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Displaying RSS Feeds
By S. Housley

RSS offers webmasters a unique opportunity to display fresh
content on websites. While publishing an RSS feed is a great
way to generate site interest and increase communication,
syndicating and displaying feeds from related relevant
sources can also generate interest, increase traffic and
improve search engine ranking.

RSS Radars
Webmasters with limited time or capacity can syndicate
related content. In a nut shell, webmasters can create RSS
radars by combining a mix of content from related sources by
grouping similarly-themed feeds. RSS feeds are updated at
different intervals, providing an ever-changing collection
of related information.

RSS is a form of eXtensible Markup Language or XML. Viewing
an RSS feed in a web browser generally produces code that is
not easy for website visitors to decipher. As a result,
webmasters use tools to display the content contained in an
RSS feed.

Content contained in RSS feeds can be added to websites a
number of different ways. Each method for displaying the RSS
feed has pros and cons associated with it. Webmasters will
need to determine which option will best meet their hosting
and technology needs.

Using Javascript to Display RSS
Javascript is the easiest way to display RSS feeds on a
website. There are a number of sites that will allow you to
generate code that can be inserted into a website. The
javascript will auto-update, showing the latest headlines as
the feed is updated. Each time a visitor visits the website
the javascript pulls the data from the feed. Often, the
various scripts can be customized so that the look of the
feed can be made to match a specific websiteeeds with hopes
that the search engines will devour and spider the contents,
you will be disappointed. When javascript is used to display
RSS feeds, search engines do not actually "see" the contents
of the feed, meaning that the search engines will not index
the contents of the feed within the website.

Feedroll - Feedroll is a free service for syndicating RSS
and ATOM news feeds on your website. Simply select a feed,
customize the design, then copy and paste the code provided
onto your page.
http://www.feedroll.com

Using PHP to Display RSS
PHP is a slightly more complex solution for displaying RSS.
Like javascript, as the contents of the feed updates, the
web page contents will update as the page is refreshed. The
benefit of using PHP to display RSS is that the contents of
the feed displayed with the webpage can be spidered and
indexed by search engines. The result is a feed that always
displays the most current information from the RSS feed and
the web page content is considered search engine spider and
robot-friendly.

rss2html.php - The rss2html.php script allows users to
create web pages that will always display the most current
information from the RSS feed, and because the resulting
page is pure HTML, it will be in a format friendly to search
engine robots. Using rss2html.php, webmasters can customize
the format and look of the web page created from the feed.
The RSS feed's contents can easily be integrated into an
existing website's theme. The rss2html.php script parses the
RSS file, extracts the pertinent information, formats it,
and serves it up as regular HTML.
http://www.feedforall.com/free-php-script.htm

FeedRoll Pro - FeedRollPro was really designed to enable
publishers to syndicate their own content on other sites.
But it can be used to syndicate news feeds from other sites
on your own pages. http://www.feedrollpro.com

Using ASP to Display RSS
ASP is similar to PHP. The free ASP/ASP.NET scripts can be
used to convert RSS feeds into HTML and display on
ASP/ASP.NET web-server.

rss2html.asp - ByteScout has implemented a guide for
displaying of RSS/XML feed using free RSS2HTML.ASP script in
ASP or ASP.NET environment. This script can be used free of
charge on any ASP or ASP.NET web-server and generate HTML
from RSS feed. This free ASP script uses MSXML to load RSS
feed from URL and display it. You can use it as a standalone
or call from script on HTML page to generate HTML content
from RSS feed and then display on your HTML page.
http://bytescout.com/how_to_display_rss_using_asp.html

RssFeed - RssFeed is an open-source custom ASP.NET server
control that displays the contents of a specified RSS feed
in an ASP.NET web page.
http://www.scottonwriting.com/sowBlog/RssFeed.htm

If PHP or ASP is used to update feeds, the website will have
free fresh, relevant content each time the feeds referenced
are updated.

Export RSS to HTML
If you wish to dress up the feed's appearance you can use a
template exporting the feed as HTML or an HTML table.
Publishers can incorporate exported tables into an HTML
template using a server-side include. Each time the feed is
updated, the feed will need to be exported to HTML and
uploaded along with the feed. Though this only takes a few
moments, exporting RSS to HTML does require webmaster
intervention to update the content. The end result, though,
is a complete web page with an RSS feed in it that will be
search engine-friendly.

FeedForAll - FeedForAll allows users to export RSS feeds
from RSS to HTML. The look of the HTML can be modified to
match an existing website's design.
http://www.feedforall.com

Using Services
There are a number of services available that host and
display RSS feeds, in many cases free of charge. Because
these services operate on a different domain server there is
little benefit to end-users displaying their feeds in this
fashion. That said, the services are generally free of
charge, so you get what you pay for.

RSS2HTML.com - Select a layout, color scheme and enter the
URL of the feed. A web page URL will be generated that will
display the feed in the selected scheme.
http://www.rss2html.com

FeedBurner - FeedBurner provides a number of online
services. Among them is a service that displays RSS feeds on
a website.
http://www.feedburner.com

Using XSL to Display RSS
Although using XSL and CSS stylesheets to display XML
directly is easy to understand in theory, it is rather
tricky to implement in the real world and is very tough for
novices to use successfully. Webmasters must be fairly
familiar with CSS and XSL to have the formatting work well,
and webmasters then have to address browser
incompatibilities and exceptions. As a result, not a lot of
resources or services yet exist to display RSS using XSL.

Using highly targeted feeds, webmasters can enhance their
websites with themed content. Ultimately, providing
relevant, educational or newsworthy information from
reputable related sources will establish expertise in a
specific area.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing,
publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon
manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a
wireless text messaging software company.