Learn how to create and read your own XML documents including RSS and Atom feeds, XHTML, SOAP, and XSLT.
Learn How To Create RSS Feeds
- Benjamin Kuker
- July 09, 2009
You've probably seen them on the web, even if you don't know what they're used for; those little orange buttons that look like they're broadcasting something are everywhere. They're links to RSS feeds. In this tutorial, we'll explore some of the uses for RSS feeds, why your website should have them, and you'll also learn how to make static feeds with XML and dynamic feeds using PHP.
In its simplest form, RSS is really just a list of similar links with a title and description. RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication and it is a dialect of XML. RSS comes in three versions: 0.91, 0.92, and 2.0; with version 2.0 as the most current and common version. You can download the sample files for this tutorial here.
How is RSS used?
RSS is used in many different ways by both people and websites. In general, because RSS works as a syndication channel for a list of links, any consumer of the information in that channel is called a subscriber.
One of the largest benefits to RSS is that you can view headlines from multiple sites without having to visit them directly. This is usually done using a program called a feed reader, which gathers all of the different RSS feeds that you instruct it to and displays them in a central location. Although there are many different feed readers out there, Google Reader and My Yahoo! are two of the more popular ones.
Many RSS feeds are updated dynamically whenever new content is added and thus enable subscribers to visit sites only when there are updates. This saves an enormous amount of time for users who wish to keep track of news or information on a variety of websites. Some RSS feeds even contain the entire piece of content and allow subscribers to view it without ever having to leave their feed reader.
Websites can also get the contents of an RSS feed and display them as a section of their website. Because websites aren't limited to just their own RSS feeds, this allows them to display content from all over the internet. Although we won't cover reading RSS feeds in this tutorial, displaying external RSS feeds on your site can be a great way to augement your already existing content.
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