Cube the Contrarian

RSS

RSS icon

RSS is basically a feed that lets you subscribe to something on the internet. A site will have an RSS feed or multiple (eg. for different topics) on a url like example.com/feed.xml that you can add to an app (an RSS reader) which will request updates when used. It doesn't require an account and is pretty easy to use once you've got started with it. There are also websites or browser extensions RSS feed readers.

RSS was initially released 22 years ago, and its most recent release was 12 years ago. It's a technology that seems to be barely acknowledged nowadays, yet remains on most news websites, blogs and podcasts, and also some social media sites.

Sadly many sites have feeds but don't advertise them, but usually their metadata is buried in the site code somewhere (one could use inspect element/view-source).

Common sites and feed formats:

News site examples:

  • BBC News RSS, these links can be made secure with https although some of these links no longer work at all and some additional feeds exist but aren't linked (the rss feeds use the same name as the site url name for the category).
  • Slashdot RSS (http-only), this uses "FeedBurner"
  • Vox RSS, this is more typical for a RSS feed - no fancy (dated) formatting

Good RSS Feed Readers

this blog also uses RSS (see the bottom of the page for a subscribe link).

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