UserLand's RSS 0.91 specification. 6/4/00.


RSS 1.0 published as a proposal, worked on in private by a group led by Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly. Based on RDF and uses namespaces. Most elements of previous formats moved into modules. Like 0.90 it has an RDF header, but otherwise is a brand-new format, not related to any previous format. 8/14/00.


RSS 0.92, which is 0.91 with optional elements, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/25/00.


RSS 0.93 discussed but never deployed. 4/20/01.


MetaWeblog API merges RSS 0.92 with XML-RPC to provide a powerful blogging API. 3/14/02.


RSS 2.0, which is 0.92 with optional elements, designed by DW, after leaving UserLand. MetaWeblog API updated for RSS 2.0. While in development, this format was called 0.94. 9/18/02.


RSS 2.0 spec released through Harvard under a Creative Commons license. 7/15/03.