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#1 03/03/07 10:33pm

soulofdarkness
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From: Tallinn
Registered: 25/08/06
Posts: 401

RSS feeds

Why are they for? I've been seeing them for a couple of months for now,
But what are they for?

They look like coloured HTML codes, like in an editor or something smile
Do i need a spcial programm to read them? I'm curious.


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#2 04/03/07 12:13am

tallphil
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Re: RSS feeds

RSS feeds are a form of XML - HTML is also a form of XML, which is why they look similar. You can view them with a RSS feed reader such as Newz Crawler, Feed Demon or Awasu. I use an extension for firefox called Sage myself, or as a 'Live Bookmark' in firefox.

The advantage of RSS feeds is that you can customize how you view regularly updated content such as news, or the latest posts on this website. Because it's just text, it's often quicker and easier to read, and you can view feeds from multiple sources alongside, or with a couple of clicks. Also, because it's only text that's being downloaded, there's little or no wait. You can also see at a glance with most readers which feed has been updated since you last looked.

This is what the BBC website has to say about its newsfeeds:

BBC Website wrote:

Feeds are also known as RSS. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people plump for 'Really Simple Syndication'. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people....

In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail....

Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier.

Wikipedia also has a pretty good article here

Hope that's enough reading for you! Let me know if you still have any queries...


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#3 04/03/07 12:25am

tallphil
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Re: RSS feeds

I figured this would be vaguely useful for other people, so i've put it up in the tutorial section of the site too, here...


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#4 04/03/07 12:35am

tallphil
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Re: RSS feeds

ooh, thought of another thing that RSS feeds are good for - aggregating data: that is, pulling in information from lots of different places and using relevant bits.

For example, my personal website pulls a RSS feed off my blog and sticks it into the homepage in a nicely presented fashion (all behind the scenes, so you'd probably never know unless you looked reeeeally hard) - the same RSS feed also tells the networking website 'Facebook' when i've written a new blog post and imports it, telling all of my contacts in facebook and letting them read it.

Every time the BBC updates it's main newsfeed, literally thousands if not millions of websites are also updated, with the single click of 'upload' by a BBC editor. Once the infrastructure is set up, RSS feeds make keeping content fresh a lot easier. This isn't just true for RSS, it's true for all forms of XML - XML is becoming the standard 'inbetween' code that lets applications talk to each other. Take our new XMBOS as an example, the flash actionscript reads the XML config file and dynamically creates the menu. When it's completed, I will write a PHP script that gets information from a database, formats it correctly and outputs it to that config file, so that the flash actionscript can use it. Easy!


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#5 04/03/07 12:47am

tallphil
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Re: RSS feeds

Just found another good BBC page on what RSS Feeds are here.

The best mini-summary of XML I can find is from here:

XML is actually a metalanguage - a language for describing other languages - which lets you design your own markup languages for limitless different types of documents.

w3schools (one of my favourite sites - i use it literally daily for quick help on basic coding in php, SQL, html and javascript) has a slightly more in depth description and introduction to XML here - better suited to anyone who's ever written a few lines of HTML...

w3schools wrote:

XML was not designed to DO anything.
Maybe it is a little hard to understand, but XML does not DO anything. XML was created to structure, store and to send information ... Someone must write a piece of software to send, receive or display it...
We strongly believe that XML will be as important to the future of the Web as HTML has been to the foundation of the Web and that XML will be the most common tool for all data manipulation and data transmission.

If you really have nothing better to do, Wikipedia has a massive article on XML here...

Ok, it's really time to go to bed now.


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#6 04/03/07 1:37am

tallphil
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Re: RSS feeds

All this talk of RSS feeds got me wondering why I don't use RSS more - and I figured that the main thing i check this site for is unread posts, rather than recent posts. So i just wrote a new section into the RSS code, and we now have a RSS feed of posts that you haven't read yet!

It is: http://www.pspflashgaming.com/forum/rss.php?unread=true

NB: You have to have the site automatically remember your login for it to work properly.

ps. The newsreader in GoogleSidebar works lovely for this...


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#7 04/03/07 9:52am

soulofdarkness
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From: Tallinn
Registered: 25/08/06
Posts: 401

Re: RSS feeds

Wow, you did a lot of work smile
I thank you fot the information, but there's still one thing unclear to me.

You  said you're using an extention for Firefox - Sage.
So, that means you don't have to open the RSS reading programm specialy -
It will read the code automaticaly everytime you go to an RSS feed?

If It's like that, don't you know any extentioning applications for MSInternetExplorer? Or should i switch on FF instead?


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#8 04/03/07 9:56am

soulofdarkness
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From: Tallinn
Registered: 25/08/06
Posts: 401

Re: RSS feeds

Yeah, and another thing - I've been off on winter holidays in aint Petersburg, and when returned - some crap happened to my Temporary internef Files.

Now, everytime i shut down my PC, everything gets erased (as well as the recycle bin). No one from my family doesn't want to admit it was him, but that's now what bothers me.

Do you know what should I do?


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#9 04/03/07 10:37am

woodpecker106
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From: Cardiff
Registered: 29/04/06
Posts: 109
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Re: RSS feeds

Internet Explorer 7 has built in RSS capabilities but i just tried it and it doesn't seem to display anything, but older versions of internet explorer don't allow any extensions (correct me if i am wrong).

If you are reading them through your browser rather than a separate program they will be updated whenever you have your browser open which is quite handy.

As for the deleting files on your computer that sounds abit strange but does it really matter if it is only the temp internet files and recycle bin as they are not needed?

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#10 04/03/07 10:39am

tallphil
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Re: RSS feeds

About Sage - almost, it loads every time I open firefox and I have it as an option in the sidebar alongside my bookmarks, history and download manager. To read my feeds I just select Sage in the sidebar, and click the feed I want. This loads the feed into an automatically generated page in firefox with all the contents. You can customise how it works though.
If you'd asked me if you should change to firefox a few months ago, i would have said definitely yes, as it is worlds away from internet explorer 6. Internet explorer 7 however, is a lot better than 6 so i'm not so sure any more. I'm sticking with firefox for now as I have it set up as I like it, but it's up to you which you choose. Neither is complete without installing a comprehensive range of add-ons to make it work like you want it to work, and i haven't played with ie7 much yet so i don't know how good they are. I'll write a post soon saying how I have firefox set up to give you some ideas...

As for your temporary files - does it really matter if they get erased every time? It's probably a corruption in the registry due to someone installing something though, or perhaps in windows. What version of windows are you running / does the recycle bin work normally otherwise?


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#11 04/03/07 11:09am

woodpecker106
Hardcore Member
From: Cardiff
Registered: 29/04/06
Posts: 109
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Re: RSS feeds

IE7 is a big improvement but i would still go for firefox every time. Also Firefox 3 is due for release in Q2 or Q3 of this year so that should open up the gap between them again.

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#12 04/03/07 11:37am

soulofdarkness
Moderator
From: Tallinn
Registered: 25/08/06
Posts: 401

Re: RSS feeds

It's pretty annoying that all of the Temp. files are erased - i have to log into every site again, and belive me, it's a big number.

And previously, i used recucle bin as a folder - when cleaning a specific folder, i was deleting all of the unthemed files, and then restored them in other folders. Since it's a long work, i had lots of files on the RB, and everytime i shut down, they're erased.

As for Firefox, I think i will switch to it today smile
I ha it installed once, but i deleted it =P


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