This tutorial is useful for those who don’t know how to subscribe to RSS feeds and also to point you to a nice RSS Feed Reader, RSS Bandit, that you can download and is totally free.
What is RSS useful for?
To put it simply, if there is a blog that publishes posts considered interesting by you, how would you be able to stay up-to-date with that blog? How would you know that the blog has published a new post? For sure you can go that blog (or website) on a daily basis, or even several times during the day, but as you can see this takes time and that blog may have not published a new post (or article). And if you have many sites or blogs that you need to keep up with, the process may just get cumbersome and wastes a lot of your time. RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, gives you the ability to get updates for a number of blogs that you subscribe to without the need to visit those sites / blogs. This keeps you up-to-date with those blogs and saves a lot of valuable time.
What is an RSS Feed?
An “RSS Feed” is what a blog generates to syndicate the blog content with “RSS Feed Readers”.
What is an RSS Feed URL?
You are probably familiar with what URL or Link usually means. A URL that you enter in a web browser address bar takes you to a specific page. For an RSS feed reader to get the content from a specific blog, it needs an RSS Feed URL so that it can access and show you the content.
For example, the RSS Feed URL of my website that lets you get blog post updates is http://feeds.itfall.com/itfall
This is what an RSS Feed Reader needs to get from you so that it can read the blog content.
How to identify an RSS Feed URL on a website?
You would usually find the URL as a link with an icon that looks like this (it can have different sizes, however):
Or it can simply be a link that contains text like RSS feed or RSS. In any case of these, all you need to do to get the URL copied is right click over it and select “Copy Shortcut” (Internet Explorer) or “Copy Link Location” (Mozilla Firefox) or “Copy link address” (Google Chrome). And then you have to paste the URL to an “RSS Feed Reader”.
RSS Feed Readers
Now, there are many RSS Feed Readers out there and some may be web based, others are software. In this tutorial, I am just going to show you one RSS Reader which you can download and install. It is called “RSS Bandit”.
Subscribing to RSS Feeds with RSS Bandit (the version installed in this tutorial is 126.96.36.1992)
- Get RSS Bandit from their website and see the software Prerequisites. You need the .Net Framework v3.5 installed.
- Run the installer file, then click “Next” on the Welcome dialog.
- Choose “Just me” or “Everyone” then click “Next”.
- Then click “Next” again to start installation.
- Once finished, click the “close” button.
- You should now see the shortcut of the program on the desktop, double click it to start the program.
- On the left pane, you will see a section called “My Feeds”. As you can see it already contains feeds that were added by the program when it was installed. These folders are meant to categorize your feeds, you can add or delete folders as you wish. Suppose we want to add a feed to the “Blogs” folder, tick the small triangle next to it to see what it contains.
- Then click over the “Blogs” folder to select it. Then right click over it, and select “New Feed Subscription”.
- Click “Next”on the Wizard Welcome Page.
- Enter the URL of the feed. For example, if you want to subscribe to my blog, enter this URL: http://feeds.itfall.com/itfall
- Then click the “Next” button.
- It will automatically fill in the title of the feed as detected, but you change that title as you like.
- Since we have previously right clicked over the Blogs folder, it has been selected automatically. But you can change it here if you want.
- On the Subscription Credentials page you can enter the user name and password of the feed (if any). In our case, and like most cases with blogs, you don’t need to. So just leave them empty and click “Next”.
- On the Feed/Item Control page, you can select the “Update Frequency”. 60 minutes is the default. Click “Next” thereafter.
- On the Feed/Item Display, just click “Next” as we don’t need to use a custom formatter.
- Then click “Finish”
After that, to get to see the content, select the Feed in the left pane. Then look at the right pane in the “Feed Details” section to see the blog posts. When you select one, you will see the content in the lower section.
Also, if you see a plus sign next to a feed item, it means that the post has comments, and if you click it, you will see those comment items, and then when you click on one, you will see the content of that comment in the lower section.
If you want the RSS Bandit program to start automatically after logon to Windows, do the following:
- From the menu bar select “Tools”, and then click “Options”
- In the “Startup” section, check the “Start application after logon to Windows” checkbox then click “OK”
So that’s it, it is really that simple.