On 2/12/2014 6:52 PM, Mistress Hertha Blair of Froggestow wrote:
> Pardon me.  What is RSS?

An unexpectedly neat question.

A lot of online technology is divided into "push" and "pull"

For a non-tech example, if I mail you a letter, it's a "pull"
tech: it lays there until you open it.  If I make a phone call,
it is a "push" technology: it makes noise until you answer it.

"Push" tells you, interrupts you.  "Pull" is passive until
you go and get it.

A web site is a "pull" technology.  It sits there until you
visit.  If I update my web site, how will you know to come
back for a new visit?

People came up with an idea, or the basics of an idea,
called Really Simple Syndication (it's actually named
Rich Site Summary): RSS.

What it is, is a standard format and standard information about
a web site, that a site publishes in a known consistent
location. It's not really human-readable, but the idea is
that you can use that to have sites turn into "push"

If I publish and update my RSS feed, you can tell a "web
robot" tool which feeds you care about.  That tool will
check the RSS feed for you, and if something changes it
can either interrupt you ("push") or just organize those
feeds for easy reading.

There are lots of RSS tools out there.  I happen to read
LiveJournal a lot (I have for a long time) and it can
be told "look at that feed, and when it updates, show
me the new articles".

RSS is simple.  But lets you do some very powerful things.