Volume 2, Issue 10 - November 6, 2005

"Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a streamlined XML format designed for exchanging Web-based content across web sites automatically in real time. Because it updates itself as the content in question changes, it offers an immediacy to web site content that was heretofore unattainable on web sites. Originated by Radio UserLand in 1997 and utilized by Netscape early on in their NetCenter portal, RSS is now accessible to the masses. Most commonly used for blogging and podcasting, RSS is a web tool that may well spawn other dynamic uses of Web-based content in the future.

Until, recently interested Web surfers had to have a news aggregator in order to make use of RSS feeds. The explosion in blogging accelerated the need for browsers to be RSS capable, though, and most current browsers can handle RSS without any plugins or third party software. News aggregators are still a great tool if you want o host a blog on your own server or manage a large amount of RSS feeds to your desktop.

Because of the nature of the browser wars, there have been several different versions of RSS developed including a completely separate standard called RDF. At the present, RSS 1.0 is the standard with versions 2.0 and 1.1 being touted as potential successors. A Third alternative named Atom has also appeared in the mix, but it remains to be seen whether it will help standardize RSS or further fragment the Web community. While the techies among us continue to hash this out, educators as end users are beginning to see the advantages of RSS. Get to learn more about it in this week’s D12!."


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