What's an RSS?

Yahoo! and Ipsos Insight report that a small percentage of users know what RSS or Podcasting is.

Written by Jonathan "JD" Danylko • Last Updated: • Develop •

Slashdot posted an article about users not knowing about RSS files or Podcasting.

According to Yahoo! and Ipsos Insight, few people know what RSS or Podcasting is. Here are the stats according to the report:

  • 4% of Internet Users use RSS, the remaining 96% don't even touch it.
  • 28% of Internet Users are aware of podcasting, but only 2% of that is actually using it.

Well, here is a crash course in RSS (podcasting will be in a later post)...

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary. The format is readable, but not attractive. It's displayed in a file format called XML. Most web or application developers make it readable and pretty for the public to view.

But below is probably the best way to relate a real world event to what RSS is.

Everyone watches CNN, right? See those "news tickers" scrolling on the bottom of the screen? RSS feeds are the equivalents of the CNN news abstracts that you watch every day, getting your news "fix."

But you can't just look at the feeds. You need a feed reader, such as FeedDemon or Google News Reader.

If you are looking for more news feeds, a great place to go is syndic8.com. Type in a popular web site in the search text box and I guarantee you, that site should have an RSS feed or someone is working on one.

Hope this explains RSS to more people. :-)


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Picture of Jonathan "JD" Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a web architect and entrepreneur who's been programming for over 25 years. He's developed websites for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies since 1996.

He currently works at Insight Enterprises as a Principal Software Engineer.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "I like to write and I like to code. I also like to write about code."

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