RSS feeds for engineers - GettyImages - PROMO-844315122

We hope that Electronic Design is a regular stop for keeping track of the electronics industry, but we’re only one of thousands of sources available through the internet. Keeping up to date with all of the latest news and information is impossible these days, even with tools like Twitter, Facebook, or other social-media platforms. Staying abreast of content by visiting websites is next to impossible when done individually. RSS feeds are one way to deal with the massive amount of information created daily.

If you know what an RSS or news feed is, then you might pick up a few tips here. If not, then this article may help streamline how you gather news and information about any number of topics from engineering and software to food and gardening.

RSS feeds, or Really Simple Syndication, are a way for websites to expose collections of articles on the site. They’re also known as news feeds and other terms, but they all refer to the same general technology.

In general, RSS feeds are streams of content that include a title and summary like that found on most website home pages. However, instead of having a specific layout like a website, an RSS feed can be rendered in a variety of formats depending on the RSS reader being employed. One I use with the Firefox browser is called Feedbro (Fig. 1). Most web browsers even have their own built-in RSS feed support, with many presenting and organizing content from RSS feeds into favorites or bookmarks folders. The Opera web browser calls them Personal News.

RSS Feeds for Engineers - Fig 1 Browser
1. RSS feeds can be viewed in web browsers using plugins like Feedbro for Firefox

Fitting your needs

Typically, an RSS reader will let you customize how RSS feed entries are presented and collated. Minimally, an entry will include a title and a summary; it’s possible to simply view a list of titles. This may be sufficient enough for more investigation and the final task of displaying the source article in a web browser. That’s why web-based RSS readers are often the easiest way to use RSS feeds.

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