A Quiz: Test Your RSS Smarts
You think that you have mastered
the art of RSS, but how much do you really know?
Take the RSS quiz to test your knowledge of RSS.
Question: If something is in
an RSS feed, it is perfectly fine to reproduce
the contents of the feed. I mean after all RSS
means really simple syndication, right?
Answer: No, that is not true.
Regardless of whether content is in a feed or
not, the original creator of the content has the
right to restrict its use. While most people do
feel that if content is in an RSS feed, it is
available for syndication--that is not always
the case. Various groups have made efforts to
add namespaces which expand the tags used in RSS,
to define whether the content is available for
syndication. The two most notable namespaces that
detail permissions are the Creative Commons extension
and the Bloglines' Access extension. These two
extensions are not yet widely supported so it
is always best to check the terms of service associated
with the feed or website to determine if the feed
is available for syndication.
Question: RSS is only for blogs
right? All blogs have RSS feeds right?
Answer: No, and No! While
blogs may have helped increase the popularity
of RSS feeds, RSS feeds are not specific to blogs.
RSS feeds can be used for any type of content
not just blogs. In fact, there are probably more
RSS feeds available for non-blogs than there are
feeds for blogs. Publishers have used RSS feeds
for articles, press releases, discounts, podcasts,
calendars, alerts and the list goes on and on.
Question: When I add a new item
to the feed, do I simply edit the old .rss file
or do I create a new one?
Answer: If you are adding
content related to the theme of the original RSS
feed, you should always expand your existing RSS
feed rather than creating a new feed. Do not edit
any of the RSS feed's existing items, simply add
a new item to the existing RSS feed.
Question: Can RSS Feeds be set
up for private list subscribers and what kind
of security is available for RSS feeds to support
a private feed?
Answer: Yes, while there
are no provisions in the RSS 2.0 specification
for passwords or protecting files, you can use
any security mechanism available on the http server
to protect the entire RSS feed. The security options
are dependent on the capabilities of your web
Question: What is a feed reader?
Answer: A feed reader can
also be referred to a news aggregator. RSS feed
readers come in all shapes and sizes and are just
tools that make it easy for users to view the
contents or headlines of the RSS feeds they subscribe
to. Feed readers can be desktop applications,
or web applications. Desktop readers are programs
that behave similar to an email client, you add
new feeds and when the RSS feeds you subscribe
to are updated new items appear in the RSS reader.
The web aggregators are websites that aggregate
all of your favorite feeds, the web page dynamically
updates as new items are added to the feeds you
subscribe to. Many email applications now also
include the ability to monitor RSS feeds. As the
popularity of RSS increases, the options to read
and monitor feeds is expanding.
Question: Can you block a search
engine from accessing a feed?
Answer: You can use a robots.txt
to indicate to search engines that specific RSS
feeds should not be indexed. Most search engines
will observe the contents of a properly formatted
Question: What is a GUID?
Answer: A GUID is a globally
unique identifier. The RSS specification strongly
suggests that each RSS feed item have a unique
GUID. If you are creating feeds, a GUID is important
because GUIDs are often used by feed readers and
aggregators to determine if a feed item is new
or simply an existing item that has been updated.
Each item in the RSS feed should have a different
Interested in additional RSS FAQs
visit the RSS Knowledgebase http://www.feedforall.com/knowledgebase.htm
or subscribe to the RSS knowledgebase feed
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS
feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages
marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.