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RSS Feed Now Available

After putting it off for too long, I've created an RSS feed for this site. Better late than never.

For those of you unfamiliar with RSS, here's an overview:

Think about all of the information that you access on the Web on a day-to-day basis; news headlines, search results, "What's New", job vacancies, and so forth. A large amount of this content can be thought of as a list...

Most people need to track a number of these lists, but it becomes difficult once there are more than a handful of sources. This is because they have to go to each page, load it, remember how it's formatted, and find where they last left off in the list.

RSS is an XML-based format that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, or metadata, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link.

RSS allows peoples' computers to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists they're interested in can be tracked and personalized for them. It is a format that's intended for use by computers on behalf of people, rather than being directly presented to them (like HTML).

To enable this, a Web site will make an RSS feed, or channel, available, just like any other file or resource on the server. Once a feed is available, computers can regularly fetch the file to get the most recent items on the list. Most often, people will do this with an aggregator, a program that manages a number of lists and presents them in a single interface.

RSS can also be used for other kinds of list-oriented information, such as syndicating the content itself (often weblogs) along with the links.

The full version of the overview and the accompanying tutorial can be found here. Comparisons of RSS aggregators can be found here and here.

For those of you who are RSS experts, I have a couple of questions:

  • My RSS feed appears properly in AmphetaDesk, but doesn't validate using Dave Winer's RSS Validator, which is supposedly for RSS 0.9x. Given that Blogger automatically generates my RSS, is there anything I can do about this? Should I worry about it at all?
  • What is the accepted style of blog entries in RSS feeds? Blogger offers three choices: titles only, titles with short text-only summaries, or full entries. Many blogs I've seen seem to use the full entry style (in which the entire blog, images and all, is included in the feed), but this would seem to defeat part of the purpose of RSS feeds, which is to summarize.
Enjoy!

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