Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

About RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are a way of keeping up to date with what's happening on a website without actually having to keep going back to see what's new on it. Say that you had five different websites that you visited every day to find out what was new with the world - wouldn't it be easier if you could just open one application (called an RSS aggregator) on your computer and be told about what was new on those websites in one place, without you having to waste your time to visit each and every one?

This is where RSS feeds step in. An RSS feed is a way that a website owner can let their visitors know that they've updated their website. All that you have to do as a visitor is grab the RSS file, tell your "RSS Aggregator" to keep an eye out on it, and whenever the website's owner updates their site, you'll be told about it!

RSS feeds are used on most major websites as a tool to enable people to stay up to date with what is happening on them. If you haven't already tried using them, maybe you should give them a go.

How to actually set up an RSS feed to be read

Well, first you'll need an RSS aggregator. The one that I'm going to recommend today comes built into one of the most secure web browsers currently available, and best of all it's free! The web browser that I'm going to get you to download is Firefox. Just follow that link, click the "Free Download" link, and follow the instructions.

Once you've downloaded Firefox and run it for the first time, you'll be asked if you would like to make it your default web browser. Personally, I'd say a big yes. It's a lot more secure than Internet Explorer, meaning that you'll have to try a lot harder to actually get any viruses from browsing the internet!

Now that you've got Firefox installed and running you'll need to fnd the RSS feed that you'd like to keep track of. Any site which has an RSS feed that it has set up correctly will have a little orange icon appear in the bottom right hand corner of the Firefox window that you can click on to start monitoring the RSS feed. Try it on this page - there should be a little orange icon. If you click on the icon, a menu appears which says "Subscribe to" followed by the name of the RSS feed. If there is more than one RSS feed available then you can choose which feeds to follow. Click on the feed that you would like to follow and you'll be shown a popup that allows you to rename the feed. Make any ammendments that you would like, and press "Add". If you chose the default settings, then a new folder will have been created in your Bookmarks folder using the name of the site you are on. Inside this folder is the list of news items for that site. The magical thing is that whenever that site is updated, the list of links in the folder will be updated too. So you never get to miss an important event again!