The backend files

SPIP automatically creates XML/RSS files that can be used:
  • by another website to syndicate your site,
  • by your visitors to follow your site’s updates with a newsreader.

The XML/RSS format was designed to “export” a list of the most recent articles published on a website. This allows different automatic tools to retrieve and display the title and descriptions of the last updates on a website.

The original use of this format was the content syndication: a third party website displays (automatically) the last updates of a website. SPIP, like many other content management systems (CMS), is able to syndicate and display the information published by third party websites (via the “Referencing a site” feature).

Another recent application of this format gives visitors the oportunity to “subscribe” to a website and be notified of any updates to the site.

By using the appropriate software (a newsreader), the visitor doesn’t need to visit the website repeatedly to see if there are new articles: the newsreader checks that automatically and notifies its user when updates to subscribed sites are available. This is particularly useful when you need to follow the content of multiple websites.

SPIP automatically creates the XML/RSS files which allow third party sites to syndicate your content and gives visitors the opportunity to subscribe to your site with their newsreader. These files are called “backend” files.

Subscribing to a Web site

To get the most out of content syndication and automatically receive updated information, the user needs to use software called a newsreader or news aggregator. A good choice of such software is available:

  • online newsreaders, like Agregaweb, Bloglines or rss4you;
  • browser extensions (for Mozilla, Firefox and Microsoft Explorer for example) which integrate the newsreading functions directly into the user’s web browser;
  • standalone software.

The simplest solution is probably the browser extension. You can find a few extensions of this type for the excellent Mozilla FireFox (in the categories «News», or «RSS Reader»; for example RSS Reader Panel).

Example of an RSS reader in Mozilla Firefox
Example of an RSS reader in Mozilla Firefox

Usually newreaders have the following layout:

  • on the top left, a list of all the subscribed sites (with the name and address of the site);
  • for each site, on the bottom left of the screen, a list of the latest articles published, together with a short description;
  • in the main window, the full article is displayed.

See also : Content Syndication

Author mortimer Published : Updated : 26/10/12

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