RSS so Simple

For a technology that looks and acts simply RSS RSS is one of the elements that revolutionized the web into its second generation Web 2.0 . In this generation of the web the focus is on providing information and making it available to all, growing large databases from the added value users’ data bring.


RSS, Rich (RDF) Site Summary, or as it is commonly known as Really Simple Syndication facilitates sharing of information by providing data in basic XML text files. These text structures are universally composed enabling web applications to use them building an RSS feed . RSS was created back in 1997 by Dave Winer as an attempt to push blog updates on Netscape home pages. Then it was carried out by Winer’s company to make weblog stand out from normal pages[1].

Dave Winer introduced what is commonly known now as “News Aggregator”, which basically is an application that reads a collection of news from various resources into a single XML-based format. It also identifies news pieces and orders them to be displayed chronologically in a single web page[3] . The mechanism of RSS is based on content publishing, mainly news or articles. When the information is placed within a site as an RSS document, it is registered with descriptive comments on several other directories for RSS publishers. Thus the information is globally positioned and a user with a browser or a news reader on his/her PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) can register or subscribe to read RSS-distributed content on a periodic bases[4] .

To be more specific, RSS has actually two branches, one is RSS 1.0 based on Netscape implementation and based on meta-data models in the form of Resource Description Framework (RDF). The other is RSS 0.91 which is more into an XML model building on XML namespaces structure[5] . For the casual user the difference is not visible because both models support syndicating news and headlines, however, the RDF Site Summary model is concerned with creating structured metadata supporting the overall concept of the Semantic web. The web of data in a way that globalizes the databases creating a structure that is machine readable as per the vision of the creator of the web: Tim Burners-Lee[5] . Semantic web and its use of RDF documents is not a stand-alone infrastructure, it builds on the existence of other applications that would be made available on the web and combine to build a common framework of information that is accessible and manageable in the form of queries that makes the web even smarter and data more tangible.

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