Arssk Doktor Komputor

Guten neu Jahr, mein liebschen. Ja, ist ein whole year since I gave mein last lesson. Zis is vot ze vebloggen vorld calls ze "hiatus", und vot ze edukational vorld calls ze "dereliction of duty". Kein matter! I am here now, und mein supervisor ist vatching closely. Tag, Herr Direktor!

Today I vill be explaining ze confusink phenomenomenon of RSS, or "arss" as ve Deutsch call it. RSS stands for Read Site Speedily (und not "Reichsfuhrers SS", ha ha ha, zat ist ein gut vun, sir). It is ein XML format (as I vill explain later) designed to be read not by ze humans, because ve are slow und veak, but by ze machine-readables, because zey are speedy, like snails.

If you eqvip your sites vith ze RSS feed (or arssfeid in Deutsch), anyvun vith ein Neusreider programmen can "subscribe" to it und "read" it alongside many other "feeds", in vun handy vindow vich strips all individuality und visual interest from ze original sites. Zis is especially important ven you are looking at sites vich deal mit actual arses, like certain vuns in ze .cx top-level domain. (Unfortunately, ze RSS reader cannot also eRaSSe ze memories of zese sites, vich zat schwein Dieter showed me vun lunchtime. For zis, he vill pay. Dieter, if you are readink: you vill pay! Nein, not you, sir.)

So zat is how ve read ze arss, but how do ve implement it? In ze vords of other, how do ve put ein arssfeid on our vebloggen or other regularen updated sites?

If you are using Movabletype to run your veblog, ist automatischen generated; you are ein arss vether you like it or not. If you use Blogger, you vill have to set up another veblog vith special RSS templates und copy every new entry from your original blog into ze arss each time you post; ist simple. If you are usink Blosxom or b2 or Greymatter or Pivot or Nucleus or pMachine or VordPress or Textpattern, you vill have to ask Dieter.

Ven you are configurink your arssfeid, you must choose vich kind of RSS to feed. Zere are many shapes und sizes. It all depends on ze extension of ze RSS. Some arssfeids have extension ".xml", vich, as I said I vould explain, und I am explainink right now sir, stands for eXtreme Markup Langvage—not eXtra Medium Large or eXcellent Mein Liebschen or eXcalibur My Liege or eXacerbate My Lameness. Ozzers have ze extension ".rdf", vich means Really Dave's Format.

Vunce you have extended ze arss, you must choose vich version to use in ze codink: 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 1.0, or 2.0. I do not know vy zere are so many; zey all do ze same thing. Ist something to do vith ze theological schism betveen St Mark und Pope Dave, vich you vill learn more of in ze holy texts of ze Good Scripting News und Dive Into Arss.

Ze syntax of ze arsskode is somevat different from ze simple HTMLs ve vere learnink vay back in mein first lesson. Here is ein example of ze arsskode und bloggtemplatkode you must use for ze DoktorBloggor veblogs, vich ist mein own proprietry vebloggink tool (I have removed ze line breaks und unnecessary characters to save space):

Vork your vay through zis kode und you vill be ein komplete arss in no time. But take care not to remove any of it. Do not touch your RSS! Do not play vith it! Keep your RSS whole.

Ist important to note zat zere is ein neu kind of arss developed especially for veblogs. RSS vas originally made for neues sites, und since it has been categorically established in many fascinatink debates zat veblogs are kein journalism, it vas necessary for ein alternative. Zis has been called ATOM, to indicate ze scale of significance of ze average veblog entry. Ze kodink syntax ist identical; all you must do is change ze name of your feed to "atom.xml". But be varned: do not feed your atoms mit Uranium-237, or you vill start ein core meltdown, und your veblog vill be unreadable for 10,000 years, except by brave Ukrainian madschens on motorcycles.

Ven your site is eqvipped vith vun or more arssfeids, your readers can now read your vords in ein variety of vays. I have already mentioned ze Neusreiders, vich take in ze RSS und digest ze results. Zese can stand alone or sit in ze browser.

Lately ve have seen ze introduction of Kinja, named after ze relatives und ze deadly Japonisches assassins—because like assassins zey sneak silently into your place, und like relatives zey borrow all your stuff. Kinja vill take your RSS und show it vith many others; but even better, it does not need your RSS at all. It can simply strip ze kode from your site und display ze content naked.

Und so ve must ask, vither RSS? Vy, und verefore, should ve continue to RSS about? Should ve say "your RSS ist mine", or "your RSS ist grass"?

In ze end, ist up to you. Ist ein bum deal, ja, but do not vorry if your RSS becomes ze butt of jokes; ist merely ein rearguard action. Only you can decide if you vill keep your sites RSS-less, or vether to stick it up your RSS.

8 April 2004

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