Continued from page 1
You can even have your own MP3 radio programmes - or Podcasts – for people to download. See http://www.infotechcomms.co.uk/audio/rss/rss.xml
Anything is possible as programmes are available to convert an RSS feed into HTML for web pages.
What is RSS? It stands for Really Simple Syndication - a way of pushing news and other material from a website direct to your desktop. Alternatively, it is a way of sharing data with other web sites or intranets – automatically.
What is so special about it? With RSS you choose what you would like to subscribe to. Then, RSS news reader or aggregator makes sure that your news sources are updated on a regular basis.
How does it work? RSS uses a format called XML (Extensible Mark-up Language). XML is closely related to HTML and is a great format for content that is shared between different platforms such as web, print and databases.
Where do I get a news reader program from? There are lots available, but most common for Windows include NewzCrawler, FeedDemon and Awasu. For Macintosh OSX BBC recommends Newsfire and NetNewsWire.
Do I have to use a news reader? No. You can sign-up to RSS newsfeed via a web-based service like Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/). Most of these types of service are free.
How do I sign up to a newsfeed? First you have to find a feed that interests you. There are literally thousands to choose from and there are web-based lists to help you. You can also look out for small “RSS” or “XML” image that appears on some web sites – such as Reuters.co.uk. If you see this symbol, click on it and it will display a page of what looks like gibberish. This is XML code. All you then have to do is copy URL of that page (eg http://www.microsite.reuters.com/rss/uk/topNews) into your news reader or Bloglines account and you will be able to read latest news.
Is RSS just for text-based news? Far from it. RSS can be used to deliver multimedia to your desktop. Podcasting is name given to audio feeds that are delivered to your computer for downloading to your iPod or MP3 player. You will find a feature on podcasting on cib.uk.com website.
Steve Nichols (firstname.lastname@example.org) runs InfoTech Communications. InfoTech specialises in online communications and has acted as intranet consultant and trainer for many blue-chip companies including Aviva, AWG, Shell, BT, Standard Life, HBOS, BNFL, Accenture and Australia New Zealand Bank.