RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is a platform independent means to distribute news. Really, it can distribute anything that can be chopped up into little articles. It’s powered by XML, meaning that the information contained can be used in many different formats, but most commonly web pages and news aggregators. These RSS feeds represent a new way to get news from websites.
Watch Out For Flying Buzzwords
RSS, feeds, XML, I know what you’re thinking, “OK, but what’s that all mean?” right? Well, RSS really is a simple way to distribute news. It’s catching on all over the Internet because of its simplicity. You’ll see it popping up on all kinds of web pages, including CU*Answers.com.
How do you know if you’ve spotted an RSS feed in the wild? Well, usually, but not always, they are indicated by a special icons.
These icons generally link to the actual RSS feed which will probably look like a bunch of code in your web browser.
Neat, Now What?
If it looks like code, what good is it, right? Well, there are a couple of neat things you can do with RSS right now. If you are using Mozilla Firefox for your web browser, you can make a live bookmark. Microsoft plans on integrating RSS readers into the next versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook. These readers, or live bookmarks, retrieve the news feed automatically for you, without you having to visit the site, and present a list of the articles. From this list, you can choose what articles you want to read more of and visit them individually.
What’s This Mean To Me?
Initially, probably not much. CU*Answers is already working on converting some of our important new items to RSS feeds. Soon you may see the RSS icons appearing on different sections of the website. Web Services is also looking at some other products for use in the Credit Unions that would retrieve the RSS feeds and have them immediately available.
Well, you can put RSS feeds on your website. While out and about on the Internet, if you find a site with an RSS feed, like Google News or Yahoo! News, you could put their news on your site! How does that work? CU*Answers Web Services has a special widget that converts an RSS feed into a news box for your site. All you have to do it find the RSS feeds that you want.
Here’s some sample RSS feeds to get you started.