Website syndication is a broadcast format that announces details on a website or blog to multiple sites at one time. Syndication allows other websites to use content from a blog or webpage as a way of marketing the site.
A RSS reader is free-standing software that runs in the background on your computer. When setting up RSS software, you define intervals that instruct the program to sample websites that you subscribe to for updates. The program will notify you to additions to your favorite sites while you work on other things. RSS readers are similar to an aggregator except they work as part of your computer system.
An aggregator does the same thing as a reader, but works from a browser. While online, the aggregator will scan websites for updates. A list will display on command that provides a title and description of new information posted to your favorite pages.
A RSS directory is the yellow pages of available RSS feeds. A directory is a collection of RSS feeds available by subject. Essentially, a directory is where you can go to find feed details on something that is pertinent to you. News agencies, such as CNET, and large companies, such as Apple, all provide directories that help you find sites that offer subscription feeds on subjects that interest you.
This is a snippet of information picked up by a reader or aggregator that keeps you informed on updates. To create a feed for your site, you develop an XML file that points to links for updates. A feed gives a basic description of the website and links to pages that update regularly.
There is one traditional icon for RSS feeds. You probably have seen it many times on web pages. The RSS image is an orange square with rounded corners and a symbol for broadcasting. The icon sits somewhere on the web page to indicate an accessible RSS feed for the site. Often you will find the RSS icon in the right corner of the location bar. Clicking on the icon allows you to subscribe to the feed. Once you subscribe, your reader or aggregator follows the page to alert you of updates.
Atom is a second form of syndication. RSS syndication has some limitations, and Atom offers an alternative to RSS. Atom Syndication Format also utilizes XML to supply a feed for updates.