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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Feed Validators

RSS Feed Validators determine if your feed is valid.

Feed Validator - This is a validator for syndicated feeds. It works with RSS 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 1.0, and 2.0. It also validates Atom feeds. If the validator finds any problems in your feed, it will give you messages for each type of problem and highlight where the problem first occurs in your feed. If you're unsure what a message means, click the "help" link next to the message for a fuller explanation.

RSS Validator - Feed validation service, enter the url and it would evaluate validity of feed RSS v9x validator.

W3C Validator - a free service that checks documents like HTML and XHTML for conformance to W3C Recommendations and other standards.

Redland RSS 1.0 Validator - Enter the address of an RSS 1.0 feed into the following form and it will be validated and formatted for display.

RSS 1.0 Validator - This prototype is based around a Schematron schema for validating RSS 1.0 by Leigh Dodds.

Subscribe to Feeds

How to subscribe to RSS Feeds:

In order to subscribe to an RSS feed or newsfeed you will need two things, an RSS reader (also known as a news aggregator) and url (web address) of the RSS feed that you wish to subscribe.

1.) Download a News Aggregator / RSS Reader

2.) Locate the web address (url) of the RSS feed (XML file) that you wish to subscribe.

A news aggregator or RSS reader is a software application that collects and displays news headlines and summaries from sources that you have designated.

An RSS feed is an XML document that contains the news headlines and summaries.

3.) Install the feed reader or news aggregator on the computer

4.) Insert the url of the news feed (there is usually an "add feed" button)

5.) Many of the news readers will allow you to set the interval that the software will look for a feed update others simply update daily.

6.) The information in the feed will be updated when the feed contains new content.

RSS News Aggregators

How News Aggregators / RSS Readers Work

1.) Websites summarize content in an RSS feed. (see FeedForAll a feed creation tool for help)

2.) Visitors download an RSS readers (aka news aggregator). There are generally two different types of RSS readers. The first kind of feed reader is a self contained program, the second kind of feed reader use a web browser. Many of the programs are free, but generally those that have a small fee are more robust.

3.) Visitors select the content and summaries they wish to view in a news aggregator or RSS reader. (news aggregator and rss reader are essentially interchangable).

4.) Content is added to the news reader by entering the url or web address of the XML file. Sites that have an RSS feed available typically have an orange rss or xml graphic like this - . Clicking on the graphic will provide the url of the feed. Some RSS readers will auto-detect an xml file on a site indicating that a feed is available. (assistance for those wanting to subscribe to rss feeds)

5.) Each time the feed is updated the content being viewed in the RSS reader indicates that there is new content. This insures that the customer has current information related to the topics they choose.

6.) Professionals estimate that RSS will soon rival email's popularity as a content delivery method.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Syndicate Your RSS

RSS has become the choice for delivering syndicated web content.

Have you ever wondered how some of the large news and content sites deliver their headlines?

Have you ever wanted to display news headlines?

Have you ever wanted to syndicate your own content?

RSS may be the answer you've been looking for.

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication (it depends on who you ask). RSS is a XML format specifically designed to share content. Netscape originally developed RSS to distribute news headlines and then abandoned the concept due to the lack of popularity. In recent years RSS has become the standard for content syndication.

RSS syndication has allowed for smaller content providers to gain exposure and increase their news and content distribution. The increased exposure has evened the playing field for content providers.

Consider syndicating your content if you wish to increase your exposure! Simply create RSS feeds and make the feeds available for syndication.

RSS Subscriptions

RSS Explained

It is important that you explain to website visitors what RSS is, why they may want to use it, and how to use it. The following information can be republished on web sites.

What is RSS?
RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds are an easy and efficient way to recieve notification when new information is available in a specific area of interest.

How Can I Benefit From RSS?
RSS feeds save time, allowing users to recieve notification only when new content is available. Web site visitors choose the information they wish to subscribe to and can unsubscribe from any feed at any point.

How Do I Subscribe to RSS Feeds?
First you will need an RSS feed reader (also called a news aggregator) there are a number of RSS readers available. A short list is available at

RSS readers are simply programs that display the contents of an RSS feed in an easy to read format.

Once you have an RSS reader you simply click the icon or a link to the RSS feed and paste it into your RSS reader. Some readers will auto detect the precense of an RSS feed on a website and you can optionally choose to subscribe.

RSS Uses

RSS started out with the intent of distributing news related headlines. The potential for RSS is significantly larger. Consider using RSS for the following:

New Homes - realtors can provide updated feeds of new home listings on the market

Job Openings - placement firms and newspapers can provide a classifieds feed of job vacancies

Auction Items - auction vendors can provide feeds containing items that have been recently added to ebay or other auction sites

Forum Headlines - support forums can provide a listing of new forum threads

Product Sales or Specials - one look at Amazon opens the mind to the endless product sale potential using RSS. Currently Amazon delivering a headline-view of the top 10 bestsellers in that category or set of search results.

Airlines - report flight delays

Schools - schools can relay homework assignments and quickly announce school cancellations.

Entertainment - listings of the latest tv programs or movies at local theatres

Press Distribution - feed for press with new releases

News & Announcements - headlines, notices and any list of announcements

Document listings - lists of added or changed pages, so that people don't need to constantly check for updates

Bookmarks and other external links - perfect for sharing lists of external links

Calendars - listings of past or upcoming events, deadlines or holidays

Law Enforcement - let the community know of location and status of sex offenders as they move into a community.

Search results - to let people track changing or new results to their searches

RSS in the Government - Site details how RSS is used by various government agencies

XML Basics

Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0

All RSS feeds must conform to XML v1 standards so lets take a quick look at XML Basics.

Extensible Mark-up Language or XML is a specification developed by the W3C. XML is a pared-down version of SGML or Standard Generalised Mark-Up Language, designed especially for Web documents. XML uses tags that describe the contents of the field. It is very similar to html but unlike html it allows designers to create their own customised tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

The design goals for XML were:

1. XML shall be straightforwardly
2. usable over the Internet.
3. XML shall support a wide variety of applications.
4. XML shall be compatible with SGML.
5. It shall be easy to write programs which process XML documents.
6. The number of optional features in XML is to be kept to the absolute minimum.
7. XML documents should be human-legible and reasonably clear. 8. The XML design should be prepared quickly.
9. The design of XML shall be formal and concise.
10. XML documents shall be easy to create.

more on XML Specifications

History of RSS

RSS was first invented by Netscape. They wanted to use an XML format to distribute news, stories and information. Netscape refined the version of rss and then dropped it. Userland Software to control of the specficiation and continued to develop it releasing a newer version. A non-commercial group picked up RSS at the same time and based on their interpretation of the Netscape's original concept of RSS they too released a new version. UserLand was not happy with the non-commercial version and continued development of their own version of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), eventually UserLand released RSS v2.

Another View of the History of RSS
What is the history of RSS?
The history of RSS can be traced back to 1997, and the creation of Resource Description Framework. Resource Description Framework is also known as RDF. RDF was created by a man named, Ramanathan V. Guha. RDF is similar to RSS.

The mark up language RDF, was used to store metadata. Metadata is basically information about information, for example if there is an article or a news report, the metadata would be the author, the language, the copyright and all of the information related to the article or news report. In 1999 Netscape created a standard named RSS version 0.90. This was the beginning of RSS as we know it today. Dan Libby, an employee of Netscape improved version 0.90 and released RSS version 0.91. Dave Winer, an employee at Userland also created a new version of RSS. He too named it, RSS version 0.91, creating confusion, because the two versions of RSS were named the same but the specifications were slightly different. Unfortunately this was the beginning of a trend.

Netscape's RSS team abandoned RSS development, because it was dubbed too complicated for what they were trying to accomplish. Meanwhile Rael Dornfest at O'Reily released RSS version 1.0. The new specification by O'Reily was based on the RDF standard rather than the previous versions of RSS. RSS 1.0 was incompatible with previous RSS versions. The specification caused significant marketplace confusion because though RSS 1.0 had the same purpose as the 0.90 series, the specifications were very different. In an attempt to minimize further confusion Userland named their next release RSS version 2.0. RSS 2.0 is very similar to the 0.9 series and is generally considered compatible, while RSS Version 1.0 remains very different.

Harvard Law accepted responsibility for the RSS 2.0 specification because Dave Winer of Userland, found that competitors were leary of using the standard he had a hand in creating. In order for the specification to be endorsed by all it was donated to a non-commercial third party, Harvard Law school. Harvard Law is now responsible for the future development of the RSS 2.0 specification. What is XML? XML or eXtensible Markup Language is a mark up language.

RSS History

There are a lot of folk legends about the evolution of RSS.

Here's the scoop, the sequence of events in the life of RSS, as told by the designer of most of the formats.

1. scriptingNews format, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/27/97.

2. RSS 0.90, designed by Netscape, for use with, which also supported scriptingNews format. The only thing about it that was RDF was the header, otherwise it was plain garden-variety XML. 3/15/99.

3. scriptingNews 2.0b1, designed by DW at UserLand, enhanced to include all the features in RSS 0.90. Privately DW urged Netscape to adopt the features in this format that weren't present in RSS 0.90. 6/15/99.

4. RSS 0.91, designed by Netscape, spec written by Dan Libby, includes most features from scriptingNews 2.0b1. "We're trying to move towards a more standard format, and to this end we have included several tags from the popular format." The RDF header is gone. 7/10/99.

5. UserLand adopts RSS 0.91, deprecates scriptingNews formats. 7/28/99.

6. The RSS team at Netscape evaporates.

7. UserLand's RSS 0.91 specification. 6/4/00.

8. RSS 1.0 published as a proposal, worked on in private by a group led by Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly. Based on RDF and uses namespaces. Most elements of previous formats moved into modules. Like 0.90 it has an RDF header, but otherwise is a brand-new format, not related to any previous format. 8/14/00.

9. RSS 0.92, which is 0.91 with optional elements, designed by DW at UserLand. 12/25/00.

10. RSS 0.93 discussed but never deployed. 4/20/01.

11. MetaWeblog API merges RSS 0.92 with XML-RPC to provide a powerful blogging API. 3/14/02.

12. RSS 2.0, which is 0.92 with optional elements, designed by DW, after leaving UserLand. MetaWeblog API updated for RSS 2.0. While in development, this format was called 0.94. 9/18/02.

13. RSS 2.0 spec released through Harvard under a Creative Commons license. 7/15/03.

On July 15, 2003, UserLand Software transferred ownership of its RSS 2.0 specification to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

serLand is a leading developer of tools that produce and consume RSS, and originator of the RSS 2.0 specification. The specification, which was previously copyrighted, is now licensed under terms that allow it to be customized, excerpted and republished, using the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license.

The UserLand disclaimer and copyright is archived on the Harvard website; however it now no longer applies to the RSS 2.0 specification. Since UserLand specifically disclaimed ownership of the format that the specification describes, no transfer took place on the format itself.

An independent advisory board has been formed to broaden the public understanding of the uses and benefits of RSS, and to guide developers who create RSS applications. The initial members of the board are Dave Winer, Berkman fellow and author of the RSS 2.0 spec; Jon Udell, lead analyst for InfoWorld and columnist for the O'Reilly Network; and Brent Simmons of Ranchero Software, author of NetNewsWire, a leading RSS-based application.

Other versions of the history of RSS

Web RSS History - History of the RSS Fork for a political history, and RSS Links for the evolution of some of the specific technical features.

RSS Software

RSS Creation Software
software for webmasters or content providers that create rss feeds that comply with rss specifications.

RSS Readers for Windows
software for viewing RSS feeds from specified sources (RSS feeds).

RSS Readers for MAC
software for viewing RSS feeds from specified sources (RSS feeds).

RSS Readers for Linux
software for viewing RSS feeds from specified sources (RSS feeds).

RSS Readers for Handhelds
handheld software for viewing rss feeds from specified services.

Browser Based RSS Newsreaders
addon software allow users to view rss feeds in their Internet browsers

RSS Parsers
software development tools designed to parse files and create an RSS feed

Blogging Software
software for blog creation

RSS to Email
software allows users to receive and read rss feeds in your email client.

RSS News Aggregators
software that compiles news from multiple sources in a single location

RSS Scripts
coming soon

Definitions of RSS

RSS (n) RSS is a Web content syndication format. Its name is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a dialect of XML. (source Harvard)

RSS (n) RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. (source

RSS (n) Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a lightweight XML format designed for sharing headlines and other Web content. (source WebReference)

RSS (n) Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML-based format for content distribution (source CNET)

RSS (n) RSS is an XML-based format for syndicated content. (source IBM)

RSS (n) RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, an XML format for distributing news headlines on the Web, also known as syndication. First started by Netscape as part of the My Netscape site, it expanded through Dave Winer and Userland. RSS started off in an RDF format. (source newsmonster)

What is RSS?

RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication and Rich Site Summary. RSS is an XML-based format for content distribution. Webmasters create an RSS file containing headlines and descriptions of specific information. While the majority of RSS feeds currently contain news headlines or breaking information the long term uses of RSS are broad.

RSS is a defined standard based on XML with the specific purpose of delivering updates to web-based content. Using this standard, webmasters provide headlines and fresh content in a succinct manner. Meanwhile, consumers use RSS readers and news aggregators to collect and monitor their favorite feeds in one centralized program or location. Content viewed in the RSS reader or news aggregator is place known as an RSS feed.

RSS is becoming increasing popular. The reason is fairly simple. RSS is a free and easy way to promote a site and its content without the need to advertise or create complicated content sharing partnerships.

RSS Specifications

Current RSS Specifications:
According to RSS v1 specification RDF Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the W3C's RDF specification and is extensible via XML

Proposed RSS Spec. Changes
- Proposed changes to the current specification.

RSS Specifications v2 - RSS originated in 1999, and has strived to be a simple, easy to understand format, with relatively modest goals. After it became a popular format, developers wanted to extend it using modules defined in namespaces, as specified by the W3C. RSS 2.0 adds that capability, following a simple rule. An RSS feed may contain elements not described, only if those elements are defined in the namespace.

RSS Specfications v1
- RDF Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the W3C's RDF Specification and is extensible via XML-namespace and/or RDF based modularization.

RSS Specfications v.93 - RSS specification v.93 enclosures per item. (previous version only allowed one). Also all dates need to conform to the Date and Time Specification of RFC 822.

RSS Specification v.9 - places restrictions on the first non-whitespace characters of the data in the link and url tags. RSS 0.9 supports the full ASCII character set, as well as all legal decimal and HTML entities. RSS 0.9 does not support other types of character data, such as UTF-8.

If you need to create RSS specification compliant feed consider using software. We recommend FeedForAll !