Your own personal news package: The next generation of RSS feeds

  • Internet
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2020

If you see this symbol on a website, it means an RSS feed is available. — dpa

It was back in 1999 that RSS feeds originated as a way of getting an overview of new articles and blog posts. They're still around today and can still be useful if you want to tailor and streamline your reading content.

RSS feeds can be used to bundle news from any number of websites within a program, browser extension or app. The only requirement is that the pages must support the.rss or.xml file extensions.

"Put simply, RSS feeds are customisable news and information tickers in text form," says Thorsten Neuhetzki from the website

They can either be read directly using the appropriate program or you can click through to the source of the story.

The advantage of RSS feeds and readers is that not only are they often free of charge, they also reduce your data use, as only a section of the article is loaded, Neuhetzki says.

In addition, the user does not have to provide personal information such as an email address or register in order to use a feed.

To subscribe to a website's RSS feed, users must install a feed reader on their computer or smartphone. Such programs are available for various platforms on all common operating systems, says Marinus Martin from the website

For example, if you just want to read headlines on the go, there are smartphone apps such as Feedly, Newsblur, Inoreader, and Feeder.

These applications have modernised the classic RSS service and offer, for example, the synchronisation of the RSS feed between smartphones, desktop computers and laptops.

The modern type of RSS feed reader also offers other advantages. "Providers like Feedly also make suggestions about possible feeds based on keywords or interests," Neuhetzki says.

Smartphone apps such as Feedly offer a new way to access RSS feeds. — dpaSmartphone apps such as Feedly offer a new way to access RSS feeds. — dpa

However, browser applications and online services for RSS feed readers also continue to exist alongside the apps and are no less convenient.

"You can easily subscribe to RSS feeds with the appropriate programs on the computer," Martin says.

There are also RSS add-ons for the browser, such as Feedbro, with which you just need to subscribe to a website's RSS feed.

Many websites work with the well-known, easily recognisable RSS feed logo.

"As a rule, the user can then select their service by clicking on the button. But sometimes they only get to see cryptic code," says Neuhetzki. That's the actual feed.

In that case, you need to copy the URL that ends with ".xml" and import it manually into your own feed reader.

Search engines like Google can help you find the RSS feed you're looking for, Martin says. If you enter the keywords “RSS Feed” and the name of the website, you will usually get the required link.

RSS feeds are also available for podcasts. This means that new audio offerings can also be bundled into one application.

However, as with most RSS feed readers, which offer headlines and article markers but not the full article, podcast RSS feeds don't usually offer the full content.

However, there are exceptions. "There are podcast feeds that can be integrated directly into a podcast program or multi-room speakers such as from Sonos, for example," Neuhetzki says. – dpa

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