What is RSS?

What can you tell me about RSS and RSS feed? Here is what I understand about it. It is an XML representation of a web site. It is basically XML data.

I think a web browser can be configured to display the RSS in a manner such that a visitor to your web site can understand it contents.

Am I right?

Are there desktop applications that can read RSS feed and display them?

What can you tell me about RSS and RSS feed? Here is what I understand about it. It is an XML representation of a web site. It is basically XML data.

An RSS feed is a standardized method of data distribution. Its main purpose is to publish works that are updated often like blogs or news articles.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS for more infromation.

I think a web browser can be configured to display the RSS in a manner such that a visitor to your web site can understand it contents.

Several web browsers already support RSS feeds with built in methods of viewing them (Firefox, Safari and IE8 all do.)
If you happen to want an interface that can remain constant across several browsers though, Google Reader is a great web based RSS reader that handles your subscriptions to RSS feeds very well.

Are there desktop applications that can read RSS feed and display them?

Indeed there are.
RSSOwl is a free, open source, cross platform RSS reader that supports RSS 0.91, 1.0 and 2.0, RDF, and ATOM feeds.

I wouldn’t say that RSS is an “XML representation of a website”.

To use one of the meanings for RSS - Rich Site Summary - RSS is a “summary” of a site’s content.

To add to the confusion, there are several “flavors” of RSS.

For example, this forum has RSS version 0.91

and RSS version 2.0

Some browsers (yes - IE) will show the feed as an XML tree, but as Zarin Denatrose said, most modern browsers will show it in a more readable format, and there are many stand-alone readers.

To add to that…it’s usually just a recent summary. You won’t see the all of the site’s content in an RSS feed unless the site is very small.

I always considered the more appropriate name for RSS as Really Simple Syndication (rather than rich site summary which doesn’t describe it well as it’s not rich in the slightest). Basically RSS allows you to syndicate events and news via a subscription model so people can keep track of what’s going on within your business or site without needing to keep visiting the website and spending time out of their busy schedule. It’s a matter of convenience for the end user and actually promotes more people to keep in touch with your site. It’s also of special value in podcasting where episode releases can be automatically downloaded. :slight_smile:

PS: I see no-one here mentioned the equally supported competitor for RSS called Atom which supports a lot more elements and is of equal public awareness.

RSS are the syndications for our latest posts. People can visit your all posts without viewing your site’s home page.