RSS Feeds — Pure and Simple
RSS is a format (called XML) that "feeds" you information. It allows you to automatically receive and organize content from your favorite sites — all in one place. RSS feeds contain links to news stories and videos as they are published, giving busy people an alternative to navigating through any number of web sites throughout the day to search for the information they want.
Links on web sites labeled "RSS," "XML," and "Atom" indicate that you can get a list of updated articles and new stories as they are posted. Most publishers provide the headline and the first sentence (or summary of the article) with a link to the full article. This feature is called syndication or aggregation. When you sign up for this service, it's sometimes referred to as subscribing.
Sites that offer this technology contain small orange buttons that looks like this — or have buttons that say "RSS" or "XML", which look like this . All these buttons mean the same thing: the site has a feed available for you to use.
RSS: A Simple Start
To get content via RSS feeds, you need a feed reader. This software checks for and displays the most recent updates from the feeds of the content providers you've selected. Your unread news items typically appear in bold, just as unread emails do.
Choose a feed reader: There are many versions of feed readers — some are accessed using a browser and some are downloadable. Feed readers offer varying options and sometimes may be specific to your operating system, so you need to choose one that works with your browsing style and computer. Now, don't worry — we're going to help you with this.
Here are some choices, and simple instructions to start getting RSS feeds.
A. Browser-based, "live bookmarking". Newer versions of popular web browsers have RSS functionality built in. Live bookmarking is an easy way to integrate RSS feeds into your browser. This method is supported by browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 for both PCs and Macs. Macs are also supported by Safari.
To add TheStreet.com RSS feeds to your browser, go to TheStreet.com RSS page.
Now, click on the RSS feed button next to the content title that you want. For example, if you would like TheStreet.com Top Read Stories, click on the RSS button next to that selection. (Please note that if you want our Premium Services content, you need to subscribe and there is a fee involved.)
The browser will then present you with a preview of the content and options that include "Live bookmarks." Select that option. Then hit the "Subscribe now" button. Once you've created a live bookmark, clicking on the bookmark in your browser will reveal the most recent headlines in the feed.
B. Web-based RSS readers allow you to access your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer. They generally come in two types.
1. Google and Yahoo allow you to create a personalized "Home" or "Start" page that combines your RSS feeds, your personal email account, and other services. Go to my.yahoo.com or www.google.com to set up an account. If you already use Yahoo Mail or Google's gmail, you won't have to create a separate account.
2. Other popular free services are Newsgator Online (Newsgator.com) and Bloglines (Bloglines.com). These are dedicated RSS readers. Users can easily create categorized folders and manage their RSS feeds similar to documents on their computer and web bookmarks. For example, you can organize your feeds by topic such as "work," "entertainment," "blogs," etc.
Adding your favorite feeds to these services is easy. Once your account is created, simply visit TheStreet.com RSS page. When you get to the page, click on the button of the reader that you use. This will set your reader preference on that page.
Then, add the specific feed you want by clicking on the reader button next to that feed when it appears.
It's easier if you select the "remember me" option for both your reader and feed choices. This way, you don't have to log in each time you want to add a feed.
C. Downloadable readers are for more advanced users and generally involve a cost. Some technologically-savvy users prefer these readers because they offer personalization, and allow users to manage multiple feeds in a well-designed, format that is similar to Microsoft Outlook. Two popular readers are NewsGator's FeedDemon for PCs and NetNewsWire for Macs.
Now you know more about RSS than most people. So, start feeding your reader!