Summary

RSS is a syndication methodology on the Internet.


Detail

Various Introductions to RSS.

BBC's "What is RSS?" page
BBC's excellent introduction to RSS.
RSS in Plain English
A clever video by CommonCraft with an Introduction to RSS.
Wikipedia information on RSS
Wikipedia provides a number of articles and references about RSS, the History of RSS, and some detail on the RSS specifications.
RocketBoom on RSS
RocketBoom is a videoblog that covers a wide variety of topics. This is their show on RSS. They emphasize using RSS for Podcasts and multimedia.
A video response to What is RSS?
A video that introduces Mr. RSS who helps Sally figure out RSS.

The Terms.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language
The presentation language of the web. It is the language that communicates with human readers. It is the language of websites and webpages.
XML - Extensible Markup Language
The language of the web that is used to communicate with computers. It is used to allow for the easy interchange of documents on the World Wide Web.
RSS - Really Simple Syndication
RSS is a standard for publishing regular updates to web-based content. It answers the question "What's New?" for a website or blog.
RSS Feed - One of the dialects of XML
The RSS feed is a text XML file that resides on an Internet server. There are various flavors of RSS. Another XML feed format is called ATOM. This tutorial refers to Atom feeds and all the versions of RSS feeds as RSS feeds.
Web Feeds
Some people prefer the more generic term "Web Feeds" or just "Feeds" to describe RSS and all of its flavors. Products like FeedDemon and FeedBurner capture this terminology.
OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language)
OPML is another XML format. It is used for various purposes, but one common purpose is to define and share lists of RSS feeds. Many RSS Readers export and import lists of RSS feeds in OPML format.

Confused? Lots of people are. But the internet is chaotic and it will get sorted out over time. Just know that "RSS" and "RSS Feed" and "Web Feed" and "Feed" usually mean the same thing, and that some people also use the term "XML" to identify a Web Feed.

I use the terms "RSS" or "RSS Feed" because those are the most popular terms at this point in time.

So RSS is a syndication standard and an XML file, but how does it work?

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