The world of online content is growing exponentially every day. Since there is so much content, it is sometimes hard to keep track of what is happening. People try out numerous methods to keep up with the updates, including navigating to certain websites daily, searching on Google, as well as depending on social media platforms. The RSS feed is one of the oldest and most effective solutions to staying updated, which generally gets overlooked. It is a form of technology that has led to the popularization of multiple modern-day web tools. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what RSS is, some top feed readers, how it evolved with time, whether it is still used or not, and finally, its future.
What is RSS, and What Does It Do?
According to Wikipedia, RSS is a web-based feed that allows its users as well as applications to access websites and their updates in a format that is understood by computers. The term RSS is a short form for 'Rich Site Summary" or "straightforward syndication". In simple words, it refers to text files that provide necessary, up-to-date information such as news articles, content pieces, etc. The content gets inserted into an RSS feed reader, and its interface converts the text file into a stream that provides the latest updates from all around the internet.
Which Are Some of the Best RSS Readers?
There are different types of RSS feed readers readily available for users. Here are some of them:
Flipboard is a globally-acclaimed feed reader that is famous for its classy and appealing interface. It looks incredible on mobile screens and is an excellent choice for users who want a more organic way to consume the latest news from reliable sources. To stay up-to-date with the latest news, all users need to do is select their preferred categories, and the app will create a customized feed for them.
If you are looking for a sophisticated and straightforward news feed application, News Explorer is an option you can seriously consider. It is an elegant Mac-based utility that allows you to explore the latest news. News Explorer allows you to read, mark, and share the news that matters to you. In addition, the app features tons of useful features and offers a flawless integration with iCloud.
Feedly is an RSS feed reader that serves both entertainment as well as professional purposes. It features a simple interface along with generic categories to accumulate individualized RSS feeds as well as a homepage that is full of the latest news. The application is currently one of the most popular feed readers.
How Did RSS Evolve With Time?
As content on the internet became more detailed and complex, RSS files too went along the same path, i.e., they started including pictures, video clips, and more. However, the files did so in a controlled, stripped-down so that loading the feed could be smoother and fully compatible across every feed reader. RSS feed readers keep updating automatically to deliver updated content directly to a user’s device. This facilitates internet users to form their feed with customized updates from every website they visit frequently.
Is RSS Still Used?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. RSS feeds are still present online, but they are not as dominant or popular as they used to be back in the day. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are preferred more than RSS feeds when it comes to following websites or consuming content. Other applications aggregate URLs to the latest news, and based on their algorithms, they allow people to select stories as per their preference. Interest and popularity of RSS feed significantly decreased over the years as most web-based brands now post to social media for marketing their product or services instead of converting their content into RSS files. Therefore, even though RSS feeds exist, they do not have the same traction as they had before.
What is the Future of RSS?
As per their current performance, RSS may move to other platforms and disappear entirely from a web browser. Mozilla Firefox, one of the most-used web browsers, ended its native support for RSS a few years ago, primarily because it required extensive maintenance and no one viewed or used it. In the future, there is a possibility that all other internet browsers might follow the same path as Mozilla. However, RSS is not going to disappear completely. In fact, developers have already started creating RSS-enabling extensions for browsers.
RSS is a powerful tool for updating users about what's happening in the world. However, RSS feeds are slowly and steadily fading from the face of the internet. Even though they will probably never completely disappear from the web, they might get forgotten by netizens.