Mentioning RSS feeds in my class

  • #1
Math Is Hard
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They keep mentioning RSS feeds in my class (we've just started learning XML) but have never really explained what they are and why they are useful/interesting/cool/whatever. Could someone tell me a little bit about them and suggest where I might go to look at one? Thanks.
 

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  • #2
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RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. I don't know the all the technical details behind it, but in simple terms, it lets you subscribe to feeds. If you're using Firefox, Opera or IE 7, you can see an orange icon at the right end of the address bar when a particular site offers RSS feeds. All you need to do is to click and add the link to your bookmarks. Whenever the content of the site is updated, your bookmarks are also updated. PF offers RSS feeds, and so do numerous other sites, including blogs.Take NYT's site for example. Whenever a news article is uplodaded, your bookmark will be updated with that article in a few minutes. You can either use a standalone/Firefox extension reader or simply use use Firefox's built-in feature to subscribe to RSS feeds. A standalone reader may have the abillity to alert the user when a the feed is updated. Hope that helped.
 
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  • #3
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With RSS you make site content available in XML format, so it's easily used by third party apps or sites.

For example, maybe you have a site that has the latest Physics News whose headlines i'd like to put in my site. With RSS i can capture that information in a standard way, which doesn't change (too much) so my site is always pulling the Headlines in a correct way.

Without RSS i would have to parse the HTML directly, which is volatile and changes everytime you redo your site, not to mention is harder to parse and includes undesired formatting tags.
 
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  • #4
Math Is Hard
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Thanks. My first assignment is to create an RSS document. I'm confused because I thought I was going to create something to hold dynamically updated content, but from the directions, it looks like I am just doing static coding.
http://www.math.ucla.edu/~jspencer/40a.1.07s/40a.1.07s_hw1.html [Broken]
Maybe this is just to get us started?
 
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