What is RSS?

RSS is a set of data formats for sharing information. Think of it as a news ticker like the ones you'd see on old movies. Adding RSS feeds to your browser or other software allows you to create your own news ticker made up of as many RSS feeds as you like. RSS is used by sites with weblogs like Grow and news web sites like the BBC to share, publish and syndicate the content of the sites in a simple form. In RSS 2.0, RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication.

Why Use RSS?

Imagine for a second you could have the latest information from your favourite web sites delivered to you in a really simple way without you having to visit the web sites or sign up for newsletters. Thats what RSS enables you to do!

Once you've set up the RSS feed, the headlines or summaries from a web site will update automatically for you. You get the latest information from as many web sites as you subscribe to. Then if something interests you, you click an individual headline to go to the full information. RSS is not just about news: It can be used to preview whats new in a store (we also use it in GrowStore installations) or preview changes to a picture gallery or any information you wish to be kept up to date on. Many web sites use RSS at the moment including all the major news sites and almost all blogs. Setting it up is realy simple. Try it for yourself using our tips below.

How To Use RSS Feeds

To use RSS you need to grab the RSS feed from a web site. You can do that using a web browser, a bit of software for your computer called an RSS aggregator or one of the Web based aggregation services. RSS Reader is a simple and good free tool if you;re using Windows. The simplest was way to start out is by using a web browser. Below are links and resources for you to use plus a simple guide to using RSS with Firefox.

Browsers that support RSS


RSS Aggregators (Software to download and web based services)

Feed Reader (free) - New & Recommended!
RSS Reader (free)
Sharp Reader (free)
Newz Crawler

Mac OS X:

Straw (Free / For GNOME)

Web Services:
My Yahoo!

Using RSS With Your Browser

Starting out: If you are using a PC or Mac we at Grow heartily recommend IE's most popular competitor Firefox to you, expecially if you want a fast and simple way to take advantage of RSS. Internet Explorer 6 has dominated peoples computers for a long time but it does not support RSS and it is widely acknowledged as being a security risk. When IE7 is released it will support RSS.

Since the launch of the full version, Firefox has been catching IE's domination for good reason. Not only is it free and supports RSS in a simple, effective way but it also is better to use than IE and won't leave your computer so open to hackers or malicious web sites.

How To Add RSS Feeds To Firefox Bookmarks

To use RSS with Firefox look for the RSS icon on the bottom right hand side of the browser window to the right of the in the address bar in Firefox 1.5. It looks like this: and is captioned, 'Add live bookmark for this page's feeds'. The icon will only appear when you're visiting web sites with an RSS feed.

Click the icon in the bottom right of the Firefox window on the right hand side of the address bar in Firefox 1.5: . Then click the link that pops up to subscibe to the RSS feed to your bookmarks.

The bookmarks dialogue will open. Choose where you wish to store the RSS feed bookmark.

Go to the RSS feed in your bookmarks to see all the latest headlines for that feed. The headlines will update automatically for you so if you ever want to see the latest headlines from that site simply go to your bookmarks and look - all without having to go directly to the site itself. To view the article or information in detail click the bookmark link as you would any other and you will go straight to that information.

Further Reading

RSS explaination in Wikipedia

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