What is a Syndication Feed?

What is a "feed"?

Feeds, only those which you subscribe to, allow you to have content, typically extracts or indices, delivered automatically, behind the scenes, to your computer or mobile device on a regular basis. An RSS document (a "feed") includes full or summarized text. Instead of visiting multiple Web pages to check for new content, you can look at the summaries and choose which sites to visit for the full versions. A typical example of a feed would be a list of an index to current headlines from a news organization. You haven't actually gone to the website of the news organization, rather your reader automatically downloaded the 'feed' from the news organization and you can choose to go directly to the story of interest to you. Websites can have multiple feeds available, eg the news website example could have several different feeds for: local news, international news, political news, etc; you could then just subscribe to those feeds of interest to you. Do not confuse this with a rolling/scrolling marquee that some websites do.

What is a "reader"?

An RSS (an abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication) aggregator or RSS reader allows you to see summaries of all your feeds in one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. You subscribe to a feed by entering the feed's rss "URL" into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. It is the RSS reader that checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.

Why not just get emails with updates

This is the old push/pull argument; do you let sites send (push) you information (you need to keep an open link to the site if you want this in real time, or sign up for emails) or do you, at your pleasure, pull information from the site. If you go the email route, this means you must give (and keep current) your email address (personal information) to the site and they can send you email whenever and however often they feel. You risk having your mailbox filled if you neglect to keep current. And there is no sure way to turn off the emails (other than banning them) if your request to be removed is ignored. Also, many spam filters are automatically trashing many e-mail newsletters.
Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them have syndicated content available, letting YOU decide if/when/how often to pull the information. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.

What Supports "feeds" and "readers"?

Internet Explorer 7 (Microsoft) and Mozilla's Firefox 2.0, as well as most other browsers, include integrated RSS subscription functions. There are also fancier readers that can work outside of your browser. Users can see whether a Web site has RSS feeds by looking in the far right of the address field in the Web browser, to the right of the URL, and clicking on the universal RSS feed icon, shown below.
RSS feed icon This is the typical icon you will see if the site has a feed available.

What is The Dorfman Chapel's feed?

Our feed will give you a list (with links) to the most recent 10 clients at our chapel and the dates of their service. If you would like too see more details you can click on the link for the particular client and be taken directly to their information on The Dorfman Chapel's website.
An example in your reader would look like:

Smith, John- service not yet scheduled
Doe, Jane- service will be
Roe, Jim- service was
...
...

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