The Linux Page

What is an RSS feed?

An RSS feed is very common on all new websites. It has been around for years now. As of today you could listen to thousands of RSS feeds and be totally swamped by all the news...

But what is an RSS feed?

The way users know about RSS feed is in the form of a URL. The URL points to a file on a website that includes data. That data file uses the specific RSS or RDF format, which uses XML as the base format.

So it is in fact very easy to generate an RSS feed. All you have to do is write an XML file with the proper tags and attributes as defined on the W3C and AtomEnabled websites:

Easy, yes. But you also have to be careful to not make a slight little mistake on your feed. Why is that you ask? Because most aggregators (the systems that read the RSS feeds) will reject your entire feed if they cannot validate its content. This is a very good safety mechanism but it means that your entire site may just never appear anywhere because of small errors.

So the best way to find out whether your RSS feed is perfect (or not) is to pass it in a validator. The W3C website provides such a tool at the following address:

http://validator.w3.org/feed/

Make sure that the validator says that your feed is perfect before you say that your RSS is compliant!