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Thread: Help with RSS

  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Question Help with RSS

    Hi there. I am an ASP Classic developer and I need to learn more about RSS. As an experiment, I have already managed to create my own RSS feed (using RSSBuilder) and that's about it.

    How do people subscribe to the thread? What happend when they do? And most important, where can I find an RSS ticker that does NOT rely on PHP?

    Obviously I need to learn a lot more on the subject. Can someone please point me in the direction to go for more info on RSS and its application / uses.

    I am very grateful for all replies. Thanx.
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
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    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!

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    A RSS feed is an XML file, when someone "subscribes" they are telling their feed reader, either a separate app or built into their browser or from a script on a web page, to check that URL and get the contents it returns. Kind of like if you had multiple sites loaded into browser tabs that would load the sites when you opened the browser. In other words, you don't need to type in the HTTP request every time.

    There are RSS APIs for PHP, Ruby, and Javascript, and I'm sure there are some for ASP (and any other language) too, though I am unfamilliar with any.

  3. #3
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    RSS is a syndicated format, it means that a client will send an HTTP request every so often to check for new content displaying anything which has not been seen by the visitor (think like email and your on the right track). The purpose of these subscriptions allow people to see new information on a website without having to spend a lot of time revisiting websites as they can literally go through the threads of information in their reader like one of those newsgroup applications.

    To include the RSS feed within your website so it will be noticed by web browsers and clients alike (automatically detected and a button will appear for them to subscribe) you need to include something to the same effect as the following in the head of your document.

    Code HTML4Strict:
    <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS Feed" href="/feed/rss.xml">

    Most web browsers (IE7+ / Firefox / Opera / Chrome / Safari) all support detection and subscription to these feeds and will recognise instances of the RSS addition to the head of the page. Also worth noting is you can have unlimited RSS feeds (they will appear in a menu in browsers) if you want to have multiple things people can subscribe too, though the link needs to appear in every document for it to be consistant.

    PS: If you want to embed RSS in your website, you should be aware those ticker systems require some form of scripting to embed them.

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    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Thanx Alex & Mittineague for your responses.

    I have included the feed on my website. The browsers do recognise it. This I am okay with.

    Bearing in mind that I am really new to this, please excuse the simplicity of my questions.

    What does it mean if someone subscribes to the feed? Where do they see the new "news" items?

    When I click on the RSS logo in my browser, all I see are the items I have already read and I have to refresh (F5) to see the new content. I thought that maybe there was a way in which subscribers would be notified of new items? Maybe this is done in an email client?

    The other thing I am looking for is a script to include the content of my RSS feed into a website that will automatically pick up the latest content. Mittineague refers to a feed reader being built into a website - this is what I need (I think). I have looked for Ticker scripts (needed for one of my clients) but all those that I have seen so far rely on PHP and I need a solution which does not rely on PHP.

    I hope some of this makes sense and I appreciate any advise.

    Thanx in anticipation.
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
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    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    OK first things first, they will see the news items in whatever client they choose to use, whether that be their web browser, a special client, their email client (if it supports RSS) or something else. That is where all new items in a feed will appear.

    Next, subscribers are notified when new items appear, in your web browser in the RSS feed subscription list as soon as a new item is added when the browser or software checks for new items it will list how many unread items exist in that feed. They will see it, it just depends on what software they use to subscribe to how they see them (whether they see all posts or just the ones they have not read). The point of RSS is to allow people to read posts in their own time, not to get bugged by email about their subscription (though some clients do offer this functionality).

    If you want something that will add your RSS into your website you will need to use either a server-side scripting language or AJAX (This would be automatic but the problem is that you are then becoming reliant on JavaScript which makes your site obtrusive). Why in particular do you not want to use PHP? If you don't want to use PHP you could always use a different scripting language your site supports like ASP I guess.

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    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Alex, thanx for your reply. I think I get the subscription thing now. Will experiment a bit more to get the hang of it.

    As to using a server side scripting lanuage to read the feed, I have no problem with that. I work with ASP (Classic) and the platform my website is hosted on does not support PHP - hence my reluctance to rely on it.

    I am also very new to XML though I think I understand the basics. I have never read an XML file with ASP but if needs be I suppose I could create something. I just thought that there may be something (a sample perhaps) readily available. Even an article on how to do this would help.

    Thanx once again for your assistance.
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
    Web Mechanix
    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    First result in google for "read XML with ASP"

    http://www.stardeveloper.com/article...0072801&page=1


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    For RSS feeds I usually use FeedReader. I have it configured to hide read items, and to check for updates on start-up and every 1/2 hour. It keeps track of which items are read by using a database built into the app.

    In Firefox and Opera, I have them configured to show the latest 10 items. Some feeds may show more or less than that, but I will see only the latest 10 if there are more, already read or otherwise.

    For my PHP site I use cURL. I imagine ASP has cURL too no? WebRequest? System.Net?

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    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Thanx Alex & Mittineague for your responses. I have followed the link Alex passed on and also did the same search on Google and eventually ended up on xmlfiles.com where there seems to be everything I need to know about xml and rss.

    Guess what I'll be doing for the next week or so ...

    Once I know more about the basics, I will try out the products recommended by Mittineague.

    Thanx once again guys for pointing me in the right direction.
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
    Web Mechanix
    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!


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