This is the introductory lesson of a course dedicated to RSS feed. Its main goal is to sensitize the employees on the benefits related to the use of RSS feeds as an effective and efficient Web communication tool. Disclaimer This lesson constitutes an exercise for its author, and has no commercial value. The information and images included in its slides derive from other courses on the Web, and therefore, the copyright for the content belongs exclusively to the authors of these courses.
<ul><li>Argue that RSS has a future in corporate education </li></ul>After finishing this lesson, you will be able to: <ul><ul><li>Explain why people use RSS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe the main applications of RSS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List seven types of content that can be published on the Web using RSS feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe at least three methods of publishing a RSS feed </li></ul></ul>
How RSS can benefit you? RSS gives opportunity to Internet readers to receive continuously updated information from Web publishers. They can choose between linking directly to the preferred publisher, and linking to a directory that groups headlines from several publishers. Anne Hennegar, publisher of Targeted Technology Tips (www.timeatlas. com), describes how RSS helps her managing a huge amount of information: “Using one of these newsreaders, I can easily monitor 200 sites. That’s 200 websites where I don’t have to type a URL or subscribe to an e-mail newsletter.”
RSS is an XML-based format that allows the syndication * of lists of hyperlinks , along with their corresponding content descriptions ( metadata ** ) that helps viewers decide whether they want or not to follow a link. All of the lists the receiver is interested in can be tracked and personalized for her of him. RSS is a format that is handled by computers on behalf of people, rather than being directly presented to people . * syndication means the distribution of information in a number of newspapers or periodicals simultaneously. ** data about the information contained in the message, which may include author, title and subject. RSS Features
What Content is Available for Syndication ? (Examples of information that can be feeded) Databases - job listings, software releases, etc. News & Announcements - headlines, notices and any list of announcements that are added to over time Document listings - lists of added or changed pages, so that people don’t need to constantly check for different content Bookmarks and other external links - while most people use RSS for sharing links from their own sites, it’s a natural fit for sharing lists of external links Calendars - listings of past or upcoming events, deadlines or holidays Mailing lists - to compliment a Web-based archive of public or private e-mail lists Search results - to let people track changing or new results to their searches
Need for <ul><li>The world described by Ellen Finkelstein already exists. It’s the world of RSS feeds. </li></ul>Imagine a world where search results come to you automatically on a residual basis when you ask for them. Imagine a world where you no longer have to give up your e-mail address and other private, personal data just to make your Internet lifestyle more convenient. Imagine a world where the publisher always controls the content and the subscriber always controls the subscription. Ellen Finkelstein- Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds f or Dummies Feed
As a consumer of information, y ou can collect it from many sources, maybe daily or several times a day, and use it as quickly as possible. If you learn how to use RSS, you will get definite advantages: Are You a Web User? As a producer of information , you develop channels that connect you with peers, customers, the media, and your new information is automatically updated for them.
If you intend to become a blogger, you need to learn how to use RSS, because it is the shortest communication way between bloggers. You only have to open up your RSS reader on your blog page, and you’ll immediately see all the latest entries from the other blogs you are linked to.
1. What is the main quality of RSS? 2. What are the two methods to receive information via RSS? 3. Who is more advantaged by using RSS, a producer or a consumer of information? Please argue your answer. Assignment
<ul><ul><li>Creating the newsletter is time consuming. With RSS you can’t automatically turn content on a Web page into a newsletter. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sending out the newsletter is time consuming. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some people don’t sign up for the newsletter because they’re fed up with all the e-mail that they already get. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some of your e-mail is considered junk e-mail (spam) and goes directly to the recipient’s Junk folder, or is deleted. In any event, the recipient never sees it. </li></ul></ul>(Ellen Finkelstein- Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds for Dummies) <ul><ul><li>Why not better send e-mail newsletters? </li></ul></ul>What is an e-mail newsletter? A newsletter is a periodic publication by e-mail put out only to those people who subscribe to it. The purpose of a newsletter is to provide highly specialized information to a highly targeted audience.
To enable this, a Web site will make a feed , or channel, available. Once a feed is available, the computers that have a link to it can regularly fetch the file to get the most recent items. Web pages that have an associated RSS feed should clearly indicate this to viewers by creating a link called, for example, ‘RSS feed’ or “Subscribe”; this enables users to find them as they browse. Headline syndication does not send full text articles; it just automatically updates list of headlines, with each headline being a link to an item on the publishers’ website. <ul><li>Let’s summarize: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS is a system that allows users to subscribe to their favorite websites. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using RSS, publishers can put their content into a standardized format, which can be viewed and organized through RSS-aware software or automatically conveyed as new content on another website. </li></ul></ul>
RSS for Corporate Communication Feeds are useful on an Intranet as well as they are on the Internet. Syndication can be a powerful tool for sharing and integrating information inside a company.
<ul><li>1. Choose one of the two following statements: </li></ul><ul><li>RSS is more efficient than e-mail newsletters. </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail newsletters are more efficient than RSS. </li></ul><ul><li>Argue your choice. </li></ul>3. Name at least four categories of information that can be sent as RSS feeds. 4. Write one or more arguments that support RSS use within your company. Assignment 2. What is this icon? How is it used on the Web?
Scraping software automatically creates a RSS feed from a Web page. Scraping tools fetch your Web page and pull out the relevant parts for the feed, so that you don’t have to change your publishing system. Solutions for Publishing Your Feed 1. Scraping is the easiest way to publish a feed from existing content. It consists of converting HTML to RSS.
2. Feed integration : if your site is dynamically generated (using languages like Perl, Python or PHP), it may have a RSS library available, so that you can integrate the feed into your publishing process.
Make it visible You may create an information page on your Website, containing the headlines you syndicate . Your information page will be indexed by regular search engines and can also be submitted to various niche directories. This will make existing users aware that the website has an RSS file. So, they can add it to their news reading applications or even include it on their own websites.
An important step after publishing a feed is letting your viewers know that it exists. There is a great number of feeds on the Web, and you need to make yours visible among them. How to make RSS feeds available on the Web? In order to do this, you can choose among at least two possibilities.
One option is to use Web guides and registries for RSS feeds. It’s a good idea to register your feed to a registry. Once an RSS file has been included in these sources it is likely to be found by other websites, online news portals or news reading applications seeking RSS content.
You may also choose to allow people to republish your feeds on their Web sites , giving them the ability to represent your content as they require it.
Offline aggregators that can be integrated into e-mail clients, users’ desktops, or work as standalone software. Aggregators ( or readers ) are the most common tools. There are two main types of aggregators: How do users keep tracking of their favorite RSS feeds? Web aggregators (sometimes called portals) make RSS headlines available in a Web page; my Yahoo is a well-known example of this kind of aggregator.
<ul><li>If your browser is Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 7, it detects automatically </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds on Web pages. Then it shows this icon on the right hand corner of the address bar. Click on it to open “ live bookmarks” , and follow the instructions. </li></ul><ul><li>If you use a RSS Feed Aggregator, click on one of the icons : </li></ul>How to subscribe to a feed There are several ways to subscribe to a RSS feed: <ul><li>If you use a specific News Reader, copy the RSS feed address into your reader. </li></ul>
1. What are 3 methods of publishing a RSS feed on a Web site? 2. Suppose that you are a Web publisher. What method of making your feed available to your possible clients would you choose? Why would you choose it? 3. How do users keep tracking of their favorite RSS feeds? 4. Using Internet Explorer 7 or Mozilla Firefox, look for a Web page that has a RSS feed icon and, following the instructions given in this course, subscribe to that feed. 5. Go to http://mashable.com/2007/06/11/rss-toolbox/ . By clicking on the links listed on this page, you will be sent to the presentations of the aggregators available on the Web. Read the descriptions and compare them. Make a log with your conclusions and send it to your instructor. Assignment
RSS is Important for Educational Designers. Just as news resources are indexed and distributed in the RSS network, so educational resources can be indexed and distributed in a learning object network. The model provided by RSS is very different from the model provided today by learning content management systems (LCMSs). In the world of the LCMS, everything is contained in one very large software application. Insofar as content is distributed at all, it is distributed in bundled content libraries. This means that educational institutions must make a major investment in software and expertise in order to access learning content. Stephen Downes about using RSS in education (Stephen’s Web, http://www.downes.ca/ ) <ul><li>RSS, by contrast, is not centralized. It is distributed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content is not distributed in bundles, it is distributed one item at a time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no central store, repository or library of RSS content; it is all over the internet. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To access and use RSS content in a viewer or in a web page, you do not need a large software application. A simple RSS reader will do the trick. </li></ul></ul>
For this reason, many more people will use a distributed learning object network not only because it’s easier and cheaper, but because they can access much more content for much less money.
Wrap- up <ul><ul><li>People use RSS because it is a very convenient way to get updated information from the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The seven types of content that can be published on the Web using RSS feeds are n ews & announcements , document listings, bookmarks and other external links, calendars, mailing lists, search results, and data bases. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><ul><li>Two methods of publishing a RSS feed are s craping and f eed integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In order to make your RSS feed visible on the Web use Web guides and registries or allow people to republish your feeds on their Web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RSS may become an efficient application for employees groups as best practices communities , and a fast method to announce news within corporations. </li></ul>Wrap- up (continued)
This was the first lesson of the course dedicated to RSS. If you completed all the pages and all the assignments, please go to the following lesson : How to write an RSS feed in XML.