Sunday, January 16, 2005

Congratulations -- the RSS feed validates!

Valid RSS feed.
I just got the Seal of Approval for my RSS feed. I got it over at the RSS Validator.

RSS is a Web content syndication format.

Its name is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication.

If your website has an RSS feed, people can subscribe to your site and get updates automatically.

Have you ever wondered how people know you've posted something new on your weblog within minutes?

They know because they are subscribed to your website's RSS feed.

They way that they subscribe to your feed is by using an aggregator.

They come in two varieties: programs that you can run on your computer and webpages you can sign up with.

One more flavor of aggregator is one that is aware of enclosures. These are computer based aggregators that know about media files such as audio and video. They are smart enough to know when a site that you have subscrubed to posts new audio or video, and downloads that content for you so that when you check your aggregator, there could be new podcassts or videos to enjoy. I use iPodderX on my Mac.

I just revised my RSS Feed links over on the left.

I used to have this over there:

[ RSS 2.0 Feed ]

It was confusing because it had XML in the image, yet I'm asking people to subscribe to my RSS Feed. Simply, XML is the language RSS Feeds are written in.

People are talking about doing away with the RSS notation too, and just calling the RSS Feed something more straight forward like Website Feed, but we'll stick with RSS for now.

So here's my new RSS Feed link:
RSS 2.0 Feed

Unlike my old link above which relied on using an image, this link's image is generated on the fly. It's also better because it combines the test I was using to explain the button, directly inside the button, so instead of having a graphic and an explanation of the graphic, I'm just using one graphic.

I found this new code over at Web Feed Central.

That link can be copied into your aggregator.

Two other RSS links I have are for website based aggregators.

Add to My Yahoo!
The first is for My Yahoo! This one's very easy to use if you have a Yahoo! account. Click on this button and you'll be promted to add my feed to your My Yahoo! page. When you do that, the most recent posts will be displayed on your My Yahoo! page.

Subscribe with Bloglines
The second web based aggregator that I use is Bloglines. I've just recently started using it and like it a lot.

Dave Winer has identified this growing variety of 'Subscribe to my Feed Buttons' as a problem, and is asking people to join him to find a solution.

If it's not solved, you'll visit my site some day and see 120 'Subscribe to my Feed Buttons' down the side of the page.

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