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RSS Web Feeds

There are pages on this site which regularly get new content. To allow you to focus on the ones which interest you, there are separate feeds.


RSS (Rich Site Summary) or sometimes "Really Simple Syndication" is a way to provide a list of information on a website which is updated often. The list provides links to recent updates so you can go see what's new.

The RSS icon rss icon implies a broadcast, but you must actually subscribe to a feed with a "client" or feed reader. Subscribing is your decision, so you will only track changes such as blogs or news from sources which you hope will interest you.

Client software automatically checks the feeds to which you subscribe. Firefox used to have a built-in client called "Live Bookmarks". Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2018. Most browsers do not have a built-in web feed client. Thunderbird, primarily known as an email client does include a feed reader.

The basic RSS feed file is a structured list of items which is written in a special text format called XML. You don't want to look at raw XML files unless you are editing them by hand. Fortunately, browsers *can* typically provide a nicely formatted feed display if the site developer has provided appropriate style sheets so the raw XML is not what you see. The following highlighted snip shows the xml code for an item from my clipart feed.

      <description>Skateboard on its own</description>
      <pubDate>Thu, 10 Mar 2016 14:26:00 GMT</pubDate>

The feed readers are often also called "aggregators" because one client can display dozens of feeds within the same screen. KDE's Plasma comes with Akregator installed, for example. There are many other tools for Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux flavors. If you want to work in the cloud through your browser, there is an AI-driven service called Feedly. I'm not making recommendations here. For that, try searching for "web feed aggregator" with your preferred search engine.

It is appropriate to give credit for tools used along the way. I began using RSS to announce Betty'n'Bob cartoons. The web feed file was originally created using a nice, simple program called ListGarden. It was mostly manual, though. I needed to add each item's data into the program's forms. I enjoyed using it for several years, but now feel confident enough to add items and change publishing dates within the XML code, typing in the item updates using Kate, my preferred text editor.

There are online feed validators which help prevent my hand coding from being too far off. I've mainly used the validator from the RSS Advisory Board: https://www.rssboard.org/rss-validator/, but the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) also provides one: https://validator.w3.org/.