What’s It All About?
RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication respectively) and Atom (Atom Syndication Format) are types of web feeds allowing users and applications to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format, mostly in XML (eXtensible Markup Language). Such feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator.
RSS and Atom are the two main standards of web syndication. Atom was developed to avoid the limitations and flaws of RSS. Though Atom is more robust than RSS, the latter still remains a widely used standard. Just as how Xerox has become synonymous to photocopying, RSS has generally become a common term to refer to all feeds including Atom.
Many internet browsers have given up on maintaining its once integrated / built-in feed readers and interpreters considering it no longer sustainable to keep feed support in the core of their product.
This may be due to feeds probably not meshing well with the internet’s data gathering industry because such feeds allow users to consume web content (though usually not the full text of a site’s articles) without triggering the dozens or even hundreds of analytics scripts lurking on web pages. Also, the big shots in the search and social media industry that have their own mechanisms for content aggregation have a disincentive to promote RSS or Atom apps as an alternative.
That leaves you as the average user and wanna-be-feeds reader rinsed down the drain to get your daily dose of online content updates. Yet, there are still ways to get goin’… read on!
Subscribe To Feeds
Subscribing to a feed requires a feed reader. You can download special desktop clients or apply add-ons / extensions to your browser for this purpose and some websites even provide feed reading services as well.
The reader you use is entirely your call and the process of subscribing will be different for each. Here’s a list of feed readers that you can use: Comparison of Feed Aggregators
Nowadays, users most probably notice a “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.” error followed by the raw feed. Or you may get a popup asking you to either safe this file or which program you wanted to use to open it with or whatever. → Click below link list to see.
This is normal, as browsers were not built (anymore, as explained before) to interpret feeds. Instead, subscribe to the feed in a real feed reader (see Comparison of Feed Aggregators abvoe), or for Chrome install the RSS Subscription Extension or any Other Extension, you’ll find in their web store. For Firefox you may choose one of these Add-Ons and for Opera one of these Extensions.
For WordPress sites and if prompted to enter an address for a feed, you should enter the URL of the website you wish to follow. Above, there are some feed URLs from this site, you may want to use.
Most readers / add-ons / extensions will most likely automatically detect the feed but if in doubt try adding “/feed/” to the end of the URL. If you do wish to use an Atom feed you can do so by further appending “/atom/” to the end of your feed address.