American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter

APA-IL Feeds


APA-IL: General News and Announcements (as seen on the APA-IL website's "front page")

What is RSS?
Really Simple Syndication (RSS)  is a notification system used to alert subscribers to changes made to their favorite websites. Each site must offer the free service in order for people to add it to their lists. It is easy to see which sites offer the service, or are RSS-enabled, because of the orange buttons labeled with either RSS or XML somewhere on the page. The APA-IL website this icon:
to show when there is a feed on our website. When ever you see you can click on the button and read or subscribe to the feed.

An RSS feed is a text-based headline with a link, and usually a short summary, that is shot over to you as soon as it is posted. If you’re interested in reading the whole article, just click on the RSS feed link, and you will be directed to the full article, simply and efficiently. Think of a feed as the newspaper boy delivering the paper to your front door, as opposed to you walking to the newsstand.

How do I read the feeds?
You may have noticed that when you try to click on one of the orange, rectangular buttons, you just get a squirrelly looking page of code. RSS is written in XML (Extensible Markup Language), similar to html. That’s all fine and good, but why can’t Johnny read the feed? Well, that’s because he needs an RSS feed reader to make it work. Some readers automatically take you to the full article, while with others, you must use their application’s RSS button. So now what?

There are a couple of ways to read:

  1. Stand alone - A standalone application that processes your feeds for you. You can access feeds while offline. The drawback here, is that it is yet another program open on your desktop.

  2. Add-on - The reader plugs right in and extend the functionality of existing programs, such as Internet Explorer and Outlook. The upside, is that most likely, you already have Outlook or Explorer open all the time. The downside, is that if you have many folders in Outlook already or hundreds of  bookmarks in Explorer, it may be a little more difficult to find your feeds fast.

  3. Web-based - Web-based feed readers are built right into a browser, requiring no special software installation. The Mozilla Firefox browser, for example, automatically enables you to add RSS feeds to your Favorites folder creating “Live Bookmarks”. Safari and Internet Explorer also have.

I only want to receive one feed from APA-IL, how can I blend these together?
Tools to mix, blend and "mash-up" multiple RSS feeds help you grab multiple RSS feeds and create a single customized RSS feed. Search the internet for "rss mashup" or "rss mixer" and you will find dozens of free services. Each service provides slightly different features so do your research and find the one that matches your needs the best.

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