The little orange feed icons are everywhere on the web. From search engines to shopping sites to blogs, Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0) has become one of the hottest web technologies going. RSS 2.0 is a powerful - yet surprisingly easy - way to distributing timely content to a web-based audience.
This Short Cut will give you the hands-on knowledge you need to build an RSS 2.0 feed. Along the way you'll learn not only the mechanics of building a feed, but industry-accepted best practices for creating feeds that perform well in various situations. Are you ready? Roll up your sleeves, crack open a text editor, and let's build some feeds.
Mark Woodman was a contributing author to Sams.net's"Macromedia Web Publishing Unleashed" and "Web PublishingProfessional Reference Edition" back in the days when Shockwavewas new. (Remember Shockwave?) As a developer he has sinceplayed the part of Frogger, jumping from one sinking tech startup logto the next.Mark is currently a software engineer at Intelligent Software Solutions inColorado Springs and is happy to report this particular log is floatingnicely. He is also a contributer to the ROME project,an open source Java library for consuming and producing RSS and Atomfeeds. Mark holds a BA in communications from Wheaton College and ispursuing a Masters in computer science from Colorado Technical University.
Comments about oreilly How to Build an RSS 2.0 Feed:
O'Reilly's Short Cut book, How to Build an RSS Feed, is a nice short guide (46 pages) to the world of RSS. Author Mark Woodman has done an excellent job of providing a quick read, filled with RSS basics, for the beginner RSS learner. The book was well structured, with diagrams and easy to follow code examples. Links to additional references are scattered throughout the short book for those readers who want more detail about RSS guidelines or, as the book says "if you want to dig deeper".
The book begins with an explanation of how RSS works, gives a quick description of how an RSS feed is created, anatomy of an RSS feed, and then gets into the details of RSS best practices and how to build RSS in code. Woodman provides step-by-step instructions for a simple RSS feed, explaining the RSS channel, required elements, and the optional elements that can be included in an RSS feed. Beginners could stop at this point and come away with a basic RSS feed to implement on their sites.
However, for those readers who want to know more, the book has sample PHP and Java code for writing RSS feeds. The chapter on RSS modules and extensions discusses the Dublin Core, CommentAPI, and the Geo extension briefly. Personally, I would have liked more explanation and details on the extensions and modules. The last chapter is a short list of the many high profile websites using RSS, including WordPress, MSN, CNET, eBay, Amber Alerts, and many others.
In all, the book was concise and easy to understand. I would highly recommend it for beginners who need to know the basics to quickly add an RSS feed for their website.