What is Feed (RSS/ATOM) ?

I dont know how many of you have seen the “Atom Feed” link on the left of my blog. If you have you may be wondering what it is all about.

First, the problem. I am sure that many of you want to visit a lot of sites – like my blog for instance. But not all sites have updates on a daily basis. E.g. I know you want to read the updates on my site ( what an Ego I have ! ), but I dont update it daily. Sometimes once a month, sometimes once a week sometimes more than that. But you may be feeling that just coming here everyday is just not worth it – there must be a better solution.

There is !

Its called a Feed or a Syndication. There are two types of syndicaitons – a RSS and an ATOM. These are basically XML files and dont get displayed properly in browsers as they are . So, for these you will need a Reader.

There are many readers available . Eg Firefox and Thunderbird can also act as feed readers. But these only work well if you have only 1 machine from which you check all these websites. If you want to browse from multiple machines, then its best that you get a web based reader. Something like Bloglines. Add the feeds to it and everyday when you login to it, you will see which blogs/websites have changed over your last visit ! No need to go and keep checking each individual site everytime – bloglines will do it for you.

Here are some of the websites I use in my bloglines :

In each of the above sites you will find a link or an icon with either ‘rss’ or ‘atom’ written , or the symbol for rss which is what is next to the atom link on this site. You will need to enter the url in that into bloglines. Also bloglines comes with some inbuilt feeds which you can add at will.

Although in most blogspot accounts you will not see the atom/rss link, its very easy to get it. Each blog has an atom.xml file which has this info. The url is typically the /atom.xml . Eg. for my blog it is http://vibhurishi.blogspot.com/atom.xml . Replace vibhurishi with the blog name of your choice on blogspot and you can get their feed.

Have fun. Let me know if you have any problems.


~ by Vibhu on June 12, 2006.

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