|RSS FEEDS EXPLAINED|
What is a RSS Feed? A RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed is basically the format/protocol used to publish webpages
that are frequently updated. They are used mainly on Blogs, Forums and Websites. The idea is that instead of going to so
many different News blogs, forums and/or websites for example, to check on their latest news stories, you simply join
(subscribe to) their RSS Feed instead (i.e. their frequently updated News blog page, forum page or web page). Or put
another way, you add their News Feed (News blog page, News forum page or News web page) to your List Of RSS Feeds - This
is done in roughly the same way as adding a webpage to your List Of Internet Favorites.
So a Feed is actually a document (webpage) that has the necessary format/protocol information inside it for you to be able to download and view, in Internet Explorer, the latest News pages you have subscribed to. All without you needing to go to those individual pages. Do not worry if you still do not get what a RSS Feed is!!....It will become clear from the example I am going to show you.
To add a RSS Feed to Internet Explorer, in roughly the same way as an Internet Favorite, you first need a RSS Feed to
subscribe to. RSS Feeds are normally free to subscribe to (I have yet to see one you have to Pay-For) and are denoted by
their Orange, RSS, icon. I have mentioned News as an example but a RSS Feed could be about Audio/Video, Cookery or what
ever the blog, forum or website is about. Saying this though. In this example I am going to subscribe to the BBC News rss
feed just to give you a better understanding of what a RSS Feed is.
Begin by going to http://www.bbc.co.uk/feedfactory/feedfinder.shtml. This is the BBC's rss feed finder/search webpage that allows you to search/find for a particular rss feed. In this example you should just click on their main NEWS (rolled up Newspaper) RSS Feeds link/icon to view the available News RSS Feeds, because as a beginner you do not know what to find/expect. Their NEWS (rolled up Newspaper) RSS Feeds link/icon takes you to their news sub-feeds webpage.
When you get to the NEWS Sub-Feeds webpage you will see the actual NEWS rss feeds that are available, listed in the center
of the webpage. They are denoted by their orange, RSS, icon which is one of the orange icons internationally adopted for
rss feeds. Meaning. Web designers may use different icons if they wish, but they would not be following
"The Standard / The Norm". In this example click on the link called BBC NEWS LATEST PUBLISHED STORIES to continue.
Clicking on the BBC NEWS LATEST PUBLISHED STORIES link will take you to its actual RSS Feed, below. Remember. At the end of the day an actual RSS Feed is only a webpage with rss formatted/protocoled coding/instructions inside it, that tells internet explorer how to find and display the frequently updated content (i.e. the News Headlines).
At this moment you are only viewing the rss feed (content: News Headlines) as an onlooker (Fig 1.2 above). In order to subscribe to the rss feed (add it to your List Of RSS Feeds in internet explorer) you need to click on its SUBSCRIBE TO THIS FEED link (above) and then on the SUBSCRIBE button of the Subscribe window that follows.
The subscribe window has the same layout and functionality as the window used for adding a website/webpage to internet
explorer's Favorites. You may of noticed the internet explorer Favorites (Plus and Star) icon to the left of the
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS FEED link (Fig 1.2 above). If you have read the Internet Favorites Explained
section you will know how to use the Subscribe window. If not, I would suggest you read that section as it gives examples
on how to Add, Delete and Organise your Favorites - All applicable to adding, deleting and organising your FEEDS. In this
example (Fig 1.3 above) just click on the SUBSCRIBE button to continue.
As mentioned earlier. The orange, RSS, icon is one of the icons internationally adopted for rss feeds. The other is the, more recognized, internationally adopted orange icon with the wireless-signal (waves) on it. As seen on the Subscribe window above and in internet explorer's FEEDS button in the Favorites Center.
If you want to rename the name already given to the rss feed, by its owner, you should type your new name into the NAME Edit Box. And if you want to create a new folder for the rss feed (the folder the rss feed (webpage) will be put inside) you should click on the NEW FOLDER button and then type a name for it inside the FOLDER NAME Edit Box, as exampled below.
Once you have subscribed to a rss feed its content is updated, if new content is available, and you then have the option to view your feeds via the VIEW MY FEEDS link (below). This link just opens up the FEEDS preview, which is the same as you clicking on the Favorites Center (star) button on internet explorer and then clicking on the FEEDS button (not exampled here).
In the above example the top of the webpage (rss feed) has been updated with another News Headline, which I would expect from a News rss feed, but if I scroll down the webpage (Fig 1.8 below) I can see that in total two more News Headlines have been added. That means two more News Headlines were added to the News rss feed in only the short time it took me to subscribe to the News rss feed. Imagine if I had waited another twenty minutes.....Perhaps the average would be 12 News Headlines per hour.....times ten hours would be 120 News Headlines in my day. More than enough for one day!
Normally a website owner creates a "Links" web page that has links to other peoples websites/web pages on it. You then
look down that list of website/web page links and click on one you like in order to view its content. This is quite normal
but a little old fashioned now. These days it is better to subscribe to a RSS Feed. That way you do not have to go through
a list of website/web page links, because internet explorer will automatically check those websites/web pages for you and
tell you if any of them have had their content updated recently.
With the BBC News rss feed for example internet explorer displayed the new content (new News Headlines) automatically. This is because the BBC are constantly updating the content (News Headlines) in their News rss feed (webpage). All internet explorer does when it finds new content is download it for you - When you open the News rss feed (webpage) internet explorer first checks it for new content and downloads any new content it finds. The same would apply to a Cookery website - If they had a webpage (rss feed) with a list of recipes on it, that were updated with new recipes every day, internet explorer would check that list of recipes to see if any new recipes have been added. Behind the scenes the website/webpage author is constantly updating their rss feed (list/content), so that internet explorer can deliver (download) it to you immediately. This is especially true for News Headlines.
To view the story behind a news headline, that is listed in the News rss feed, simply click on its link. In the above example I have scrolled down to the news headline called TWO MORE ACTING NODS FOR WINSLET, which is also the link, and clicked on it.
To view the rss feeds you have subscribed to in the future simply click on the Favorites Center (star) button on internet explorer (Fig 1.10 below) and then select (left click on) the FEEDS button, if it is not already selected. From there you will see the folders created for the rss feeds (Fig 1.11) - Either created by Windows (i.e. the Microsoft Feeds folder) or by you (i.e. the News folder). Clicking on a folder opens it and allows you to see the available rss feeds (website/webpage links/files) inside it. In this example the BBC News rss feed. To view that rss feed you would simply click on BBC NEWS | LATEST PUBLISHED STORIES | UK ...
If you right click on a rss feed instead (Fig 1.12 below), to bring up its Options menu, and then select the PROPERTIES menu-item you will be able to configure/set the schedule at which new content (i.e. new News Headlines) is checked for. You do not need to worry about the other options (Fig 1.14) as they are default (normally used) options.
As said above. Organizing (deleting. adding. moving.) your RSS Feeds, in the List Of RSS Feeds (Common Feed List), is done in roughly the same way as Favorites. And remember. RSS Feeds are not restricted to News Headlines - Over time you should see more and more (cooking, hobby, sport and so on) website owners incorporating RSS Feeds. If you are one of those who is constantly checking out "The Latest" whatever on whatever websites you should see the benefits of RSS Feeds.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. As stated here by the Microsoft Corporation.