RSS Feed Q & A

What is RSS?
RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is a way of sending content from a website to a user who wants to receive that content. A web site that wants to allow people to read some of its content without visiting its site creates an RSS document and registers the document with an RSS publisher. 

A user that can read RSS-distributed content can use the content on a different site, or read it with a program that converts the document to a readable format. Syndicated content includes such data as news feeds, events listings, news stories, headlines, project updates, excerpts from discussion forums or even corporate information.

For a more thorough definition, visit Wikipedia’s page on RSS:

How can I read an RSS feed?
To read an RSS feed, you need a client software called an aggregator or feed reader, which takes the RSS code and translates it into something you can easily read on your computer screen. Feed readers are found at MyYahoo!, Google, 7Villages or by searching for them online.

What is a feed reader?
A feed reader uses a web feed to retrieve syndicated web content like blogs (web logs), podcasts, video logs (vlogs), news articles from web sites. These aggregators reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check websites for updates by pulling the information from the sites and displaying it for the individual on their desktop or web browser. 

Aggregator features are built into sites like My Yahoo! and Google, web browsers and e-mail programs. There are also aggregators built into some blog sites and there are specific aggregator programs that may be downloaded and installed on your computer.

The syndicated content aggregators will retrieve and interpret is usually supplied in the form of RSS, RDF/XML or Atom.

Are there feeds on the Alabama – West Florida Conference website?
Yes. There are news and conference events feeds on the website.

Feeds on the AWF website use RSS. You can find the feed addresses under “Our Conference” on the site on the page titled “RSS Feeds.” 

Copy the RSS address for each feed (the underlined link) and paste it into your feed reader’s Add new feed box.
How do I subscribe to an RSS feed?
To subscribe to an RSS feed, you need two things:
1. An RSS reader or news aggregator
2. The url (web address) to the feed to which you want to subscribe

How do you do it? 
Download the news aggregator and install it on your computer, or create an account with an online aggregator like My Yahoo! or Google Reader.

Open a browser window with the web site to which you want to subscribe. 

If you are using a program like MyYahoo! or Google Reader, this process may be very easy because a lot of blogs are now distributed by FeedBurner, a syndication service which makes capturing the syndication address very easy. In fact, you never even see the RSS.

Click the RSS logo.

Choose your reader from the options like MyYahoo!, newsgator, My AOL, netvibes, Google, Bloglines and Pageflakes.

FeedBurner will do the work for you, pulling up the login for your online reader and automatically subscribing you to the feed when you log into your account.

If you are not using Google Reader or MyYahoo! or one of the other online options, your process for subscribing may be different. 

If you have FeedReader open on your computer while you are browsing the Internet for the blog to which you want to subscribe, FeedReader may automatically detect the website for you when you select “File/New/Feed.” The address of the feed will appear in a window under the words “Add feed.” To complete the process, click “OK” to the right of the box.

In 7Villages, you will need to have this absolute URL for the feed to which you want to subscribe in order to add it to your profile or one of your villages. In your “Dashboard,” choose “Add an External RSS Feed.”

You will see two boxes (See graphic on the right.) One box is for the name or title of the feed. The second box is for the absolute URL of the feed, or the address to which the reader will go to obtain the new information.

In another window, go to the blog to which you want to subscribe. 

To find the FULL URL, choose the   button on the blog page.

The address of the page that comes up when you choose RSS Feed will contain the URL that you need to set up the subscription in your 7Villages account. Highlight that address with your mouse and copy it by holding down the Control button and the “C” at the same time.
Minimize this window by choosing the “-” in the upper right-hand corner.

Put your cursor in the “URL:” box and hold down the Control key while pressing the “V” on the keyboard to paste the url into the box.

Click your cursor in the “Title” box and type in a name for the blog or feed.

Click on “Subscribe to rss subscription.” If it works, your “Subscriptions” page will come up.