RSS Feeds and Aggregators –Talk about making my hair hurt!
The other night, a reader dropped me a line suggesting that I really ought to have an RSS feed. I bared my clueless soul and confessed that I had heard the term “RSS” before and I had even seen those three letters smooshed together on other people’s blogs, but I had no idea what RSS meant. How could I even begin thinking about having an RSS feed when I didn’t know what the hell an RSS feed is?
The patient (and by now sorry he mentioned it, I’m sure) reader wrote back and explained that, with an RSS feed people like him who have “aggregators” to get the RSS feeds can see instantly which of their favorite blogs have been updated, and they can even read a bit of each updated blog to see if it is “clickworthy” (my term – he was being nice). He even sent me a link about “aggregators.” This was a good thing, because “aggregators” are as foreign to me as are “RSS feeds.”
I figured, hell, I should just go out there on the web and get me one of those RSS feeds and one of those really cool aggregators.
I went to this site. The site has five pages, and this appeared on the first page.
For rss2html.pl to work on your system, you should have a recent version of Perl installed, 5.003 or better. 5.005 is recommended. You will also need the XML::Parser and XML::RSS modules installed.
To install the modules on a *nix system, type:
perl -MCPAN -e “install XML::Parser”
perl -MCPAN -e “install XML::RSS”
If you’re using a win32 machine (Win95/98/NT), you have a recent installation of Activestate Perl. If you don’t have a recent version, visit http://www.activestate.com.
I clicked my way through the next four pages, becoming more depressed and lost with each click.
I did, however, get the sense that in order to talk RSS, one must know what XML is. So, I went to this site, where I was enlightened by:
XML specifies neither semantics nor a tag set. In fact XML is really a meta-language for describing markup languages. In other words, XML provides a facility to define tags and the structural relationships between them. Since there’s no predefined tag set, there can’t be any preconceived semantics. All of the semantics of an XML document will either be defined by the applications that process them or by stylesheets.
You’ve GOT to be shitting me.
OK, so what about aggregators? Maybe if I got one of those, this RSS and XML stuff would make more sense. So, I went here and saw this:
First of all, before installing Syndirella, you will need to have the Microsoft .NET Framework runtime version 1.0 installed. This is a 20 Megabyte download. If you do not already have it, you can either install it through Windows Update or download it from the Microsoft web site.
The latest beta version of Syndirella is the version 0.9b beta, released on January 19th, 2003. You can download it here:
· Syndirella 0.9b (250K)
· Source code of Syndirella 0.9b (101K)
· List of changes in version 0.9b
On second thought, I think I’ll just go into the kitchen and put my head in the farookin’ oven. I don’t have to download anything to do that.