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Introduction to RSS


RSS is one of the simpler forms of what we know as Web Services. This latest article introduces us to RSS, and the many uses it offers for todays applications.

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By: Unknown User
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October 07, 2003
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Introduction to RSS
  2. · RSS Syntax
  3. · Creating RSS Files
  4. · The Four Main Sections of an RSS File
  5. · Working with RSS Files

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Introduction to RSS - Working with RSS Files
(Page 5 of 5 )

There are several ways to start working with RSS files. Because RSS files are so simple, they can be created easily using any text or XML editor. Also, there are sites with Web forms that let you create a custom RSS file online.

Once you have created a simple RSS file, you will want to validate it. You can do this at Netscape's site, listed below in the Resources section. Post the RSS file on a publicly accessible area of your Web site, go to Netscape's site, submit your URL, and the validator will test your file for compatibility.

Publishing Your RSS File

Once you have a valid RSS file available on your Web site, you can syndicate your content. You can do this in a publish and subscribe fashion -- you publish the information, and anyone who wants to can subscribe -- or you can submit your URL to content aggregators such as Moreover or Userland. Aggregators take content from a variety of sites and publish it in feeds. While your site's information could be mixed in with content from a variety of other suppliers, aggregators can help you dramatically extend the reach of your distribution.

You can also use RSS files for private distribution on intranets or extranets. Their simplicity makes RSS files a good way to publish information to a variety of systems.

Parsing RSS Files

Once you start working with RSS files, you will want to parse the file back into discrete units of information. You can do this with the help of a variety of open-source tools written in Java, Perl, PHP, and even ASP. The parser reads a stream of XML text, identifies the opening and closing tags, finds the text enclosed in each tag, and creates handles to work with the parsed information. Once parsed, this information can be incorporated into dynamically generated pages.


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