06 RSS Introduction

We are going to introduce the topic of RSS feeds, blogs, subscribing to RSS feeds, and the basics of searching for RSS feeds.

Class held on 09/28/2009. (student notes; possible questions).

Class structure

  1. Go through “At beginning of class” information
  2. Go through today's slides (as a PDF).
  3. Demonstrate feed readers: Google Reader and bloglines.
  4. Work on exercises.

At beginning of class

Before class starts (for you to do)

  1. You probably need to talk with me about your project during office hours (MTW, 3:30-4:30).
  2. You should go to the Grades database for this class.
    • If you haven't already done so, enter your personal information under "Student".
    • If you haven't already done so, enter your uniqname under "Add Grade Record".
    • If you have completed a wiki-based assignment (blog entry, industry update, notes, or questions), then enter that information under "Add Wiki Assignment".
    • Do this now.
  3. I will grade blogs by next class. Why? I want to have more turned in before I assign these grades.
  4. Check who is doing what:
    • Notes & questions
      • Notes posted by the end of the class day.
      • Questions (at least the first draft) posted by one week later.
    • Special blogs (these should be written and posted on this howcanifindit site)
      • Post these by the beginning of class on the day you sign up for.
    • Other blogs should be written and posted on your own personal site. I will then tell authors of posts that get "10" grades to transfer the blog to the howcanifindit site.
      • You can post these by the following class (since they are about what we do in class).
    • Assigned/due dates
      • Notes — notes to be posted by the end of the class day
      • Questions — questions to be posted (at least first draft) by one week later
      • General blog entries — write-up to be posted by the following class
        • These will be posted on your own wiki. We'll see how to do this today.
      • Industry updates — write-up to be posted on the day listed
        • These will be posted on the course wiki. Ditto.
  5. Look at recent writings for the class:
  6. Stay up with recent information on these pages:
  7. Content update:
    • We now have some information on the notes page and questions page. Even if people are not signed up for specific days on the class notes page, I would still recommend that you post notes and questions. The more good information that is on these pages, the more that I will be able to use this information on the tests, and the better that you will do on the test — as opposed to me coming up with some random, poorly-worded question that you have to guess on.

I'll go over

  1. Problems with wikidot (and the class wiki) over the weekend.
    • Web sites go down. They come back up. They work most of the time. But they don't work all of the time.
    • Your work planning must take this into account.
    • Use this very small assignment as a learning opportunity to apply to your tasks for the rest of the semester (or, possibly, your life).
  2. I will give you the results of the experiment on Wednesday. I've delayed this so that I can get the results of students who did not complete the assignment in time.
  3. What this class should be like so far
  4. Any questions about this class so far this semester? Where we're going? Anything at all?

My notes

The Internet is changing all the time. New resources are being added at a phenomenal pace in millions of different sites. You can't keep up with everything on your own. You need help.

It's all about getting computers to work for you, to work while you're not using it. Use the computer to search through information so you don't have to. Use the computer to deliver information to your email inbox or to a specific Web page so you don't have to go get it. You don't have to remember to do the query.

You still have to define the search. You probably have to spend more time up-front when defining the query.

  1. RSS
    1. What it stands for
      • Really Simple Syndication
      • Rich Site Summary
      • RDF Site Summary
    2. RSS is an application of XML.
    3. RSS is an open definition so anyone can use it.
    4. RSS is a standard widely adopted by millions of Web sites
    5. If you have a Web site that is updated relatively frequently, it makes sense to put these updates into an RSS feed.
  2. Compare HTML and XML
  3. For our purposes, what are the benefits of XML (and, hence, RSS)
    1. Can easily be translated into HTML for display purposes
    2. Can specify "fields" that can be searched
  4. So, what does this mean for RSS?
    1. RSS a common representation for lots of databases and lots of Web sites
    2. This common representation means lots of tools can be specially written to work with that standard (send it, search it, slice it, dice it)
  5. So, what does this mean for you?
    1. Saved time
    2. Saved attention
  6. Classes of RSS feeds
    1. Blogs
    2. Newspaper articles
  7. Online feed readers
    • Why not feed reader application?
  8. Where can you find RSS feeds
    1. In RSS feed directories (with search)
    2. In searchable subject indices of RSS feeds (with browsing)
    3. On RSS-enabled Web pages
    4. Created keyword-based feeds at search engines
  9. Types of RSS feeds
    1. Static feeds
    2. Keyword-based feeds

Resources

Online feed readers

Where can you find RSS feeds

  1. Top lists
  2. In RSS feed database (with search)
  3. In searchable subject indices of RSS feeds (with browsing)
  4. On RSS-enabled Web pages
  5. Created keyword-based feeds at search engines

RSS feeds from Wikidot

  1. RSS feeds for a separate page
  2. Be notified: RSS feed guide
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