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On the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational ...
, a web feed (or news feed) is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content. Content distributors ''
syndicate A syndicate is a self-organizing group of individuals, companies, corporations or entities formed to transact some specific business, to pursue or promote a shared interest. Etymology The word ''syndicate'' comes from the French word ''syndicat ...
'' a web feed, thereby allowing users to ''subscribe'' a channel to it by adding the feed resource address to a
news aggregator In computing, a news aggregator, also termed a feed aggregator, feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply an aggregator, is client software or a web application that aggregates web syndication, syndicated web content such as online newspaper ...
client (also called a ''feed reader'' or a ''news reader''). Users typically subscribe to a feed by manually entering the
URL A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network A computer network is a set of computer A computer is a machine that can be pr ...

URL
of a feed or clicking a link in a
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
or by dragging the link from the web browser to the aggregator, thus "RSS and Atom files provide news updates from a website in a simple form for your computer." The kinds of content delivered by a web feed are typically
HTML The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntacticall ...

HTML
(webpage content) or links to webpages and other kinds of digital media. Often when websites provide web feeds to notify users of content updates, they only include summaries in the web feed rather than the full content itself. Many news
website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hyperte ...

website
s,
weblog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the floo ...
s, schools, and
podcast A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audio signal is typical ...

podcast
ers operate web feeds. As web feeds are designed to be machine-readable rather than
human-readable 220px, ISBN represented as EAN-13 bar code showing both human-readable and machine-readable data A human-readable medium or human-readable format is any encoding of data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as ...
they can also be used to automatically transfer information from one website to another without any human intervention.


Technical definition

A web feed is a
document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, content. The word originates from the Latin ''Documentum'', whic ...

document
(often
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
-based) whose discrete content items include web links to the source of the content. News websites and blogs are common sources for web feeds, but feeds are also used to deliver structured information ranging from weather data to
search Searching or search may refer to: Computing technology * Search algorithm In computer science, a search algorithm is an algorithm (typically involving a multitude of other, more specific algorithms ) which solves a search problem. Search al ...
results. Common web feed formats are: *
Atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of ato ...
*
JSON Feed JSON Feed is a Web feed On the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are i ...
*
RSS RSS (Resource Description Framework, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a Standardization, standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS ...

RSS
Although RSS formats have evolved since March 1999, the RSS icon ("") first gained widespread use between 2005 and 2006. The feed icon indicates that a web feed is available. The original icon was created by Stephen Horlander, a designer at Mozilla. With the prevalence of
JSON JSON (JavaScript Object Notation, pronounced ; also ) is an open standard An open standard is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm ...
in
Web API A web API is an application programming interface In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and devel ...

Web API
s, a further format,
JSON Feed JSON Feed is a Web feed On the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are i ...
, was defined in 2017.


History

Dave Winer Dave Winer (born May 2, 1955 in Queens Queens is a borough of New York City, coextensive with Queens County, in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest borough of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, ...
published a modified version of the RSS 0.91 specification on the UserLand website, covering how it was being used in his company's products, and claimed copyright to the document. A few months later, UserLand filed a U.S. trademark registration for RSS, but failed to respond to a
USPTO The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, ...
trademark examiner's request and the request was rejected in December 2001. The
RSS-DEV Working GroupThe RSS-DEV Working Group was the outgrowth of a fork In cutlery or kitchenware:'' For a record label, see Kitchenware Records'' Kitchenware are the tools, kitchen utensil, utensils, Home appliance, appliances, Dishware, dishes, and cookware u ...
, a project whose members included Guha and representatives of
O'Reilly Media O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates) is an American learning company established by Tim O'Reilly Tim O'Reilly (born 6 June 1954) is the founder of O'Reilly Media O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates) is an American l ...
and Moreover, produced RSS 1.0 in December 2000. This new version, which reclaimed the name RDF Site Summary from RSS 0.9, reintroduced support for RDF and added
XML namespaces XML namespaces are used for providing uniquely named Data element, elements and attributes in an XML document. They are defined in a W3C recommendation. An XML instance may contain element or attribute names from more than one XML vocabulary. If eac ...
support, adopting elements from standard metadata vocabularies such as
Dublin Core file:DCMI-logo.svg, 220px, Logo image of DCMI, which formulates Dublin Core The Dublin Core, also known as the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, is a set of fifteen "core" elements (properties) for describing resources. This fifteen-element Dublin ...
. In December 2000, Winer released RSS 0.92 a minor set of changes aside from the introduction of the enclosure element, which permitted audio files to be carried in RSS feeds and helped spark
podcast A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audio signal is typical ...

podcast
ing. He also released drafts of RSS 0.93 and RSS 0.94 that were subsequently withdrawn. In September 2002, Winer released a major new version of the format, RSS 2.0, that redubbed its initials Really Simple Syndication. RSS 2.0 removed the ''type'' attribute added in the RSS 0.94 draft and added support for namespaces. Because neither Winer nor the RSS-DEV Working Group had Netscape's involvement, they could not make an official claim on the RSS name or format. This has fueled ongoing controversy in the syndication development community as to which entity was the proper publisher of RSS. One product of that contentious debate was the creation of an alternative syndication format, Atom, that began in June 2003. The Atom syndication format, whose creation was in part motivated by a desire to get a clean start free of the issues surrounding RSS, has been adopted as . In July 2003, Winer and UserLand Software assigned the copyright of the RSS 2.0 specification to Harvard's
Berkman Center for Internet & Society The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is a research center at Harvard University that focuses on the study of cyberspace. Founded at Harvard Law School, the center traditionally focused on internet-related legal issues. On May 15, 2008, t ...
, where he had just begun a term as a visiting fellow. At the same time, Winer launched the
RSS Advisory BoardThe RSS Advisory Board is a group founded in July 2003 that publishes the RSS 0.9, RSS 0.91 and RSS 2.0 specifications and helps developers create RSS applications. Dave Winer, the lead author of several RSS specifications and a longtime evangelist ...
with
Brent Simmons NetNewsWire is a news aggregator for macOS and iOS. History NetNewsWire was developed by Brent and Sheila Simmons for their company Ranchero Software. It was introduced on July 12, 2002, with ''NetNewsWire Lite'', a free version missing some adva ...
and
Jon Udell Jon Udell Jon Udell is a freelance journalist. From 2007 to 2014 he was "Technology evangelist, Evangelist" at Microsoft. Previously he was lead analyst for the InfoWorld Test Center. Udell is author of ''Practical Internet Groupware'', published ...
, a group whose purpose was to maintain and publish the specification and answer questions about the format. In December 2005, the Microsoft Internet Explorer team and Outlook teamRSS icon goodness
blog post by Michael A. Affronti of Microsoft (Outlook Program Manager), December 15, 2005 announced on their blogs that they were adopting the feed icon first used in the Mozilla
Firefox Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, ...

Firefox
, created by Stephen Horlander, a Mozilla Designer. A few months later,
Opera Software Opera is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian la ...

Opera Software
followed suit. This effectively made the orange square with white radio waves the industry standard for RSS and Atom feeds, replacing the large variety of icons and text that had been used previously to identify syndication data. In January 2006, Rogers Cadenhead relaunched the RSS Advisory Board without Dave Winer's participation, with a stated desire to continue the development of the RSS format and resolve ambiguities. In June 2007, the board revised their version of the specification to confirm that namespaces may extend core elements with namespace attributes, as Microsoft has done in Internet Explorer 7. According to their view, a difference of interpretation left publishers unsure of whether this was permitted or forbidden.


Comparison to email subscriptions

Web feeds have some advantages compared to receiving frequently published content via an email: * Users do not disclose their email address when subscribing to a feed and so are not increasing their exposure to threats associated with email: spam, viruses,
phishing Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent (e.g., spoofed, fake, or otherwise deceptive) message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information Information sensitivity is the control ...

phishing
, and
identity theft Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. The term ''identity theft'' was coi ...

identity theft
. * Users do not have to send an unsubscribe request to stop receiving news. They simply remove the feed from their aggregator. * The feed items are automatically sorted in that each feed URL has its own sets of entries (unlike an email box where messages must be sorted by user-defined rules and pattern matching).


See also

::''See Wikipedia:Syndication on how various aspects of Wikipedia can be monitored with RSS or Atom feeds.'' *
Web syndication Web syndication is a form of syndication in which content is made available from one website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at ...
* feed: URI scheme *
Share icon A share icon is a user interface Computer icon, icon intended to convey to the user a button for performing a share action. Content platforms such as YouTube often include a share icon so that users can forward the content onto social media platform ...


References


External links

* * {{Aggregators Change detection and notification Push technology Web syndication
XML-based standards This category exists to combine the sometimes bewildering array of abbreviations associated with XML technology, not all of which are endorsed by the same organisations. XML Computer standards Communications protocols {{CatAutoTOC ...
Atom (standard) RSS