Setting up and using an RSS reader

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Brief introduction:

Really Simple Syndication or, using slightly more technical terms, RDF Site Summary is a standardized format for creating computer and human readable summaries for web sites, especially for the kind that provide a dynamic content and have a fairly large number of visitors. In short, RSS is a standard for auto-generated newsletters. A helpful analogy might be the Morse code, which was a standard for telegraphy: both the machines (transmitters and receivers) and the operators could understand it and its sole purpose was to solidly define a way of communication.

The only technical aspect the common user needs to know about the RSS standard is that it is designed to work in the server-client paradigm, more suitably named the feeder-reader paradigm. This technical insight leads to the following “revelation”: Usually, when creating page summaries, an RSS feeder (a website) uses the RSS standard; this piece of information is acquired by the RSS reader (a program of the said site visitor’s choice) and further processed and finally displayed for the human user.

The actual guide:

The user only needs to be concerned with the reader part from the before mentioned model. Having said that, it must be pointed out that most web-browsers can display RSS feeds – this means that in some cases there is really nothing to set up in order to use this blog’s RSS feature. For example, Mozilla Firefox is “RSS-aware” by default and has a built-in simplistic RSS feed processor – this means that the browser will parse the feed before displaying it in a human readable format. In contrast, the Google Chrome web-browser does not have this behavior by default but can be easily upgraded by installing an extension like the ones found at this link or this link.

If you prefer conducting all your RSS-related business in the comfort of your web-browser, but you are not happy with its default RSS capabilities you almost certainly can upgrade it by installing either an appropriate plugin or extension. Here is a list containing the upgrade download pages for the most widely used web-browsers:

It often is the case that the user wants more assistance for reading and organizing multiple RSS feeds from multiple sources. If you fit this scenario, then you might be interested in using a stand-alone RSS reader – this means installing another program whose sole purpose is handling RSS feeds. You can find a list of suggested programs and their reviews at this link.

Finally, if this brief tutorial did not answer all of your questions about the use of RSS feeds you can further go to your favorite web search engine and query using the following suggested terms: RSS, reader, aggregation, plugin, extension, add-on, how-to, tutorial, guide.


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