Use RSS to Future-proof your Web Site


RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” but some folks call it “Really Saying Something.”

Link to an overview of the code involved in RSS.

Here is how the RSS system works:

The site owner updates their site (or Blog). They also update an XML (sometimes an RSS) file at the same time.

The XML/RSS file contains a summary and link to the updated file.

Then, the people who have subscribed to this RSS feed receive notice in their RSS Reader Software.

RSS is important to future-proofing your Website because you do not have to rely on visitors...

  • First, Bookmarking your site
  • Second, Remembering to check their bookmarks
  • Third, clicking on the bookmark to return to your site
  • Fourth, searching your site for changes and updates (Unless, of course, you have a listing of al site changes on your home page.) :-)

Relying on visitors bookmarking your site so that they can return does not make it easy for them to remember to come back. Using RSS brings them back when you have added new content, made changes or built updates.

Of course, the downside of RSS is that if your site is static, your visitors will know. If no RSS feeds arrive, they will forget your site. But, they would have done that anyway.

RSS is also superior to E-mail reminders about site updates. The reason that RSS is better is that the notice about the site update gets past SPAM filters. (Since RSS is not E-mail, it cannot be caught by E-mail filters.)

The reason that RSS is a future-proofing technology is that some browsers already do the consolidating and reading of RSS, and all new browser versions are expected to have this capacity.

Browsers with this capacity include:

  • Apple™ OSX Safari
  • Firefox™
  • Opera™
  • Netscape™
  • Internet Explorer™ Version 7.0 (Soon to be released, maybe?) :-)
  • Several other small-time browsers

Competing RSS Standards

There are several RSS Standards, and improvements continue to emerge.

There are standards RSS 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 1.0 (RDF) and 2.0. There is also a competing standard called “Atom.” All these versions are slightly different, but readers are beginning to read them all.

If you are creating your own feed, you might focus upon RSS 1.0, for the most compatibility.

One of the most highly rated RSS Readers is FeedDemon: (Link to WWW.FeedDemon.Com)

However, you can obtain a free, online RSS Reader at My.Yahoo.com

This site contains several RSS software programs. Here are the links.

Links to information about other Technologies on this site.