Super-Quick Tutorial on RSS Feeds
There are two ways to get information: someone sends it to you without you asking for it (think email), or you receive it because you request it. "RSS" means Really Simple Syndication; requesting information is the essence of RSS. And yes, it is really simple.
An "RSS Feed" is simply a way for you to tell your computer (or iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone) to see if there is anything new at a website you want to follow. The software takes a look at the RSS feed on a schedule and brings in anything new it finds there. It's just that simple.
How It Works
An RSS Feed can be monitored by your browser, your email program, or special software known as an "aggregator." They all work with just about equal ease, so you can use whichever type fits your needs best.
We Recommend Feedly for your Mobile Device
For your iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone, the best thing going for keeping up to date with RSS Feeds like ours — as well as news from around the Internet — is an app known as Feedly. It's free. You can monitor lots and lots of your favorite websites, news sites, and other sources of information using this clever, sophisticated and easy to use app. Just search for "Feedly" in the iTunes store, Android market, or Amazon.com app market for the free install. Follow the easy instructions to set up the RSS Feeds you want to follow.
Speaking of which, here are the ones you'll want for everything LensWork:
- The latest from our publication and website can be tracked with www.lenswork.com/newsinfo.xml
- We also have an RSS Feed specifically for members of LensWork Online that will inform you of any recent additions to our membership website. That RSS Feed is www.lensworkonline.com/recentadditions.xml. Notice there are no spaces in this URL.
- For updates to our LensWork Daily Blog, have Feedly follow daily.lenswork.com/atom.xml
- If you'd like updates only on our podcasts, use www.lenswork.com/podcast.xml.
- And finally, you can use Feedly to fetch each new installment of Brooks' project, Kokoro, by using www.brooksjensenarts.com/kokoro.xml.
Getting RSS Feeds in Your Email Program
Each email program is different, so consider this an example rather than a detailed instruction. Let's say you are using Microsoft Outlook for your email — as no doubt many of you are. Over in the email section where your Inbox is, look for the folder labeled RSS Feeds.
Right-click on the RSS Feeds folder and then click on "Add a New RSS Feed..."
A "New RSS Feed" dialog box will pop up that asks for the location of the RSS feed. It looks like this:
The RSS Feed location for LensWork Daily is http://daily.lenswork.com/atom.xml. Type (or better yet, copy and paste) this in and click the "Add" button. You will be asked to confirm this with the following dialog box . . .
Click on Yes. That's it!
Outlook will retrieve recent posts to the RSS feed as if they were inbound emails and place them in a special folder called LensWork Daily. (This way they don't clutter up your email InBox.) Outlook will monitor our RSS Feed and when it sees new entries, it will automatically download them to this folder. It all works in the background, just like email.
You can then choose to read the feed right in Outlook, click on the "View article" link at the bottom to open the RSS Feed location in your browser, or delete the item if it is of no interest to you.
Outlook will even tell you how many unread posts there are.
Other email programs work similarly. Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, Intellect!, and most others can track the RSS Feeds you want to follow. All you need to do is to set up each feed and then look for the inbound content.
Getting RSS Feeds in Your Browser
Again, each browser is a bit different but they are share some commonality so an example will probably give you all the help you need. We'll use Firefox.
In the upper left corner of any page at LensWork Daily, look for the link"Subscribe to this blog's feed."
Click on this link.
Firefox will open a window and ask you to confirm that you want to subscribe to this feed.
It's easiest to just use the Live Bookmarks default option and click on the "Subscribe Now" button. If you prefer, however, you might want to use one of the other choices. These may vary depending on your computer and your usage. Here is a typical array of choices . . .
. . . so you could use Google or My Yahoo! if you have accounts there. Notice you could also send the RSS Feed over to Microsoft Outlook from here if that is your email software.
If you use Live Bookmarks and click on Subscribe Now, you will see a dialog box asking where you want to store the Live Bookmark in your Bookmarks Toolbar. You can organize this link like any other bookmark.
Once you've click on the Subscribe button, the bookmark is created.
Go see how it looks in your browser's bookmarks. In my browser, I stored the bookmark where I keep lots of other photo blogs, so it looks like this in the drop down menu . . .
When you click on the LensWork Daily bookmark, you will see a list of the titles of the recent posts in a flyout menu.
Note that the ones you have already read will be indicated with an icon to the left, the ones yet unread will have the Live Bookmarks logo next to them. Click on any of the posts you want to navigate to and read.
Again, other browsers all work very similarly to Firefox, but not exactly. For example, if you are using Internet Explorer, after clicking on the link on any of the LensWork Daily pages, you will see a new page with this message . . .
Click the "Subscribe to this feed" link to subscribe. Here again, you can add this bookmark to your bookmarks toolbar wherever you'd like.
Which is better for you?
Unlike the email option described above, you will need to proactively check your browser's bookmarked RSS links periodically to see what new content is available — just like a bookmarked webpage. It's up to you as to how often you visit a website to stay informed. Obviously, the advantage to the email method is that you don't need to remember to check.
That's it! Have fun and let us know if you have any questions.
Editor, LensWork Publishing