Yes – We have an RSS Feed

At the last commitee meeting I was asked about RSS feeds and in particular whether the BTOSC Website had one.  As it happens, it does so  here is a quick explanation of RSS, an insight into how to add a RSS feed and some screenshots to show what the BTOSC news articles looks like when viewed on a RSS Reader.

What is RSS?

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers provide their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

Why RSS? Benefits and Reasons for using RSS

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter.

What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use.  A variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms but probably the simplest is a webbased one – Google Reader.  Once you have found a Feed Reader to use, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks.   Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

How?

On the BTOSC Website the RSS Feed URL is listed at the bottom of the front page.

Right Click 'Entries' and copy the URL to the windows clipboard
Right Click 'Entries (RSS)' and copy the URL to the windows clipboard

Now, switch to Google Reader or an equivalent and look for an option to add a Subscription

Click 'Add a subscription'
Click 'Add a subscription'

Now paste in the URL for the RSS feed copied from the BTOSC Website

Using Goodle Reader to view the BTOSC RSS Feed - Add the BTOSC Feed

What does the BTOSC RSS Feed look like?

This view of the RSS feed shows headings and content.
This view of the RSS feed shows headings and content.

In this case there are 3 articles on the website that I have not viewed.  Note the date on the first article.  At the time I took this screenshot the first article was already out of date so when I clicked on the heading for BTOSC article’s what I was shown was an updated list of articles.

This view is a list of articles in the RSS feed
This view is a list of articles in the RSS feed

Finally, when I clicked on the Title “Forthcoming Events – Updated 23 August” I got the following view:

Viewing the full text of the article
Viewing the full text of the article

So, one of the advantages of RSS feeds is that they help you keep track of any new items on the website.

Finally, depending on your chosen RSS reader, you may find that graphics / pictures are suppressed.  However, since each article in RSS contains a link to the article on the website, if you feel you are missing anything important you can very quickly switch to the full article.

James