What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. And surprisingly it stands for many other things too, according to the Wikipedia. But we’re here to talk about RSS as it relates to the Parks Blog.

At the bottom of each Parks Blog page you’ll notice a link called Entries RSS. This is the link you need in order to subscribe to the Parks Blog. You’ll also need a piece of software to aggregate your various RSS subscriptions. On the Mac (OS X) there’s Net News Wire (30 day demo). On Windows there’s Feeddemon. There are also other ways to consume RSS. If you use browsers like Safari (OS X Tiger) or Firefox (Windows and Mac), they have built in features for viewing RSS feeds. There’s also Thunderbird, an email client put out by Mozilla, that is capable of subscribing to RSS feeds. A screen shot of Net News Wire Lite at left.Screen shot of Net News Wire Lite

Now the important question. Why would you want to go through the hassle of downloading and installing new software to read RSS? Well, if you do a lot of surfing, it can be a big time saver. If you’re just surfing the odd site to find out what’s new, RSS can let you know when something has been posted. For large sites, such as Ontario Parks, it can be difficult to find the new and updated content sometimes. We try our best to make new content visible, but with RSS you simply start up your RSS news reader. The reader “pings” your subscriptions. If there’s something new that’s been posted to the Parks Blog it shows up in your list of subscriptions. You could think of an RSS news reader as a one stop shop for all your web surfing.

Once you have a news reader like Net News Wire or Feeddemon, subscribing is easy. In some cases you click on the Entries RSS link in the Parks Blog and copy the url for that page, then in your news reader, click on subscribe and paste the url in. That’s it. You’re done. In other cases simply clicking on Entries RSS will launch your news reader and automatically subscribe you. Either way, it’s easy and simple.

So, if you’re inclined, give it a try. There’s a world of blogs and information out there!