Saturday, March 12, 2005

Why RSS?

Science And Politics: Why RSS?:
When I went and checked out the latest Blog Reader Survey responses here, one thing that caught my eye is how few people use RSS (and presumably other feeds) to check on blogs. And I think that is wonderful.
No. It's awful. It's possible to read more blogs and to read more efficiently using RSS feeds than trying to keep a bunch of browser windows open.

Before I discovered RSS, I'd keep 5 or six blogs open in Mozilla tabs. Whenever I'd quit my browser, I'd have to reopen all those blog windows.

Then I got NetNewsWire. Now I have more blogs that I read, in less time. I don't have to wonder whether an author has updated in a while, because the software checks for me.

I click on links, I read widely, it integrates with ecto, so I can blog things easily.

For people who don't know, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's a standard for publishing headlines and news stories on the Internet. Special software can gather RSS files and let you browse news stories.

The New York Times has RSS feeds for their sections, as does the Washington Post. Nature and Science provide RSS feeds, and ingenta offers Table of Contents RSS feeds for journals it covers.

If there's a webpage that adds new data on a regular schedule, it probably has (or should offer) an RSS feed, and that's a better way to check it than hitting reload in your browser.

Services like bloglines will aggregate different RSS feeds into one webpage for you.