Blog Pile

Creating RSS (bottle opener optional)

Stephen Downes outlines How to Create an RSS Feed With Notepad, a Web Server, and a Beer, essentially a 9 step process for (ugh) writing RSS Feeds by hand.

An RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed is an XML file used to describe the contents of your website. As your website content changes, your RSS feed changes. Other computer systems, known as ‘aggregators’ or ‘harvesters’, read your RSS feed every once in a while. If you have provided new information, the aggregator takes that information and sends it to readers around the world. Thus information about your site’s contents is ‘syndicated’, that is, rebroadcast to a much larger audience.

An excellent one paragraph summary of what RSS is, indeed, but I would hardly recommend wiriting XML in a text editor unless it is for the command line groupie club. XML code is really best for machines to digest, not humans (or canines).

Stephen’s point might be that RSS is simple enough, and maybe one beer’s worth of effort is not much to ask for.

However, it is this dog’s opinion, that our suggestion for Writing RSS 1-2-3 is much easier as it is via a web form interface, it composes all the grunt XML code, and better yet, once your RSS file is stored on a web site, the tool we recommended can suck the current content back into that form.

We think it is more like a shot of fine cognac than gulping a bottle of warm Schlitz ;-)

Regardless, everywhere I look I see much more opportunity for RSS feeds than implementations.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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