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What is an RSS Aggregator or RSS Reader?


I keep hearing about RSS, XML and RSS feeds. I just barely have a clue what they are, but when people then start talking about RSS aggregators, what are they talking about and why would I want one? Do you use an aggregator, and if so, which one?

Ain't jargon fun? RSS is Really Simple Syndication and it's a simple data-only version of a Web page or, in the case of a weblog, Web site. Why is that interesting? Because it's then easy to write programs that track this XML formatted data stream and let you know when there's new material added to the site.

For example, if you were tracking the Ask Dave Taylor RSS data stream then when this article "went live" on my site, you'd receive notification and be able to read it within minutes of it arriving. Maybe not so critical for my tech and business Q&A, I admit, but I also track a number of different business newswires and was reading about the Proctor & Gamble acquisition of Gillette at least a day prior to my colleagues. How do I know that? Because they've told me that it was my own article on the subject (P&G buys Gillette for $57 billion, but how much is that in human terms?) that alerted them to the $54 billion transaction).

Helpful Hint: If you'd like to track an RSS feed and you have a browser with RSS support, you can click on the cute little XML button you find on many different Web sites. If your browser doesn't know what to do with that and instead shows you a cryptic page of text, you'll need an RSS reader or aggregator. Keep reading, but remember that you can also "right click" (or Ctrl-click for you Mac folks) and copy the link address to your buffer, then paste it into a 'subscribe' field in your reader.

The problem is, I don't want to check 100 RSS feeds any more than I want to visit 100 Web sites every day, and that's where aggregators come in. Whether they're standalone programs, plug-ins for your favorite Web browser or email program, or Web-based services, RSS aggregators remember your subscription list, check each site on a periodic basis, and alert you to any new articles that have been published.

If you're not thinking "wow, very cool" then you are spending too much time visiting Web sites! To scan the headlines of just a dozen sites on an hourly basis would probably be a full time job and if you need to keep abreast of your industry, as I do, then you wouldn't have any time to actually do anything, which would obviously be deleterious to your career long-term! :-)

So there are programs you can download that are RSS aggregators (or RSS readers, basically synonymous) for Windows, Mac and Linux/Unix systems. A few of the most popular are BlogExpress and FeedReader for Windows, NetNewsWire and NewsFire for Macintosh and Lifera for Linux.

Don't like having yet another application running? You can graft RSS capabilities into your Web browser (or run Firefox or Safari / Tiger, both of which have elegant built- in RSS capabilities) or your email program. Notable entries in this category are NewsGator (grafts into Microsoft Outlook on Windows), Pluck (grafts into Microsoft Internet Explorer on Windows) and Safari Menu (add-on for Apple's Safari browser that includes some RSS support).

Finally, you can subscribe to an RSS aggregator Web service which gives you a custom Web page that includes the newest information from your hand-picked RSS feeds. The highest profile solution to this is My Yahoo, which recently announced support for RSS feeds as additional personal home page information sources, though it just shows you a rolling 'latest five articles' from each source, so it doesn't work for me because I'd still be left trying to remember which I'd read or not. Other possibilities include AmphetaDesk, Bloglines, and Feedster.

Instead of those, however, I use a great Web-based product called NewsGator Online, which gives me the ability to track as many feeds as I like (fellow blogger Robert Scoble tracks over 1200 in his NewsGator Online account) along with the flexibility of keeping in sync at home, in my office and on the road.

Whichever solution you choose, I promise you that once you start traveling down the road of RSS feeds and RSS aggregators, you won't turn back. In fact, you'll find that every time you go to a Web site that you like, you'll immediately start hunting for the "syndicate" or "rss" or "xml" button. i certainly do, and I'm more plugged in now than I could ever have been in the past.

It's a rolling sea of information out there, and an RSS aggregator gives you a sail and GPS navigation system. It might just save your life out there!

Dave Taylor has been involved with the blogging community for years and is widely respected as an expert on business blogging, among other areas.


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE RESOURCES updated Mon. October / 14 / 2019

Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl - The Guardian
Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl  The Guardian

Farewell to the blog - Politico
Farewell to the blog  Politico

Are reviews by travel bloggers trustable? [Travel] - Africanews English
Are reviews by travel bloggers trustable? [Travel]  Africanews English

G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Affirms Russia Attacked Election, and Urges Action - The New York Times
G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Affirms Russia Attacked Election, and Urges Action  The New York Times

The Rise and Demise of RSS - Motherboard
The Rise and Demise of RSS  Motherboard

What Is an RSS Feed? (+Examples and Instructions for Getting Started) - G2
What Is an RSS Feed? (+Examples and Instructions for Getting Started)  G2

As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current - ZDNet
As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current  ZDNet

NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source - WP Tavern
NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source  WP Tavern

Track RSS Feeds (Yes RSS) with Feedly – ProfHacker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Track RSS Feeds (Yes RSS) with Feedly – ProfHacker - Blogs  The Chronicle of Higher Education

WordPress vs. Wix: What's the Best Website Platform for Manufacturers? - ThomasNet News
WordPress vs. Wix: What's the Best Website Platform for Manufacturers?  ThomasNet News

Mohan Bhagwat, 6 Other RSS Functionaries Join Twitter - Outlook India
Mohan Bhagwat, 6 Other RSS Functionaries Join Twitter  Outlook India

Wanted: An enemy for RSS to help BJP grow in Tamil Nadu - Times of India
Wanted: An enemy for RSS to help BJP grow in Tamil Nadu  Times of India

'Ideology of socialism is not different from ideology of the RSS … People have reposed faith in BJP leadership' - Times of India
'Ideology of socialism is not different from ideology of the RSS … People have reposed faith in BJP leadership'  Times of India

Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - Times of India
Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh  Times of India

Increase Your Business Visibility with These 4 LinkedIn Tools - Business 2 Community
Increase Your Business Visibility with These 4 LinkedIn Tools  Business 2 Community

My RSS feeds from a decade ago, a snapshot of gadget blogging when that was a thing - Boing Boing
My RSS feeds from a decade ago, a snapshot of gadget blogging when that was a thing  Boing Boing

Why Gurumurthy and RSS need a worldview - Economic Times
Why Gurumurthy and RSS need a worldview  Economic Times

Kibbles 'n' Bits 2/6/19: I have seen the Snappening and it is an RSS feed - Comics Beat
Kibbles 'n' Bits 2/6/19: I have seen the Snappening and it is an RSS feed  Comics Beat

A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging | 2019-08-31 - grbj.com
A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging | 2019-08-31  grbj.com

Growing Your Blog Using Email Marketing - Business 2 Community
Growing Your Blog Using Email Marketing  Business 2 Community

The 10 Most Important SEO Strategies For Your WordPress Blog in 2019 - Forbes
The 10 Most Important SEO Strategies For Your WordPress Blog in 2019  Forbes

Security Bloggers Network - Security Boulevard
Security Bloggers Network  Security Boulevard

What is RSS? And Is It Still Important? - Small Business Trends
What is RSS? And Is It Still Important?  Small Business Trends

“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging - Ars Technica
“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging  Ars Technica

RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them - Business 2 Community
RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them  Business 2 Community

When Chidambaram was home minister and Narendra Modi & Amit Shah faced probes - Times of India
When Chidambaram was home minister and Narendra Modi & Amit Shah faced probes  Times of India

Australian and British bloggers held in Iran named - BBC News
Australian and British bloggers held in Iran named  BBC News

Five years after Google conquered and abandoned RSS, the news-reader ecosystem is showing green shoots - Boing Boing
Five years after Google conquered and abandoned RSS, the news-reader ecosystem is showing green shoots  Boing Boing

9 Places to Share Your Blog Feed to Automatically Update Your Social Media Contacts - Search Engine Journal
9 Places to Share Your Blog Feed to Automatically Update Your Social Media Contacts  Search Engine Journal

How to Get the Most Out of Discord - Gamasutra
How to Get the Most Out of Discord  Gamasutra

Rohit Sharma: The art of scoring runs with laziness and effortlessness - Times of India
Rohit Sharma: The art of scoring runs with laziness and effortlessness  Times of India

Akshay Kumar's string of successes invokes the dominant national mood of post-2014 India - Times of India
Akshay Kumar's string of successes invokes the dominant national mood of post-2014 India  Times of India

A Few Simple Benefits of Using An RSS Feed - Business 2 Community
A Few Simple Benefits of Using An RSS Feed  Business 2 Community

Bob Whitaker's Blog - NASA Historian considers Kerbal Space Program - Gamasutra
Bob Whitaker's Blog - NASA Historian considers Kerbal Space Program  Gamasutra

Joris Dormans's Blog - Unexplored 2 Dev Blog: Tiles to Curves - Gamasutra
Joris Dormans's Blog - Unexplored 2 Dev Blog: Tiles to Curves  Gamasutra

What matters more in academia: scholarship, or untrammelled fealty? The curious case of 're-evaluating' Romila Thapar - Times of India
What matters more in academia: scholarship, or untrammelled fealty? The curious case of 're-evaluating' Romila Thapar  Times of India

Josh Bycer's Blog - How Onboarding Should be Applied to Tutorials - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - How Onboarding Should be Applied to Tutorials  Gamasutra

Iuliana U's Blog - Crowdfunding Without A Graphic Designer - Gamasutra
Iuliana U's Blog - Crowdfunding Without A Graphic Designer  Gamasutra

NetEase drives mobile games business in Japan while Tencent builds presence in emerging markets - Gamasutra
NetEase drives mobile games business in Japan while Tencent builds presence in emerging markets  Gamasutra

Why All Of Our Games Look Like Crap - Gamasutra
Why All Of Our Games Look Like Crap  Gamasutra

'Mommy bloggers' study reveals factors that drive success in social influencer marketing - EurekAlert
'Mommy bloggers' study reveals factors that drive success in social influencer marketing  EurekAlert

Is Rahul Gandhi on the same page as Imran Khan? - Times of India
Is Rahul Gandhi on the same page as Imran Khan?  Times of India

Happy 14th Blogiversary To Ann Althouse! - Outside The Beltway - Mobile Edition
Happy 14th Blogiversary To Ann Althouse!  Outside The Beltway - Mobile Edition

Why trifurcation of J&K is essential - Times of India
Why trifurcation of J&K is essential  Times of India

Admiring the Game Design in Hyper-Casual Games - Gamasutra
Admiring the Game Design in Hyper-Casual Games  Gamasutra

How Rahul Gandhi exposed himself to criticism in the last 3 days - Times of India
How Rahul Gandhi exposed himself to criticism in the last 3 days  Times of India

Why Narendra Modi govt could scrap Article 370 - Times of India
Why Narendra Modi govt could scrap Article 370  Times of India

Svyatoslav Cherkasov's Blog - Porting Graveyard Keeper to consoles and mobiles - Gamasutra
Svyatoslav Cherkasov's Blog - Porting Graveyard Keeper to consoles and mobiles  Gamasutra

Claire Sh's Blog - I don't hate social media... - Gamasutra
Claire Sh's Blog - I don't hate social media...  Gamasutra

Uncommon Blogging Tactics Are Highly Effective, New Study Shows - Search Engine Journal
Uncommon Blogging Tactics Are Highly Effective, New Study Shows  Search Engine Journal

Accept or not, Chandrayaan-2 has proved the existence of God again - Times of India
Accept or not, Chandrayaan-2 has proved the existence of God again  Times of India

Pippin Barr's Blog - What Would Mavis Beacon Do? Punish You. - Gamasutra
Pippin Barr's Blog - What Would Mavis Beacon Do? Punish You.  Gamasutra

Ahmed Khalifa's Blog - Level Design Patterns in 2D Games - Gamasutra
Ahmed Khalifa's Blog - Level Design Patterns in 2D Games  Gamasutra

Why Jeff Bezos Went to Medium With His Message - The New York Times
Why Jeff Bezos Went to Medium With His Message  The New York Times

Mateusz Piaskiewicz's Blog - Level Design Principles - Familiarity - Gamasutra
Mateusz Piaskiewicz's Blog - Level Design Principles - Familiarity  Gamasutra

The Kargil variant - Times of India
The Kargil variant  Times of India

How to become a science blogger – your 4-step guide - Nanowerk
How to become a science blogger – your 4-step guide  Nanowerk

Louis McTague's Blog - The Importance of Definitions in Game Design - Gamasutra
Louis McTague's Blog - The Importance of Definitions in Game Design  Gamasutra

Next step: A West Bank in Kashmir? - Times of India
Next step: A West Bank in Kashmir?  Times of India

How to Make a Casual Mobile Game: Uprising - Project Structure - Gamasutra
How to Make a Casual Mobile Game: Uprising - Project Structure  Gamasutra

Modi's Guruvayur doctrine divides nation on geographical & religious grounds - Times of India
Modi's Guruvayur doctrine divides nation on geographical & religious grounds  Times of India

What will Amit Shah do next? - Times of India
What will Amit Shah do next?  Times of India

Stanislav Costiuc's Blog - Bloodborne: What Defines Responsive Controls - Gamasutra
Stanislav Costiuc's Blog - Bloodborne: What Defines Responsive Controls  Gamasutra

Start RSS Feeding Content Today With dlvr.it to Social Media [How-To] - Rocks Digital
Start RSS Feeding Content Today With dlvr.it to Social Media [How-To]  Rocks Digital

Scientific American Blogs Reminded People They Still Exist - By Scaremongering Vegetables And Promoting Supplements - Science 2.0
Scientific American Blogs Reminded People They Still Exist - By Scaremongering Vegetables And Promoting Supplements  Science 2.0

Brandon Sheffield's Blog - Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza - Gamasutra
Brandon Sheffield's Blog - Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza  Gamasutra

Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Create A Perfect Localization Kit - Gamasutra
Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Create A Perfect Localization Kit  Gamasutra

5 Social Media Blogs That You Need To Know About In 2019 - Forbes
5 Social Media Blogs That You Need To Know About In 2019  Forbes

Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Write A Kickass Game Description - Gamasutra
Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Write A Kickass Game Description  Gamasutra

Consoles are resilient for now, but cloud gaming will create new dynamics and competition - Gamasutra
Consoles are resilient for now, but cloud gaming will create new dynamics and competition  Gamasutra

Will poaching legislators help or harm BJP? - Times of India
Will poaching legislators help or harm BJP?  Times of India

Welcome to Starts With A Bang! - ScienceBlogs
Welcome to Starts With A Bang!  ScienceBlogs

Chris Zukowski's Blog - The best slides I saw at GDC 2019 - Gamasutra
Chris Zukowski's Blog - The best slides I saw at GDC 2019  Gamasutra

97-year-old Seattle blogger shares honest view on aging - KING5.com
97-year-old Seattle blogger shares honest view on aging  KING5.com

On surviving Yahoo Pipes, Feedburner futures, and the subscription web - Diginomica
On surviving Yahoo Pipes, Feedburner futures, and the subscription web  Diginomica

Tips & Tricks to manage Open Game Development - Gamasutra
Tips & Tricks to manage Open Game Development  Gamasutra

Max Pears's Blog - Shape Theory in Level Design - Gamasutra
Max Pears's Blog - Shape Theory in Level Design  Gamasutra

Those tiny drops that make our rainbow - Times of India
Those tiny drops that make our rainbow  Times of India

BJP plays the long game: Reclaiming the 'Idea of India' for the next century - Times of India
BJP plays the long game: Reclaiming the 'Idea of India' for the next century  Times of India

The age of Hinduness: Modi has disavowed hard Hindutva for the humanism of 'Hinduness' - Times of India
The age of Hinduness: Modi has disavowed hard Hindutva for the humanism of 'Hinduness'  Times of India

As Article 370 goes down, so does the opposition? - Times of India
As Article 370 goes down, so does the opposition?  Times of India

Best blogging platforms of 2019 - TechRadar
Best blogging platforms of 2019  TechRadar

An enigma called Rahul Gandhi - Times of India
An enigma called Rahul Gandhi  Times of India

Platform for nuclear threats: Is anti-India prejudice hardwired into The New York Times' DNA? - Times of India
Platform for nuclear threats: Is anti-India prejudice hardwired into The New York Times' DNA?  Times of India

Ryan Ward's Blog - Guessing the Future with Patents - Gamasutra
Ryan Ward's Blog - Guessing the Future with Patents  Gamasutra

What Happens When Game Artists Design a Mural - Gamasutra
What Happens When Game Artists Design a Mural  Gamasutra

How single leaders will define the 2019 election: They could be decisive in battles for more than a third of the Lok Sabha seats - Times of India
How single leaders will define the 2019 election: They could be decisive in battles for more than a third of the Lok Sabha seats  Times of India

2 women show us the power of personal choice - Times of India
2 women show us the power of personal choice  Times of India

Meet some of Charleston's most popular bloggers and social media influencers - Charleston Post Courier
Meet some of Charleston's most popular bloggers and social media influencers  Charleston Post Courier

More Than 50,000 NSFW Tumblr Blogs Were Archived by the Partiko Team This Week - PRNewswire
More Than 50,000 NSFW Tumblr Blogs Were Archived by the Partiko Team This Week  PRNewswire

Words as weapons of violence- none can beat the seculars - Times of India
Words as weapons of violence- none can beat the seculars  Times of India

Like NRC, the Citizenship Amendment Bill is flawed in conception. Proceed with caution - Times of India
Like NRC, the Citizenship Amendment Bill is flawed in conception. Proceed with caution  Times of India

Await the Ayodhya verdict: Why orchestrated attempt to pre-empt the judicial verdict subverts the rule of law - Times of India
Await the Ayodhya verdict: Why orchestrated attempt to pre-empt the judicial verdict subverts the rule of law  Times of India

Vasburg E''s Blog - Don't Browse ArtStation Too Much - Gamasutra
Vasburg E''s Blog - Don't Browse ArtStation Too Much  Gamasutra

FAQ on a bill (S1629) proposing The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act - Gamasutra
FAQ on a bill (S1629) proposing The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act  Gamasutra

A climate of fear: It helps autocracy – but those who disagree should persist past our cowardice - Times of India
A climate of fear: It helps autocracy – but those who disagree should persist past our cowardice  Times of India

Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense - GigaOM
Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense  GigaOM

Breath of the Wild Open World Analysis: Gravity to go Forward - Gamasutra
Breath of the Wild Open World Analysis: Gravity to go Forward  Gamasutra

Changes to Google Play's average ratings: what to expect and how to prepare - Gamasutra
Changes to Google Play's average ratings: what to expect and how to prepare  Gamasutra

Imran Khan's toxic tweet-tan-trums - Times of India
Imran Khan's toxic tweet-tan-trums  Times of India

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