What’s a feed?
A web feed is a way to keep up to date with a constantly changing website. Used by weblogs/blogs, news sites and publishers across the net it allows visitors to stay up to date with new content without the hassle of frequently visiting the site to check if it has changed. You save time and you stay informed.
It also means that you do not have to subscribe to a newsletter giving up your personal email address and allows you to anonymously subscribe to website changes without compromising your security.
Atom & RSS?
Atom and RSS both serve a similar purpose. Providing a summary of content on a website that allows a user to be informed of updates. The difference is that Atom is newer and was designed with the hindsight of RSS, seeing all the flaws and ambiguities of RSS Atom was designed to be better.
Atom is easier to syndicate and easier to understand. It also has some critical functionality that was not present in RSS. My website provides both Atom and RSS feeds (because some people will be using older software without Atom support). But I encourage everyone to use the Atom feed, it provides extra information too such as related posts and citations (Which may or may not be supported by your reader of choice)
TLDR: Atom and RSS are the same, but Atom is better. Use it.
If you want to read an article about some of the differences between Atom & RSS, have a look at Chris Wellons’ post Atom vs. RSS
P.S. That link will be in the Atom syndication but not the RSS syndication
How do I use it?
In the browser (extension)
Most browsers (Excluding Chrome) have some rudimetary support for Atom/RSS feeds. But many other users suggest other readers as extensions. The best place to look is on the extension store for your browser. Google offers an official RSS extension here but a couple other worthy mentions are Slick RSS and RSS Feed Reader.
For Firefox there is Brief and Bamboo Feed Reader to mention a few.
For other browsers, just check your extension/add-ons store for ‘Atom reader’ or ‘RSS reader’.
On the desktop (still in the browser really)
Available as a webpage and an iOS/Android app, Feedly is my preferred app. Arguable this is still in the browser for the desktop, but it is browser agnostic. You can choose to signin with Google, Facebook or create a private account with an email address.
Another suggestion would be Reedah. Reedah is very minimalistic but a good option if you want something simple.
I personally like Feedly a lot and will be using it on my phone. Which means I will also be primarily working on optimising my site for displaying on Feedly. If you use another feed reader, let me know in the comments below. Also any suggestions, just comment!
Feedly again is my suggestion here (I should start collecting royalties). You can get apps for iOS, Android and Kindle. So grab the one that works for you and just search for
Got some links?
If you are looking for the URLs to my feeds, they are available here!
If anyone needs help getting the feed to show up in their reader, post a comment below and I will try to assist you.
- Josh Lloyd