Blogs, RSS, XML, and feeds

Blogs are quite common now, so if you already know the ropes, you can skip this page. But for those of us who are still trying to figure it all out, here’s a bit of explanation.

Blogs are literally web logs (also spelled weblogs), written in journal fashion at periodic intervals. As each item is posted, older items go toward the bottom. So if you wanted to read it from the beginning, you’d have to start at the bottom of the June archive folder, then go to the bottom of the July folder, etc. However, each item is also complete in itself.

Blogs are subscribed to by their “feeds.” You may wonder about those little orange “RSS” and “XML” boxes you often find on web pages. “RSS” stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” XML is newer and I’m told that it has some advantages over RSS. The most common XML feed is “Atom” feed (I think.) Actually I’m just learning this along with you, and I invite comments for those more educated in this matter.

There are numerous feed readers available on the net. Not all feed readers support XML format yet, but more and more feed readers are supporting both RSS and XML now.

You can also subscribe by clicking “Add content” in “My Yahoo” or “My MSN”. I’ve made it easier than that for you, though. Simply click the “My MSN” or “MyYahoo” buttons on the right toolbar and follow the instructions to receive the latest posts from “Eyes Apart” on those pages.

For those more serious about keeping up with the latest news and info blogs, one of my favorites is “Pluck” which allows you to read online as well as download software to incorporate “Pluck” into “Internet Explorer” or “FireFox” using a sidebar that can be hidden when you don’t need it. I’ve added buttons to help you get “Pluck” or subscribe to “Eyes Apart” with it.

There are many online readers available. I’m providing one-step subscribe button for some of the popular ones like “Bloglines,” “NewsGator,” and “Feedster.” I’m checking out some others, and may be updating this page as changes are made.

“Firefox” has an excellent feed-reader extention called Sage. It will allow you to toggle a sidebar to search for and add feeds.

To add our Eyes Apart feed after you’ve installed Sage, go to eyesapart.com in your FireFox browser. Click the magnifying glass at the top of the Sage sidebar. It will show four feeds for Eyes Apart. One is our Atom feed. One is an older rss version and shows n/a. There are two RSS 2.0 feeds. One will be for the main feeds and will be identical to the Atom feed, so you won’t need both. The other will be for the comments people make on the feeds.

If you only want the main feed, add only the Atom feed. If you want the main feed as well as comments, add only the two RSS 2.0 feeds. If you decide later you don’t need the comments, you an always delete that feed and keep our main feed.

For more thorough information, see this link:
Wikipedia: News aggregator