ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How are RSS feeds created, submitted, displayed and stored?

Updated on April 16, 2008

RSS feeds are really very simple. If you download an RSS file and open it up with a text editor like Notepad, you'll see what I mean. It's just a specific type of formated data file called an XML file. That's really just a fancy way of saying that it's a sort of organized list, in which the items all have labels that a computer can read and recognize.

RSS files can be updated manually, through a program like Notepad or a free program like Feed Editor, or they can be set to update automatically on a website that has been configured for that purpose. If you're using an easy-to-build website-creation platform, such as Drupal (which is highly-recommended, I might add!) very often the ability to create an RSS feed is built right into your site already, or in a downloadable module that can be added on. If you're using a major blog site, you may want to check if they have that already - RSS is hardly a new technology.

What happens when an RSS feed is updated is very simple. Something, some module or code or instruction that someone has set up, tells the computer to make a new entry to that list in the RSS file. Let's use a real-world example here. Imagine a Rolodex, or a box of index cards with recipes written on them. Now you want to add a new card, either for a new business contact or recipe. You'll be adding a new index card, but what's written on it won't be purely arbitrary; the information you store will be according to a system you've already designed, such as First Name, Last Name, Telephone Number. Or perhaps, Quantities, Ingredients, Cooking Instructions. So out of all the new data you have - whether it's someone's business card or a recipe from a book - you'll select only certain items of information, and you will write them down in an organized way, according to your own system, when you add it.

It's exactly the same with an RSS feed. Having created an RSS feed, you already have the system established. When the system gets a new blog post, for example, it already knows how to update the RSS file that lists new posts. It knows, for example, to create a space for the heading, to label it Heading, and then to write the heading to your blog post. Then it knows, for example, to take the first three lines of your blog, label it as Brief, and save those three lines in the list. Exactly what kinds of information it collects and stores depends on what instructions the computer was given when someone created the RSS feed, and the process that adds to it.

What all of this does is pretty much what a Rolodex or a recipe-card box does: Now you have a place that you can go to see the new information that's been updated. The RSS file is stored somewhere online,just like any other file. When you go to look at it, your computer checks to see if the online version has anything new that your old copy doesn't. If there's new content, it will replace the copy on your computer with the new version. Since RSS files don't usually have a whole lot of information on them, they are small and transfer quickly. This makes them simple to use and to manage. Various programs will do nifty things with them... such as display all the headlines from an online news feed to you in a little bar on your browser, while you're surfing the internet. Programs that use RSS feeds will usually check back with the online copy of the file every so often, just to make sure you're getting the very latest results. This is why the technology is known as Push Media: when the RSS file is updated, everyone who's using the RSS feed gets notified of the new information very shorty. It keeps you, for example, from having to keep checking back at your online news source's webpage every five minutes, just in case there's some exciting new development that you don't know about yet.

RSS feeds are very simple, handy, and convenient. This is why they have become so widely-used. Few people want to leash themselves to their computers, checking back to a website every five minutes in case they miss something important. They know that if something happens, they will be notified. It does for online information what the answering machine did for telephones. You can simply check your new RSS items, and decide whether or not you feel like "calling them back". =)

Incidentally, if you're using a site that does not have RSS feeds, and for some bizarre reason the administrator doesn't want to add them when you ask, you can always use something called an RSS scraper. is one such scraper. It can take a few examples of essentially any kind of webpage you give it, and when you tell it what kinds of information you want to collect from those pages, it will create an RSS feed from that data and display it. In other words, you can "scrape" information into an updating RSS feed from just about any page, and access it from Dapper's widget once you add that widget on a webpage. For example, even though my blog site - at least to my knowledge - doesn't offer RSS feeds to me, I can scrape it into a RSS-capable widget anyway, and not have to check back at my blog to see if my friends have posted something new. Just another handy option to make life better for all of us.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      The XML file is with the rest of the HTML documents.

      An RSS file is actually one type of XML file. RSS was developed by Netscape from the XML format.

      The files are both located in the same place, on the web server. That's the computer on the internet that gives out web pages to your browser.

      Be well,

      - Satori

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am very confused about the rss fees..please solve my question is that from where xml file is download......Please solve my problem....

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      that is great think for me

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks for the information. Very useful for this newbie.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The same thing defined here too

    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California

      You know, that's not a bad idea at all!

      For the moment, I've already released a Hub describing the basics of how to create a Drupal site, from start to finish. It here:

    • privateye2500 profile image


      9 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      ...slap me a hub on this Drupal if you have the time and inclination!

      Thanks for this.

      Melanie /

    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from California

      Thanks for the feedback! =) I'd love to hear which web services you use, and whether they're working well for you.

    • myi4u profile image


      10 years ago from United Kingdom

      yeah. . rss is very simple, we can use some free web services to manage our own feeds rather than creating our own rss ..


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)