Friday, May 20, 2005

News Feeds-Automated Broadcasting

There is more to blogging than just quick web site posting of text, images, audio and video. Blog sites can choose to allow their own specialized form of automated and global distribution, a process called syndication. This syndication system enables instant distribution of content updates to syndicated readers. It also makes a quick review of a large number of sites possible.

Syndicated sites are also called news "feeds" which feed data to those who want to know. Fans of different blog sites can set software to watch for updates of those blogs allowing syndication and grab and download postings for immediate display on their own computers. Readers subscribe to a blog and receive updates automatically by using a reader or feed aggregator, also called a news aggregator. At this time there are multiple standards for syndication, though a merged standard of RSS and Atom is appearing likely (>Chen, 2004; Festa, 2003 ; Festa, 2004).

RSS means Really Simple Syndication. It has many uses that go far beyond blog syndication. One example is Basecamp, a web-based project management tool which passes all communication instantly across the web to all on the project, including latest updates, communications, deadlines, and other activities. This could have internal uses or used for student and client projects too.

The blog newsreaders, the software tools for organizing blog postings and notifying readers of blog news and information feeds, are readily available yet still innovating in their designs. Stand-alone software applications that read and display syndicated blog newsfeeds include NetNewsWire (Mac) and Newsrover (Win). Web server based designs include: My Yahoo! ; and Bloglines. criticism and evaluation of the dozens of blog readers available is developing (Blog Newsreaders Links & Reviews; Google search for blog newsreader reviews). In a blog reader, the list of blogs selected for monitoring will typically appear on the left of a window; selecting a blog puts new postings from that blog in a frame on the right.

Web browsers are also getting into the act as blog newsreaders. One method being explored is to create a browser plug-in which extends the browser's features, such as Lektora and Sage. Programmers are also building these features into the browser itself so that add-ins like Lekora will not be not required in the long run. The Opera web browser included RSS blog reader features as of May, 2004 while others are announcing the inclusion of such features in the months ahead (Hicks, 2004). As of late 2004, the Firefox web browser supported some blog reader features for all forms of RSS feeds, that is, forms of blog posting distribution. As of May, 2005, the newest version of the Safari browser for the Mac that came with OS-X included a fully integrated blog reader and browser. The forthcoming Internet Explorer 7.0 will also include RSS integration but details will have to wait until a real update is available in 2006. Downloading and installing an RSS capable browser or using an add-in and learning to use it to explore blog space is highly recommended.


Blogger Tony said...

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12/25/2005 09:04:00 PM  
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8/12/2006 08:16:00 PM  

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