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Chapter 13

RSS, Atom, and Content Syndication

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:

  • Concepts and technologies of content syndication and meta data
  • A brief look at the history of RSS, Atom, and related languages
  • What the feed languages have in common and how they differ
  • How to implement a simple newsreader/aggregator using Python
  • Examples of XSLT used to generate and display news feeds

One of the interesting characteristics of the web is the way that certain ideas seem to arise spontaneously, without any centralized direction. Content syndication technologies definitely fall into this category, and they have emerged as a direct consequence of the linked structure of the web and general standardization regarding the use of XML.

This chapter focuses on a number of aspects of content syndication, including the RSS and Atom formats and their role in such areas as blogs, news services, and the like. It’s useful to understand them not just from an XML-format standpoint, but also in terms of how they are helping to shape the evolving Internet.

There is a lot more to RSS, Atom, and content syndication than can be covered in a single chapter, so the aim here is to give you a good grounding in the basic ideas, and then provide a taste of how XML tools such as SAX and XSLT can be used in this field.

SYNDICATION

Over the course of the twentieth century, newspapers evolved into different kinds of news organizations with the advent of each new medium. Initially, most newspapers operated independently, ...

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