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  1. 1. Emerging Technology: RSS Understanding RSS CATS 2005 Presentation Steve Sloan [email_address]
  2. 2. Understanding RSS <ul><li>All you need to know: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping it simple! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good functional definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RSS (pronounced &quot;arr-ess-ess&quot;) is a web syndication protocol primarily used by news websites and weblogs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Format for delivering summaries of regularly changing web content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS is the format for repackaging and viewing content from changing websites </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Goals <ul><li>Define key terms associated with RSS </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an overview of the technologies associated with RSS </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss how RSS, and related technologies, can be a way to manage information </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss possible ways that RSS and related technologies may evolve </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Really Simple Syndication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A family of XML based web-content distribution and republication (Web syndication) protocols primarily used by news sites and weblogs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rich Site Summary </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RDF Site Summary </li></ul></ul></ul>Terms: RSS
  5. 5. RSS: A technical definition <ul><li>More than you need to know: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS is a file format that allows anyone with a website — from large media companies to individual commentators — to easily &quot;syndicate&quot; their content, similar to how comic strips and popular columns are syndicated by their owners to hundreds of newspapers. Except that on the Web, the RSS syndication is usually free, and the content that is syndicated is often not the full entry, but excerpts and links back to the originating website. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Terms: Weblog <ul><li>A weblog, Web log or simply a blog, is a web application which contains periodic, reverse chronologically ordered posts on a common webpage. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Such a Web site would typically be accessible to any Internet use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The changing nature of weblogs, and their reverse chronological ordering, makes them especially suited to RSS feeding </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Terms: Feed <ul><li>A file document, in XML format, associated with a changing website, typically a weblog </li></ul><ul><li>As with all XML documents, RSS documents employ a set of tags that describe elements of the text </li></ul><ul><li>Typically these files are updated dynamically as the site changes </li></ul>
  8. 8. Terms: Aggregation <ul><li>A program that reads an RSS or an Atom feed is called an aggregator </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregator programs collect data from multiple feeds and consolidate them into a simple to navigate view </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregators are typically constructed as extensions to a Web browser, as extensions to an email program, or as standalone programs </li></ul><ul><li>An aggregator program is also called a reader </li></ul>
  9. 9. Terms: Syndication <ul><li>Making Web feeds available from a site so other people can display an updating list of content from it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses on changing content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For example: one's latest forum or weblog postings, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This originated with news and blog sites but is increasingly used to syndicate any information </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. How does RSS work? <ul><li>Feeder </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The XML format file is typically updated dynamically by a web application that lists and links changes to a web site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A program known as an RSS aggregator, or feed reader, checks RSS-enabled feeds on behalf of a user and displays any updated information that it finds </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Standards (RSS and Atom) <ul><li>Many flavors of RSS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>.9x, 1.x, 2.x </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Atom (a fork in the road!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rooted in RSS </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not backwardly compatible with any of the previous RSS versions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feedburner ™ converts Atom to RSS </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. RSS 2.0 and enclosures <ul><li>Allows for attachments called “enclosures” </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Download based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videocasting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mediablogging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile blogging (moblogging) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Download, not streaming </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Consuming an RSS feed <ul><li>Each feed is like a food </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each feed is unique </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The reader is like a meal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A well rounded meal is an aggregation of foods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An RSS reader is the program that presents the information feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The reader provides the user interface </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Feeds Headlines Content A typical RSS feed
  15. 15. Many faces of RSS
  16. 16. How do RSS readers differ? <ul><li>Three basic types of client side applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extensions to a Web browser </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extensions to an email program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standalone programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can be Web applications </li></ul><ul><li>Can have widely different user interfaces </li></ul>
  17. 17. Web based readers <ul><li>Bloglines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your RSS feeds can be shared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You see what the people you read read </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My Yahoo </li></ul><ul><li>NewsGator Online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DiVX connected devices </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Local RSS readers <ul><li>Different 3rd party readers for PC + MAC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hundreds of readers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List too long to include </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The real-time web <ul><li>Technorati </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses RSS to track the popularity of weblogs by keeping track of links between them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attention.xml </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extends the RSS reader by focusing on what people are reading and what information matches the profile of what you normally do read </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Future of RSS <ul><li>Social groups and human relations will be mapped and extend into RSS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>XFN, FOAF and Rojo </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rich content can be delivered via download, using RSS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to deliver rich content will grow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Videocasting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile devices </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Mobile devices and RSS <ul><li>Portable devices with always-on connection will grow market for download based media </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to create, post and access information nears ubiquity </li></ul>
  22. 22. Secure RSS? <ul><li>Is there such a thing? </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency not always desired </li></ul><ul><li>Secure RSS 2.0 and SSH/SSL encryption technologies could be employed </li></ul><ul><li>Private channels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One to one </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One to few </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One to many </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RSS = “Digital Dial Tone” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Transparency <ul><li>By nature RSS is transparent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This can be good or bad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May violate privacy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invites the world into the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some solutions for this </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use application layer security (SSL/SSH) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secure RSS? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Do we adapt to provide more transparency, or do we adapt the tool to provide greater security? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Route around nature of Internet may make it difficult to not be transparent </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. RSS Pitfalls <ul><li>Get all the news you want, and none you don’t? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Folks can subscribe to channels that only fit their world view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase polarization </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More Red vs. Blue </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Raising the bar on information compilation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase stress and anxiety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggregation aggravation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overload </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Contact info and conversation <ul><li>SJSU </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(408) 924-2374 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skype/AIM: ssloansjca </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web: Main Geek Blog: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(408) 605-0692 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. My Favorite Feeds <ul><li>Bob Scoble “The human aggregator” </li></ul><ul><li>Versiontracker Both windows and mac </li></ul><ul><li>Itconversations Treasures of information </li></ul><ul><li>Backup Brain Dori Smith & her husband </li></ul><ul><li>The Big Picture SJSU Alpha Prof Dennis Dunleavy </li></ul>
  27. 27.