RSS and Atom are the most widely used of many content syndication formats that have developed over the last few years to address the need to distribute and receive streams of content from websites and applications. Sites syndicate content for a broad variety of reasons, from replacing email as a medium for outbound contact to updating satellite sites. Each format has evolved to meet the changing needs of its driving community. All the common formats use a specific XML vocabulary to structure a stream of content in an easily consumable format.
The book starts by analyzing the need to distribute content that RSS emerged to meet. It outlines in development of the various formats as way of understanding how the technology map of today came about. The current status of the leading formats is summarized succinctly.
Then RSS is examined in detail. The XML vocabulary and document structure is examined and explained clearly. Each element is illustrated with carefully chosen examples. The changes through RSS 0.9x to 2.0 are covered in depth as are extensions and modules such as BitTorrent, EasyNews and others.
The book then goes on to examine the richness and complexity of RSS 1.0 and 1.1, again covering both how design decisions were made, then covering the XML structure in depth. The same in depth treatment is then given to Atom, comparing and contrasting the formats where appropriate.
This is a concise yet comprehensive guide to feeds and syndication for content professionals, web developers and marketing teams who want to understand what RSS and content syndication is, how it works, what it can for them, and how they can get it up and running. The feed formats and vocabularies are covered in depth, and the book does require some familiarity with XML, but no scripting or development expertise is necessary.
Read Chapter 1: What are Newsfeeds? [PDF - 436KB]
The style of the book is succinct and precise. The information is densely packed but well structured, making it both readable as an introduction and overview, but also highly functional as a reference. The author is authoritative but friendly in his style, and peppers the text with interesting examples and pertinent URLs.
Who this book is for
This book has been written for content professionals, web developers and marketing teams who want to understand what RSS and content syndication is, how it works, what it can for them, and how they can get it up and running. It assumes a solid knowledge of XML and how the web works, but is not intended to be the exclusive province of the technically minded.