How to use webfeeds (RSS)

I wrote this ages ago. It should live here.

A screenshot of a list of categorised web feeds, using the Flock web browser
Flock News Feeds

Web feeds are a way for visitors to keep up-to-date on the latest changes to a web page. Feeds are often used for frequently-updated content such as news headlines or events. News feeds are sometimes referred to as XML feeds, RSS feeds or Atom feeds, depending on the way the feed is encoded. Regardless of the term used, they are all functionally the same to the web surfer. We’ll refer to them as “web feeds” for this article.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an easy way for Web sites to share headlines and stories from other sites. Web surfers can use sophisticated news readers to surf these headlines using RSS aggregators. Jennifer Kyrnin – http://webdesign.about.com/od/rss/a/what_is_rss.htm

What does it look like?

Web Feeds generally show the headline, date, and a short summary of a news article. This allows the user to quickly scan the headline and see whether he would like more information. Usually clicking the headline will take the user to the full article. The screenshot is from the popular, cross-platform Flock browser, based on Firefox. (flock.com) Many news feeds can be bundled into collections, with total unread articles showing.

How do I find a web feed?

Web feeds are generally identified with some common icons:

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On the college web site, our main news articles have a prominent link to the web feeds for visitors with browsers that do not natively support web feeds. In fact, all Selkirk College “News Pages” have web feeds attached to them.

How do I subscribe to web feeds?

You can subscribe to web feeds using a wide variety of tools. You can use software that may be already on your computer, such as:

Alternately, you can use web-based tools, such as:

How can I use Groupwise to read web feeds?

Here is a video about how to set up Groupwise 7 to read web feeds. Here is the Novell document. And here is the plugin. Easy as pie. GroupWise 8 has it built in, along with some other web2.0 features.

How can I use Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 to read web feeds?

In Firefox, a popular web browser, the standard web feed icon will appear in the address bar when there is a web feed for that page. For more information on how to use Live Bookmarks in Firefox to read web feeds, visit http://support.mozilla.com/kb/Live+Bookmarks. Internet Explorer 7 will show the same icon. For more information on viewing web feeds in Internet Explorer 7, visit http://www.ie-vista.com/rss.htmlNote: previous versions of Internet Explorer does not natively support web feeds. However, you can still use web-based tools to read web feeds.

Further Reading