Jargon Buster takes on RSS Feeds.

This is the first of a new series called Jargon Buster. Written specifically for beginners, Reason8 Web Builders and technophobes, it will aim to help explain some of the most technically confusing and daunting aspects of computers and the internet.
We'll be looking at all sorts of scary things including: technical terms, applications, programs, functions and internet gadgets. Anything, in fact, which provokes responses such as: "Eh?",  "You do what with which button?" or my favourite: "Can you possibly repeat that in English please?"...

We're going to start by explaining a relatively young Internet service called RSS Feeds, which will not only answer a few questions for you but could actually make your life easier!

The technical acronym for RSS is Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. In English, it means: Really Simple Supply of all the latest story headlines from all your favourite websites and blogs. Basically, we’re all busy with very little spare time and surfing the Internet for news or information can take hours. This service allows you to subscribe to the RSS Feeds from all your favourite websites and blogs. Once you’ve subscribed to the feeds from your favourite sites and blogs, all you have to do is click the drop down menu of the RSS button on your browser and you’ll be provided with a list of headlines. If you see a headline, which is of interest to you, all you have to do, is click the link and you’ll be provided with the whole Story, Blog or Tutorial. How simple is that!

How do I subscribe to these RSS Feeds?

When you visit your favourite Websites or Blog pages, if RSS Feeds are available, you may have a choice of ways to subscribe. Many browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox actually have an RSS icon within the toolbar for you to click  – shown left. Or you may see text or image links such as “Subscribe to this feed”, which are normally found on the sides or bottom of the actual web page.

Internet Explorer

To use our blog pages as an example - look at the top of your browser now and find the RSS icon (click this link for its usual location). Click it to view the feeds available and then simply click the “Subscribe Now” link over on the right. To view your feeds, click the Favourites (Star) button, then the Feeds Button.

Mozilla Firefox

Open the Reason8 blog pages in Firefox, again find the RSS Icon in your tool bar at the top. Click the icon and then in the drop down menu, click "Subscribe to RSS" In the next window, click "Subscribe Now". To view your Feeds, Click the Bookmarks icon in your toolbar, go down to "Bookmarks Toolbar" and choose which feeds to want to view.

Most RSS icons feature a drop down arrow, which provides an instant top headline list of the feeds you’ve subscribed to. Now every time a new blog is posted, it’ll be flagged in your RSS headline list for you to click on and view.

Different browsers work in slightly different ways and offer different options for accessing your RSS list but essentially subscribing and viewing RSS feeds follow a fairly standard rule of thumb and can be found by searching for the standard RSS Icon.

You can also view, subscribe to and share RSS feeds with friends and colleagues using Outlook. After adding a Feed, you’ll see a folder displayed in the Navigation Pane. Open the folder and you’ll see the latest headlines, which have been downloaded by Outlook who regularly check for new and updated items. You can then open, read, and delete just as you would any mail message but best of all you can move, flag or share the information with friends and colleagues by forwarding the information in just the same way you’d forward a message. Why not send them the Reason8 Blog Feed.

So please tell your friends.

If you don’t use Outlook and still want to tell your friends about these or indeed any other websites or blog pages you’ve found, you could always “send the page by email”. In your browser window, you can either click File > Send page by email / send Link…. or some browsers actually have a button on the toolbar.

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