TUCOWS ARTICLE

How to Make an RSS Feed

Everyday more and more Web sites, news services and blogs are adding RSS content. RSS is a method of syndicating content. The concept of aggregating content in one central location or repository is very appealing. Consumers have become tired of push technology, and RSS allows users the flexibility to regain control of their content.
Published: Jul 21, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Software that can help Good for Cow Rating
FeedForAll 2.0.3.1
Shareware
Download Easily create, edit and publish rss feeds and podcasts.

Everyday more and more Web sites, news services and blogs are adding RSS content. RSS is a method of syndicating content. The concept of aggregating content in one central location or repository is very appealing. Consumers have become tired of push technology, and RSS allows users the flexibility to regain control of their content. RSS feed creators provide content without forcing it on consumers. In fact with RSS consumers are able to choose the content they wish to view.

How to Make an RSS FeedRSS feeds contain what are referred to as items. The items are usually connected in some way and contain a common theme or other similarity.

The following feed - http://www.notepage.net/feed.xml - contains eight items. The items are all SMS and paging related news articles that would likely benefit someone interested in the wireless market.

Each item contains:

  • title
  • description
  • link

The title and description should be written to describe the content and the link should reference the Web page that contains that actual content.

Like HTML, the XML file uses open and close tags to designate the title, description and link. Tags are enclosed in brackets, like standard HTML, and the close tag contains a forward slash /.

The following is what an item in a XML file looks like:

  • The Title Goes Here
  • The description goes here
  • http://www.linkgoeshere.com
  • As I mentioned earlier, an RSS feeds contains items, and like the tags above, an open and close tag is used to distinguish between items.
  • The Title Goes Here
  • The description goes here
  • http://www.linkgoeshere.com
  • Another Title Goes Here
  • Another description goes here
  • http://www.anotherlinkgoeshere.com

Now an RSS Feed is a series of items, these items are chained together to create what is called a channel.The channel appears at the top of the file and tells people how the items relate to each other. Like items, channels use title, description and link tags to describe the content. The open channel tag occurs before the first item and the close tag occurs after the last item.

  • The Channel Title Goes Here
  • The explanation of how the items are related goes here
  • http://www.directoryoflinksgohere
  • The Title Goes Here
  • The description goes here
  • http://www.linkgoeshere.com
  • Another Title Goes Here
  • Another description goes here
  • http://www.anotherlinkgoeshere.com

Finally you will need to designate the file by indicating it is an XML file by inserting XML and RSS defining tags at the beginning and at the very end.

  • The Channel Title Goes Here
  • The explanation of how the items are related goes here
  • http://www.directoryoflinksgohere
  • The Title Goes Here
  • The description goes here
  • http://www.linkgoeshere.com
  • Another Title Goes Here
  • Another description goes here
  • http://www.anotherlinkgoeshere.com

When you save the file be sure to save it as an XML file.

Warning

If you create the file using Dreamweaver or a similar tool be careful that it does not strip out tags it feels are redundant. In order to be be an RSS feed your file needs at bare minimum the tags that were discussed above, and the file will not be valid if tags are stripped out.

I found a cool little free program that helped in XML file creation called First Object Editor - http://www.firstobject.com/If the above seems difficult, consider downloading and using FeedForAllFeedForAll is software that makes creating, editing and publishing RSS easy.

ValidationAs my math teacher use to say, check your work! Once your file is complete and uploaded enter it into the feed validator at http://feedvalidator.org.

Syndication / Submission

If you've made it this far you are in good shape and it is time to syndicate your content! Submit your RSS feed (the XML file you created) to sites just like you would submit a Web page. Some of the more popular sites that accept RSS files can be found at: http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm


If you have a question on any technology topic that you'd like someone to tell you aboutr you can submit it via email by clicking HERE You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.
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About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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