Friday, December 30, 2005

Intro to RSS and Some RB News Feeds

The purpose of this entry is to introduce RSS news feeds in general and some RB news feeds in particular. If you are aware of other worthwhile RB news feeds not listed here, please let me know, so that I can mention them in a future entry.

Although people agree on what "RSS" news feeds are, there is no such agreement on what "RSS" stands for. There are at least three options: "Rich Site Summary," "Really Simple Syndication," and "RDF Site Summary," where "RDF" stands for "Resource Data Framework," which makes it all sound much more complicated than it really is.

Let's see if I can explain it in simpler terms. If a site has an RSS news feed, using it is similar to your subscribing to a "what's new" newsletter related to that site, with some important advantages to a news feed.

For example, there is no mailing list (thus no hassle for the provider in maintaining and updating one and no hassle for the person reading a news feed (e.g., receiving spam mail as a result of getting on a mailing list he or she doesn't want to be on).

To get full benefit, you do need a "news reader" or "feed reader" program (sometimes also called an "aggregator") which automatically goes out on a regular basis (say, once an hour) to check your favorite sites for anything new in their RSS news feed, but many such programs are available for free (such as Abilon for Windows).

Here's a fairly large list of news reader programs available:

And here's where you can find some smaller lists:

A common way to set up such a program is to get the headlines and the first paragraphs of "what's new" on the site. You then can decide whether you're interested enough in a particular item to read the entire article. Many news channels (CNN, New York Times, etc.) make use of news feeds to get out the news in general, but there are also some news feeds that are specifically oriented toward REALbasic.

Before I mention a few, let me just briefly say that there is a competing format to RSS known as Atom, but you don't really have to concern yourself much with that, since many news feed reader programs can handle either format.

Now for the RSS news feeds for RB. Here are some to start with:

This blog (RB's: Where's the Beef?):

REAL Software:

RB Garage:

I'm new to this myself, so I make no guarantees regarding the quality of these particular feeds (except for the RSS for this blog, of course, which is guaranteed to be an amateur production <grin>).

Barry Traver

P.S. I was away from home visiting family for the Christmas holidays. That's why for a few days there have been new blogs without new programs to accompany them, but that should change now that I'm back home again.

Barry Traver

Blog Home Page:

Programs and Files Discussed in the Blog:


At 2:03 PM, Blogger Dave Bert said...

Barry, using the Live Bookmarks in Firefox is also a great way to get updates to your blog.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Dave Bert said...

Barry, Using the Live Bookmarks in Firefox is also a great way to get your blog updates using the bookmarks toolbar.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Andrew Baur said...

This blog (RB's: Where's the Beef?):

With Blogger accounts you can also add /atom.xml to the end of the blog's URL address to access a RSS feed of the blog. I subscribe to this blog at


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