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RSS and XML. Seoul Computer Club 10 December 2005 Stephen D. Carroll Terms. XML – e x tensible m arkup l anguage RSS – r eally s imple s yndication Syndication – making part of a website available via RSS

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rss and xml


Seoul Computer Club

10 December 2005

Stephen D. Carroll

  • XML – extensible markup language
  • RSS – really simple syndication
  • Syndication – making part of a website available via RSS
  • Aggregator – a program that collects (and displays) syndicated RSS feeds.
  • Markup language, like HTML
  • Structured format
  • Data describes itself















  • A defined XML Standard for sharing news.
  • RSS file is stored or created on server.
  • File Header contains static information about the source of the information.
  • File Body contains dynamic information, all surrounded by matching start and end tags.


  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)
  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)



  • Your favorite newspaper contains:
    • AP/Reuters news
    • Comics
    • Sports news
    • Weather forecast
    • Horoscope
  • You already get most of your news from a variety of sources, compiled (aggregated) into one product (by the newspaper editor).
personal syndication i
Personal Syndication, I
  • I want:
    • Sports News (Yankees, Giants)
    • Local News (Northern NJ, NYC)
    • National News (Defense, politics, economy)
    • International News (SE/NE Asia)
    • Weather Forecast (Seoul)
    • Microsoft News (Windows/Exchange)
    • Financial News (NASDAQ quotes, SEC info)
    • Misc. stuff (my interests and hobbies)
  • Who will publish “my” newspaper?
personal syndication ii
Personal Syndication, II
  • I used to visit more than 25 sites to see “what’s new” – some are updated daily.
    • New products
    • New press releases
    • New tech manuals
    • New patches
    • New news
  • It takes hours to visit all these sites – subscribing to 100 RSS feeds delivers all the updated content to my desktop.
rss aggregator
RSS Aggregator
  • A program that collects (and displays) RSS feeds.
  • Three major types:
    • Web based
    • Plugins
      • Browser-based
      • Outlook
    • Standalone programs
aggregator web based
Aggregator: Web based
  • RSS feeds are collected and displayed when you browse to their website:
    • BlogLines (demonstration)
    • Google Reader (demonstration)
    • NewsGator Online
    • My Yahoo!
aggregator plugins
Aggregator: Plugins
  • You install a program on your computer that collects RSS feeds and displays them in your browser:
    • Pluck (IE/FF)
    • Onfolio (IE/FF)
    • Optimal Access (IE)
    • FireFox (screenshot)
    • Opera (screenshot)
    • Safari (screenshot)

Natively support RSS

aggregator plugins1
Aggregator: Plugins
  • You install a program on your computer that collects RSS feeds – and displays them in Outlook:
    • NewsGator
    • IntraVnews
aggregators standalone
Aggregators: Standalone
  • You install a program on your computer that collects and displays RSS feeds:
    • RSS Bandit
    • Feed Demon
    • Sharp Reader
    • Radio Userland
    • NetNewsWire (Mac)
how does it work
How does it work?
  • Content is created…
    • Weather report, stock quote, news item, other
  • Content is syndicated…
    • …by the content provider.
  • Syndicated content is compiled…
    • …by your aggregator.
  • You read the content.
what kind of content
What kind of content?
  • Somewhere, somehow, some data has been created, changed, or republished.
    • Tuesday’s forecast is for snow.
      • Tuesday’s forecast is for rain.
    • One share of Google costs $456.78
    • President Bush did (this) today.
    • Microsoft published a Knowledge Base article.
    • My company filed quarterly earnings report with the SEC.
where do i find rss feeds
Where do I find RSS feeds?
  • Visit your favorite websites
  • See any of these logos?
    • Websites displaying these logos have an RSS feed available.
    • Clicking on them will subscribe you to their content.
  • FireFox Live Bookmark
  • Raw XML/RSS file links
demonstration bloglines com
  • Free. Setting up account is simple.
  • Adding a subscription is painless.
demonstration bloglines ii
Demonstration, Bloglines, II
  • Once subscribed, articles are available:
  • …to add subscriptions.
demonstration google
Demonstration, Google

  • Free, but accounts are limited.
firefox live bookmarks
Firefox Live Bookmarks
  • Built into FF browser



  • Click the icon to subscribe. A new Bookmarks folder is created to display the feed.
  • Opera reads RSS feeds natively:

To subscribe to newsfeeds, go to a page which offers newsfeeds and click the "RSS" button inside the URL field on Opera's address bar. Once you have subscribed to a feed, a "Feeds" menu will appear in the menu bar. You can also right-click in the mail panel to subscribe to feeds if you have created a mail account.

safari mac
Safari (Mac)
  • Safari also reads RSS feeds:
  • Click the RSS icon and Safari automatically displays the feed.
  • Bookmark the RSS feed so you can return to it later.
  • Safari lets you aggregate feeds easily. Create a folder of your frequently viewed RSS feeds from a single window, then browse everything in one cleanly formatted page.
  • Outline Processor Markup Language
    • Lists of RSS feeds.
    • Uses:
      • Exchanging RSS lists between aggregators.
      • Backing up your RSS subscription list.
      • Sharing your RSS subscription list.


opml contents
OPML contents
  • XML file (self-describing data):
  • Title: Site’s name
  • Description: Created by author
  • xmlUrl: RSS Feed address
  • htmlUrl: Site’s web address
  • XML is a file format: self-describing data.
  • RSS is a specific (defined) type of XML.
    • Used most commonly for news syndication.
  • Syndication is publishing RSS feeds.
  • Aggregation is receiving RSS feeds.
  • 3 types of aggregators display RSS feeds.
    • How you read your news is up to you.
  • OPML files contain lists of RSS feeds.
your homework
Your Homework
  • Set up an account at
  • Add the following feeds (copy/paste):

(Much easier once this brief is posted to

  • Visit
    • Scroll down and click here
  • Go to and start reading!
rss and xml1