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Making an RSS Feed
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-04-15

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    Making an RSS Feed
    by Sharon Housley

    Everyday more and more websites, news services and blogs are adding RSS content. RSS is a method of syndicating content.The concept of aggregating content in one central location or repository is very appealing. Consumers have become tired of push technology, RSS allows users the flexibility to regain control of their content. RSS feed creators provide content without forcing it on consumers. In fact with RSS consumers are able to choose the content they wish to view.

    How to Make an RSS Feed
    RSS feeds contain what are referred to as "items". The items are usually connected in some way and contain a common theme or other similarity.

    The following feed http://www.notepage.net/feed.xml contains eight items. The items are all SMS and paging related news articles that would likely benefit someone interested in the wireless market.

    Each item contains:


    title
    description
    link
    The title and description should be written to describe the content and the link should reference the webpage that contains that actual content.

    Like html, the xml file uses open and close tags to designate the title, description and link. Tags are enclosed in brackets , like standard html and the close tag contains a forward slash /.

    The following is what an item in a xml file looks like:

    titleThe Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionThe description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.linkgoeshere.com/link

    As I mentioned earlier, an RSS feeds contains items and like the tags above, an open and close tag is used to distinguish between items.

    item
    titleThe Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionThe description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.linkgoeshere.com/link
    /item

    item
    titleAnother Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionAnother description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.anotherlinkgoeshere.com/link
    /item


    Now an RSS Feed is a series of items, these items are chained together to create what is called a "Channel".

    The Channel appears at the top of the file and tells people how the items relate to each other. Like items channels use title, description and link tags to describe its content. The open channel tag chanel occurs before the first item and the close tag /channel occurs after the last item.

    channel
    titleThe Channel Title Goes Here/title
    descriptionThe explanation of how the items are related goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.directoryoflinksgohere/link

    item
    titleThe Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionThe description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.linkgoeshere.com/link
    /item

    item
    titleAnother Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionAnother description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.anotherlinkgoeshere.com/link
    /item

    /channel


    Finally you will need to designate the file by indicating it is an XML file by inserting xml and rss defining tags at the beginning and /rss at the very end.

    ?xml version="1.0"?
    rss version="2.0"
    channel

    titleThe Channel Title Goes Here/title
    descriptionThe explanation of how the items are related goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.directoryoflinksgohere/link

    item
    titleThe Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionThe description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.linkgoeshere.com/link
    /item

    item
    titleAnother Title Goes Here/title
    descritpionAnother description goes here/description
    linkhttp://www.anotherlinkgoeshere.com/link
    /item

    /channel
    /rss

    When you save the file be sure to save it as an xml file.

    Warning
    If you create the file using Dreamweaver or a similar tool becareful that it does not strip out tags it feels are redundant. In order to be be an RSS feed your file needs at bare minimum that tags that were discussed above, and the file will not be valid if tags are stripped out.

    I found a cool little free program that helped in xml file creation called First Object Editor http://www.firstobject.com/

    Validation
    As my math teacher use to say, check your work! Once your file is complete and uploaded einter it into the feed validator at http://feedvalidator.org

    Syndication / Submission
    If you've made it this far you are in good shape it is time to "syndicate" your content! Submit your RSS feed (the xml file you created) to sites just like you would submit a web page. Some of the more popular sites that accept RSS files can be found under "Post RSS Feed"
    http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/rss-feeds.html

    About the Author:
    Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com , http://www.messaging-software.net and http://www.small-business-software.net
    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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