Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Using an RSS feed reader, part of Up and Running with RSS and Podcast Subscriptions.
- The most common way to work with RSS feeds is by using an RSS feed reader, to subscribe the RSS feeds and read content from those subscriptions. An RSS feed is sort of like subscribing to content on the web, and the feed reader application is like the mailbox where you receive the content from that subscription. So instead of visiting multiple websites to get all the news that you read everyday, you can have all of that news come to you in one place. In this movie we'll check out the basics of setting up and using an RSS feed reader.
So the tool that I'm using here is feedly, it's an RSS feed reader on the web. There are tons of great RSS feed readers out there, but as I mentioned earlier, this is the one that we'll be using in this chapter. So I'm subscribed to three RSS feeds. I can see those over on the sidebar. I have subscribed to the NASA feed, to the National Geographic News feed, and the Verge, which is a technology blog. I can select one of these feeds, and then I can see a list of news stories from that feed.
If I select the All option, it shows me all of the new stories from all of the feeds that I've subscribed to. They are all listed here, and I can even see which feed each of these articles comes from. But of course if I click on one individual feed, I see only the articles from that feed. And if I see an article that I'm interested in, I can click on it, and I can see the preview a little bit bigger, and I can hit this link to visit the website, and it will take me to the NASA website in this case where I can read the full article.
Now I just open this up in a separate tab, so if I close this tab, I'm back to where I was inside of feedly. And I can out of this article just by hitting the little x right here. Notice that after you click on an article, it no longer has a dark black headline. The dark black headlines tell me that I have not read this article yet, and the lighter headline tells me that I have. Okay, so this is what it looks like when you have some subscription set up. That was important for you to understand how this works.
But when you first set up your RSS feed reader it will be empty. Let's find some feeds to subscribe to. Now I can search for RSS feeds right here in the reader app. I can just go the search field up here in the top right, and in this case I'm going to search for travel. If the site that you're looking for appears here on this list, you could just click on it. I usually click on the Topic button, right here where it says Topics, I can click on Travel. This gets me a much longer list of websites with RSS feeds.
Once I find one that I like, I can just click on the little plus button to subscribe to it. So let's subscribe to the Adventure.Com feed. It's going to ask me which category I wanted in, it's offering to create a new category called Travel. But if I didn't want it there, I could put it into my space collection or something like that. But let's leave it in the travel collection, I'll hit Add, and now I have this feed over here on the sidebar. Now this is just one way of finding RSS feeds. I could hit the Add Content button here on the sidebar and do the same search here.
But you'll notice it says I can search by title, URL or topic. So one of these options is a URL. Not all feed readers have a tool to search for feeds, but they will all have some option to subscribe using an RSS feed URL. The URL is an address, very similar to the address you type into your web browser to visit a webpage. So how do you find RSS addresses? Well that's a topic for another movie in this chapter. For now, just know that the feeds that I've subscribed to appear here on the left side, and I can click on any of these to read that feed.
Or of course I can go into the All category and see them all together. I'm going to go back to the NASA feed for just a moment. And I can click on the gear button up here in the top right to change the layout of my stories. And I can do this independently within any feed. So this one is set to the Magazine layout. I could switch this to the Cards layout and it's just a different way of reading the feed. You may have noticed that when I go to the All category, it's in this compact list. Well, that is the Title Only presentation.
So I could change this maybe to full articles, and then I have to scroll down quite a lot to get through them. I'm going to switch this over to the magazine layout. As I'm browsing through articles, if there's something that I just don't want to see, I can hide it. So if I just kind of hover my mouse over any of these articles, I see a hide button and a save button. So if I hit the hide button here. It just hides that article. But if I see something that I want to make sure to go back and read later, I can hit save.
If I want to turn that off, I can always hit unsave. When I save something, it's going to be over here in this category for Saved For Later. If I click on that, I can see all of the articles that I've saved. Now it is worth mentioning, I'm going to go back to the All category again, that you do not always see the hide and save buttons. For example if switch over the Title Only layout, then you're not going to see those buttons. But most of these layouts do have those buttons. The Card layout has it, and the Magazine layout has it.
Clearly these are the specific features in feedly. Different RSS reader applications will work differently. So if you're using a different RSS application, you'll have to play with it a little bit to get familiar. But in general, any feed reader will be similar to what we've seen here. So now you can start getting your RSS feed reader set up, and subscribe to some content. You should be getting the idea now of how easy it can be to have the news come to you, instead of visiting several websites everyday to get the information that you want.