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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. November / 18 / 2019

Why you should start a podcast soon - Quartz
Why you should start a podcast soon  Quartz

HubSpot Marketing Hub Review & Rating - PCMag.com
HubSpot Marketing Hub Review & Rating  PCMag.com

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

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

Behind Blogging – Venues Are Slow To Utilize Blogs And Rss As Potential Marketing Tools - VenuesNow
Behind Blogging – Venues Are Slow To Utilize Blogs And Rss As Potential Marketing Tools  VenuesNow

What Is an RSS Feed? (+ How to Get Started) - G2
What Is an RSS Feed? (+ How to Get Started)  G2

Rajnath speaks to pilots of crashed MiG 29 in Goa - United News of India
Rajnath speaks to pilots of crashed MiG 29 in Goa  United News of India

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

Farewell to the blog - Politico
Farewell to the blog  Politico

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

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

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

Making it Easier than Ever to Integrate with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and Azure Device Provisioning Service - Security Boulevard
Making it Easier than Ever to Integrate with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and Azure Device Provisioning Service  Security Boulevard

Cool Venue Tools – Blogs Provide Free And Easy Access To Tech-Savvy Patrons - VenuesNow
Cool Venue Tools – Blogs Provide Free And Easy Access To Tech-Savvy Patrons  VenuesNow

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

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

Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - Economic Times
Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh  Economic Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making People Understand And Care About Your Game - Gamasutra
Making People Understand And Care About Your Game  Gamasutra

Bhaskar Rao- Salt of the earth - Economic Times
Bhaskar Rao- Salt of the earth  Economic Times

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

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

Nathan Savant's Blog - Region-Based Narrative - Gamasutra
Nathan Savant's Blog - Region-Based Narrative  Gamasutra

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

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

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

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

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

Josh Ge's Blog - Rebranding Difficulty Modes - Gamasutra
Josh Ge's Blog - Rebranding Difficulty Modes  Gamasutra

Victoria Tran's Blog - Fashion in Games: Why It Matters - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - Fashion in Games: Why It Matters  Gamasutra

Brickfish Announces SocialPulse: Real-Time Social Listening Event - Associated Press
Brickfish Announces SocialPulse: Real-Time Social Listening Event  Associated Press

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

Pascal Luban's Blog - Mario Kart Tour: Gameplay: 1 - Onboarding: 0 - Gamasutra
Pascal Luban's Blog - Mario Kart Tour: Gameplay: 1 - Onboarding: 0  Gamasutra

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

Tumblr once sold for $1.1 billion. The owner of WordPress just bought the site for a fraction of that. - Houston Chronicle
Tumblr once sold for $1.1 billion. The owner of WordPress just bought the site for a fraction of that.  Houston Chronicle

No lynching please: Instead of coming out guns blazing against lynching, Bhagwat tangles himself in semantics - Economic Times
No lynching please: Instead of coming out guns blazing against lynching, Bhagwat tangles himself in semantics  Economic Times

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

Josh Bycer's Blog - Pursuing Playability Part 1 -- Quality of Life - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - Pursuing Playability Part 1 -- Quality of Life  Gamasutra

Security Bloggers Network - Security Boulevard
Security Bloggers Network  Security Boulevard

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

Imran Khan – Extremist politician or moderate cricketer? - Economic Times
Imran Khan – Extremist politician or moderate cricketer?  Economic Times

An enigma called Rahul Gandhi - Economic Times
An enigma called Rahul Gandhi  Economic Times

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

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

'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

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

Modi's money pitch: To make investors come to India, focus relentlessly on economic competitiveness - Economic Times
Modi's money pitch: To make investors come to India, focus relentlessly on economic competitiveness  Economic Times

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

Sowing seeds of division: Muscular politics may yield short term electoral dividend, but it hurts India's future - Economic Times
Sowing seeds of division: Muscular politics may yield short term electoral dividend, but it hurts India's future  Economic Times

Evgeny Dyabin's Blog - Cascadeur: character's pose prediction using 6 points - Gamasutra
Evgeny Dyabin's Blog - Cascadeur: character's pose prediction using 6 points  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

Beto O’Rourke is blogging about the fog and blackberry cobbler. But is he running for president? - Washington Post
Beto O’Rourke is blogging about the fog and blackberry cobbler. But is he running for president?  Washington Post

My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science - Gamasutra
My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science  Gamasutra

Jeremy Alessi's Blog - PixelCast 7, Pixels, Bears, and Sacrilegious Santa... - Gamasutra
Jeremy Alessi's Blog - PixelCast 7, Pixels, Bears, and Sacrilegious Santa...  Gamasutra

Is AYUSH killing Ayurveda through BAMS curriculum? - Economic Times
Is AYUSH killing Ayurveda through BAMS curriculum?  Economic Times

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

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

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

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

The simple most difficult challenge of bringing Frostpunk to consoles - Gamasutra
The simple most difficult challenge of bringing Frostpunk to consoles  Gamasutra

The Trump Modi tango: How the PM used Houston event to tactfully reset the India-US relationship - Economic Times
The Trump Modi tango: How the PM used Houston event to tactfully reset the India-US relationship  Economic Times

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

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

Want to Boost Your Game's ROI? Tap Into Your Community - Gamasutra
Want to Boost Your Game's ROI? Tap Into Your Community  Gamasutra

With the nullification of Article 370 and Article 35A, a historical blunder is corrected in Jammu and Kashmir - Economic Times
With the nullification of Article 370 and Article 35A, a historical blunder is corrected in Jammu and Kashmir  Economic Times

Nadya Primak's Blog - Is a Game Development Degree Worth it? - Gamasutra
Nadya Primak's Blog - Is a Game Development Degree Worth it?  Gamasutra

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

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

RSS chief's Hindutva motto seems to be: Down with lynching, long live vadh - COUNTERVIEW
RSS chief's Hindutva motto seems to be: Down with lynching, long live vadh  COUNTERVIEW

The US shows the unequal world we are heading for – and we don't seem to care - USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)
The US shows the unequal world we are heading for – and we don't seem to care  USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)

Thomas Bidaux's Blog - Crowdfunding and Tabletop Games: 2019 Mid-Year Update - Gamasutra
Thomas Bidaux's Blog - Crowdfunding and Tabletop Games: 2019 Mid-Year Update  Gamasutra

Turkey Invades Syria: Conflict with Kurds won't help end the Syrian crisis - Economic Times
Turkey Invades Syria: Conflict with Kurds won't help end the Syrian crisis  Economic Times

Why I'm Not Pushing For Church Growth Any More - ChristianityToday.com
Why I'm Not Pushing For Church Growth Any More  ChristianityToday.com

Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music. - Gamasutra
Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music.  Gamasutra

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

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

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

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

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

Loot Box Design 2.0 – Complying with China's New Rules - Gamasutra
Loot Box Design 2.0 – Complying with China's New Rules  Gamasutra

The RSS isn't an NGO, it very much a government organisation - Economic Times
The RSS isn't an NGO, it very much a government organisation  Economic Times

Pranab Mukherjee elucidates constitutional values to RSS, but did he also do an Advani on Congress? - Economic Times
Pranab Mukherjee elucidates constitutional values to RSS, but did he also do an Advani on Congress?  Economic Times

The ground is shifting: Modi's UNGA address highlighted terror threat, but the West may be losing interest - Economic Times
The ground is shifting: Modi's UNGA address highlighted terror threat, but the West may be losing interest  Economic Times

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - 3 Ways Unity Addressables Will Save Your Game - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - 3 Ways Unity Addressables Will Save Your Game  Gamasutra

Kenneth Liu's Blog - Kliuless #51: Apple Arcade & Google Play Pass - Gamasutra
Kenneth Liu's Blog - Kliuless #51: Apple Arcade & Google Play Pass  Gamasutra

Localising Your Game: How To Make It Not Suck - Gamasutra
Localising Your Game: How To Make It Not Suck  Gamasutra

California's AB5 Labor Bill Will Greatly Affect Game Companies - Gamasutra
California's AB5 Labor Bill Will Greatly Affect Game Companies  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

'One tight slap': What makes Indian politics so thappad-happy - Economic Times
'One tight slap': What makes Indian politics so thappad-happy  Economic Times

How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress Without Losing Google Traffic - Digital Inspiration
How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress Without Losing Google Traffic  Digital Inspiration

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