What are feeds, News feeds or RSS feeds.
RSS logo
What are News Feeds?
News feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content.
You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as its published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from.

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.

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How do I start using feeds?
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.

Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive.
You can subscribe to a feed with your news reader by;
a) Dragging the orange RSS button into your News Reader. RSS logo
b) Dragging the URL of the RSS feed into your News Reader.
c) Cut and paste the URL of the RSS feed into your News Reader.
Some browsers, including Internet Explorer, WebWindow, Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds when you visit a website, and display an icon or menu option when they find one.
This can make subscribing to feeds much easier.
For more details on these, please check their websites.

Some browses can own display feeds using the same format and style for all feeds.
Some browses (Eg. WebWindow) are capable of displaying the feed using the correct authors format and style.

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How do I get a news reader?
There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time.
Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.
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Using news feeds on your site.
If you run your own website, you can display the latest headlines from other websites on your own site using RSS.

I encourage the use of my feeds as part of a website, however, I do require that the proper format and attribution is used when my content appears.
The attribution text should read "Feed by Mark Agius" or "Feed by WebWindow website" as appropriate.

You may use any news feeds by Mark Agius freeley,
but I reserve the right to prevent the distribution
of the content and do not accept any liability for its feeds.

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Can I make my own feeds?
It is possible to create your own feeds, by using software to create the xml file.
Some blog websites also provide you with a RSS feed from your own blogs or page on their site.
Eg. facebook.com, twitter.com, blogger.com etc.
You can even create the xml with a simple text editor.
You should save the xml file on your website and have a page link with the RSS icon RSS icon. pointing to this file.
If you wish to create this file by hand (with a text editor) then the format is;
(The XSL and CSS files below are for browses that also support layout styles / XSL formatting)

XML news feed file;
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>
<!-- The next line is used if you wish to use your own code to display the RSS feed. -->
<!-- If you don't have a xsl file then the feed will only display on some browses. -->
<!-- Some browses do not support XSL formatting and display all feeds in their default page format. -->
<?xml-stylesheet title="XSL_formatting" type="text/xsl" href="Path to xsl file/style.xsl"?>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/">
<!-- Note: Tags can be case sensitive with some xsl files.
  So CHANNEL will work on some but not all sites and channel will work on other sites.
  <title>The name of the news feed.</title>
  <link>http://The URL to your web page on this news subject.</link>
  <description>A short description about this news feed.</description>
  <language>en-gb</language><!-- en-gb for English, Great Britain -->
  <lastBuildDate>dd/mm/yyyy - hh:mm:ss</lastBuildDate><!-- The date and time should be updated every time you update the file. -->
  <copyright>Your copyright string and year</copyright> 
  <docs>http://Path to your syndication page.</docs> 
    <title>The name of this image for this news feed.</title><!-- Eg. Blog title. -->
    <url>http://Path to news feed image file.</url>
    <link>http://Path to web page on this news subject.</link><!-- Eg. Same as title link address. -->
  <!-- The list of news items from here. -->
  <!-- Add new comments here above older ones -->

    <title>Title of this news item.</title>
    <description>Message about this news item.
    If you wish to use tags in this message use &lt; &gt; to replace < and >
    Eg. 'Line one.&lt;BR&gt;Line two.' and not 'Line one.<BR>Line two.' 
    <link>http://Path to web page about this news item.</link><!-- Use the same address for 'link' and 'guid' -->
    <guid isPermaLink="false">http://Path to web page about this news item.</guid><!-- Use the same address for 'link' and 'guid' -->
    <pubDate>dd/mm/yyyy - hh:mm:ss</pubDate><!-- The date and time you added this news item. -->
    <category>News category type.</category><!-- Eg. News, Sport, Software, Comments etc. -->
    <media:thumbnail width="60" height="45" url="http://Path to news item image file."/>

    Use the same format as above for all news items.
    When adding new items, you don't need to edit this one.

    Use the same format as above for all news items.
    When adding new items, you don't need to edit older ones.

    Use the same format as above for all news items.
    When adding new items, you don't need to edit older ones.

XSL file; (The page layout for browses that support layout styles)
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.1" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/">
<!-- You need to add 'xmlns:media="http://...' to the line above if you want to read media:thumbnail tags. -->
<xsl:output method="html"/>
<title><xsl:value-of select="$title"/> XML Feed</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="Path to ccs file./style.css" type="text/css"/>
<xsl:apply-templates select="rss/channel"/>

<xsl:template match="channel">
  Code displayed for every channel tag.
  Display this above the item tags.
  Eg. <xsl:value-of select="title"/><br/>
      <xsl:value-of select="copyright"/><br/>
      <IMG src="{image/url}"/><br/>
  ... .. .
  ... .. .
  ... .. .
  ... .. .
  <ul id="itemlist">
  <xsl:apply-templates select="item"/>
  Display this below the item tags.
  ... .. .

<xsl:template match="item">
    Code displayed for every item tag.
    Eg. <xsl:value-of select="description"/><br/>
        <xsl:value-of select="link"/><br/>
        <A HREF="{link}"><xsl:value-of select="link"/></A><br/>
        <IMG src="{media:thumbnail/@url}" width="{media:thumbnail/@width}" height="{media:thumbnail/@height}"/><br/>
        ... .. .
        ... .. .
        ... .. .
CCS cascading style sheet file; (The page style used by the XSL layout file)
/* css for RSS xsl */

  background-color:#fff;border:0px;margin:10px;font-family:Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif,"MS sans serif";font-size:80%;font-weight:normal;color:#000000;
  scrollbar-face-color: #EFEFEF;
  scrollbar-shadow-color: #7F7F7F;
  scrollbar-highlight-color: #FFFFFF;
  scrollbar-3dlight-color: #CFCFCF;
  scrollbar-darkshadow-color: #7F7F7F;
  scrollbar-track-color: #E9FFE9;
  scrollbar-arrow-color: #FF7F7F;
h2{margin:0px;padding:5px 0px;font-size:140%;}
p{margin:0px;padding:5px 0px;}



.topbox{width:100%; background:#FFFFBF;}
.banbox{width:100%;background:url("boxbar.gif") repeat-x;}

.mainbox{width:100%;background:url("boxbar2.gif") repeat-x;padding-top:10px;}
.rhsbox{border-left:1px dashed #999; border-bottom:1px dashed #999; width:36%;float:right;}
.footerbox{clear:both;width:100%;border-top:1px solid #000;}

#item ul {list-style:none;margin:0px;padding:0px;border:none;}
#item li {margin:0;padding:5px 0px;}
.rhsbox ul {list-style-type:disc;margin:0px 20px;padding:0px;border:none;}
.rhsbox li {margin:0;padding:5px 0px;}

.padtopbox{padding:10px;border:1px solid #999;}
.paditembox{padding:10px 5px 10px 10px;}
.padbanbox{padding:20px 10px 10px 10px;}
.padrhsbox{padding:10px 0px 20px 10px;}



// End of css file.
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Browser automatically RSS feed detection.
Some browsers but not all, can detect if a web page or web site has any RSS feeds. If you want browsers to automatically find your RSS feeds, then add the following HTML code to the page head:
<TITLE>Page title</TITLE>
<!-- The next few lines are used to enable and add news feeds to the browser rss icon. -->
<LINK HREF="http://yourwebsite.com/YourRssFile.xml" REL="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" TITLE="Text displayed in rss icon list."/>
<LINK HREF="http://yourwebsite.com/rss_file_2.xml" REL="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" TITLE="RSS feed two."/>
<LINK HREF="http://yourwebsite.com/rss_file_3.xml" REL="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" TITLE="RSS feed three."/>

This page has a automatic list of RSS feeds.
Click on the RSS logo icon on the command bar or address bar if your browser supports automatic RSS feeds.

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Mark Agius, (c) 2010