What is RSS?


RSS is a method whereby a website or server can provide a simple summary of its newest content. An RSS file is called a feed. Although this feed is delivered over the Internet just like a webpage, its format is not compatible with standard web browsers. The information is meant to be interpreted by a "feed reader" and rendered to the user's preference. Most newer web browsers, such as Firefox, have built-in feed readers. Additionally, they alert users to the presence of an RSS feed by automatically detecting links to them and displaying an icon.

RSS is usually used to update users on anything that can be presented in a list format, such as news headlines, blog entries, forum threads, and weather data. The dynamic nature of RSS makes it a cornerstone of Web 2.0, as RSS enables websites to interact with each other, and to share features and content. RSS readers built into mobile telephones can keep users informed from any location.

RSS feeds are formatted in XML format. This is an open format, so any company or individual can freely create and distribute products based upon it. The acronym RSS was originally shorthand for "RDF Site Summary" when it was developed for Netscape, but was backronymed to mean "Rich Site Summary" upon the 1.0 version release. Version 2.0 was further backronymed to "Really Simple Syndication". Part of the reason for the name changing was the forking of the format after the 0.9 release and subsequent ownership disputes.

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