RSS feeds pt. 2

if you missed part one of this series you can view it here. in that post i gave an overview of what RSS is and why i think it’s one of the dandiest things since sliced bread.

in this post i’ll explain how i set up up things and more cool features of my particular RSS reader.

now it’s no real secret that i’m a mac fan. and so my browser of choice for the past year and a half has been Safari. and in august Safari 3.0 debuted as a beta for Mac OS X Tiger and for Windows (XP and Vista). the “un-beta” 3.0 version is now included as part of Mac OS X Leopard.

anyways . . . if it wasn’t for Safari i don’t know if i would have joined this whole RSS thingy stuff.* in fact i tried it before when i used a windows machine but i didn’t really understand it at the time and not sure how i would actually need to use it.

but now that Safari is available for windows users as well it makes it easy for me to write this article since it applies to both mac and windows users.

first of all for all you windows users Safari is an internet browser just like Internet Explorer**, Firefox, or Flock***; so it’s not just for reading RSS feeds.

ok, so enough of that now on to how to set up your RSS feeds. download your copy of Safari to follow along in the fun.

when you come to a site that has an RSS feed you’ll see the “RSS” blue icon on the right side of the address bar. sometimes you’ll also see a link to it on the page it self somewhere. but if it has a feed you’ll always see the icon in the address bar as shown below.

clicking on it will bring up a window like this which shows you the recent posts/ news articles/ etc (whatever is in the RSS feed:

from here you can access the RSS version of the site. which in and of itself is pretty cool because it gets rid of most of the ads and other “non-essential” stuff on the site. but the red circles show the ways you can add this page as a bookmark. you can add it to whatever folder you’d like or straight to the bookmarks bar.

the real power of RSS is when you add more than one RSS feed to the same bookmark folder. you can click on the little book (circled in red on the left in the picture below) or if the bookmark bar isn’t visible go to the View menu and choose “show bookmark bar” to make it visible.

once there you can click on the Bookmark Bar on the left side and then click the little plus sign on the bottom of the right side window to create a new folder. name it for whatever kind of feeds you want in there.

in the picture below you can see that i have a “blog feeds” folder and a “mac feeds” folder. as you can see in the “blog feeds” folder i have 27 different blogs that i “subscribe” to. and in the “mac feeds” folder i have 16 sites that i “subscribe” to.

if you’ll also notice some of the folders have the “auto-click” checkbox next to them. in the bar above you’ll notice that the ones that have the box clicked have a box next to them the others have a downward arrow next to them.

what the auto-click box does is allow me to open all of the bookmarks inside of that folder at once. if i have all RSS feeds inside it will open all of them in one window. if they aren’t RSS bookmarks then it will open all of those sites in different tabs (which can also be useful). so a page with multiple feeds on one page looks like this:

you’ll notice the lower right sidebar lists all of the RSS feeds that this page is showing. i have new content to have “orange” site names (you can change the color to whatever you wish in the “preferences” menu.) from here clicking on any of the site names (in orange) will take you to the main site. or clicking on the actual title will take you just to that article/post.

when there’s nothing new the bookmark folders will have the square or triangle as shown above. but if there is new content it will look like this:

in the menu bar it self tells you how many new articles there are total in all the feeds (33 in this case) and then pressing and holding the button will show you exactly which feeds have how many articles. or you could just press the button and it will show you all of the new articles.

so you no longer have to check the sites randomly throughout the day. now you’ll know exactly when something new has been posted. (within at least a half hour)

there’s more that i’d like to share on the subject, but this post has gotten long already so i’ll save it for a “part 3” edition. in that post i’ll cover other neat goodies, the preferences menu, and a few disadvantages.

until then let me know if this has been helpful to you at all, or if there’s anything that you didn’t understand that you’d like me to clarify.


* see now you know this is a certified tech blog when i used terms like “thingy stuff”
** you may be noticing that i’m not “linking” to internet explorer. trust me it’s for your own good. even if you choose not to try safari, do yourself a favor and use firefox or flock. both of them support rss feeds as well.
*** i just noticed that flock has recently been released as a public 1.0 version. i played around with it back when it was 0.71 version beta. i’ll have to take it for another spin now that it’s 1.0.