Thursday, September 10, 2009

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Bring The News To You Using RSS Feeds In Internet Explorer | Using RSS In IE7 And IE8

Most of us spend hours online every day. Because you read so much information online daily, You need something to help sift through it all, summarize the highlights, identify content that you haven’t read yet, and get to the point—or you’d never have time to write.

Using RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) in Internet Explorer you can keep track of the websites and blogs that you use most. Now, whenever you find a website that contains information of interest to you, you can always check to see if it has an RSS feed

A feed is typically created by editors of a website to get frequently changing information to readers fast. You’ll find feeds frequently used on news websites and blogs for this reason. For fast reading, a feed is made up of posts, and each post contains only the headline and summary text for the article it represents. 

By using feeds, you can see at a glance if new information has been published to your favorite websites and blogs. And you will be informed of new content sometimes within minutes of the information being published. 
You can view headlines and summaries of articles without having to wade through pop-up advertisements, banner ads, and the like, as these don’t appear in feeds. And, the best part is, the information comes to you—no more clicking my way from site to site just in case there is something new.

Checking for an RSS feed on a webpage

When Internet Explorer detects a feed, the Feeds button Picture of the feeds  button in orange on the Internet Explorer Command bar lights up. If the detected feed hasn't been encountered before, a small gleam is added to the button Picture of the feeds  button with gleam in Internet Explorer 7. If there are no feeds available, the button remains gray Picture of the feeds button in gray. To view an RSS feed, click the Feeds button.

If you’re using Internet Explorer 8, you might see the Web Slices button Picture of the Web Slice button instead. A Web Slice is a piece of an RSS feed that you can add to your Favorites bar to do things like monitor auctions, traffic conditions, or stocks. A website can have both feeds and Web Slices. If the site has both, the Web Slice button takes precedence. 

Some websites, especially news sites, offer more than one RSS feed per page. If more than one feed or Web Slice is available, a drop-down arrow appears next to the button. Click the arrow to see what's available, and then click the feed or Web Slice you want to read.

Here’s how Internet Explorer 7 displays multiple found feeds:
Internet Explorer 8 looks much the same:
When Internet Explorer 8 detects a Web Slice and multiple feeds, it looks like this:
Sometimes a website has a feed, but the feed isn't detected by Internet Explorer. In that case, the Feeds button won't light up. If you come across a website like this, look for and click the special feeds indicator on the page. Most often, the feeds indicator will look like this Picture of feeds indicator appearing as RSS button or this Picture of feeds indicator appearing as XML button or this Picture of feeds indicator appearing as illuminated Feeds button.
Feeds In bench3 Looks Like This:
When you view a feed, you see the headline and summary text of each post in the feed, and you have the opportunity to subscribe to the feed. Subscribing makes the feed available to you in the Favorites Center (click the Favorites Center button in Internet Explorer 7 Picture of the Favorites Center button or the Favorites button in Internet Explorer 8, and then click Feeds).

Subscribing also enables Internet Explorer to begin checking the website automatically for new content. Once you subscribe, new content detected by Internet Explorer automatically becomes available to you in your feeds list in the Favorites Center, so you don’t have to go surfing to find it. In Internet Explorer 8, you can also add feeds and Web Slices to your Favorites bar. For more information see Customize your Favorites bar

Internet Explorer also makes the feeds you subscribe to available to other programs that use feeds. So you can share your feeds with friends even if they don’t have Internet Explorer. To subscribe, simply click Subscribe to this feed. In the dialog box that appears, create or select a folder to save the feed to, and then click Subscribe. You’re good to go.
When you view a feed, you see the headline and summary text for each post in the feed

Downloading feed attachments
RSS feeds sometimes offer attachments such as podcasts for download. But Internet Explorer doesn’t automatically download these because they can require a lot of disk space. For example, each podcast shown in the previous illustration is several megabytes in size. Once you’re certain that you have enough disk space, you can set feed properties to download attachments automatically. To the right of the feeds list, click View feed properties. In the dialog box that appears, select the Automatically download attached files check box.

Feed attachments that have been downloaded are stored by default in the Temporary Internet Files folder and are easily accessed via the View files button. Clicking the View files button opens a Windows Explorer window, which you can then use to move the file to your preferred storage folder or portable media device.
Internet Explorer can download feed attachments automatically if you want, but be careful—you can go through a lot of bandwidth this way

Checking for new content
Once you subscribe to a feed, you can change how often you want Internet Explorer to check for new content. To the right of the feeds list, click View feed properties. In the dialog box that appears, select the Update schedule options that you want.

By default, Internet Explorer checks for new content once each day. You might prefer to set Internet Explorer to check a website more often, especially if its content is updated throughout the day. A check for new content can occur as often as every 15 minutes and will take place even if Internet Explorer is not running. 

Some websites restrict how often subscribers can check for updates to ensure that their servers are not overloaded by the demands of what could be millions of viewers. If such a restriction is in place on a feed, Internet Explorer adjusts the automatic update schedule for that feed to match the specified minimum interval.

You can also control how many posts are stored on your computer (per feed). By default, Internet Explorer saves the 200 most recent posts, although it is possible to archive up to 2,500 posts per feed. If your website of choice is updated quite often, and you want the rapidly changing content to be available to you for an extended period of time, you might want to increase the archive limit. If, on the other hand, disk space is limited or a feed includes a lot of attachments (such as downloaded podcasts), you might want to limit the number of articles that are archived for that feed. 

Keeping things tidy
If you’re like me, you will eventually accumulate a large number of feeds. That’s why I strongly recommend that you create folders to store them in. To do this, click the Favorites Center button in Internet Explorer 7 Picture of the Favorites Center button or the Favorites button in Internet Explorer 8, click Feeds, right-click in the Favorites area, and then click Create New Folder. Type a name for each folder you create. To sort your existing feeds, simply drag each one into a folder.

The goal is to have as much information as possible available to you without needing to scroll up and down the screen. Feed names and folder names appear bold when there are unread posts present. By sorting all of your feeds into folders, you make it easy to see at a glance where, amongst all of your subscriptions, there is something new awaiting your attention. 

Sort, filter, and search

With Internet Explorer, you can filter a feed to display either new posts only or all posts by clicking All or New to the right of the feeds list. You can also sort headlines by date, title, or author, and by category. And there is a search box that you can use to display only posts that contain your search word (from the posts that are currently on display). Note that the search box does not search hidden posts, such as posts that have already been read, until you change your view setting to All.

Let’s say, for example, that I have subscribed to an international news feed, and I want to see only those posts that mention the word Australia. As you can see from the illustration that follows, there are 10 posts available on my Reuters feed. But by typing the word Australia into the search box, only one post is present in the feeds list.

Special stuff for Windows Vista users

One of the great things about RSS feeds in Internet Explorer is that your subscriptions can be accessed by programs other than Internet Explorer. For example, the Feed Headlines gadget in Windows Vista gives you immediate access to your RSS feeds right from Windows Sidebar. This gadget automatically scrolls through the posts that are available for viewing. Simply click a headline to view the post. You can set the gadget to display all feeds, a single feed, or only feeds in a particular folder. For more information, see Windows Sidebar and gadgets (overview).
Keep an eye on your feeds with the Feed Headlines gadget even when Internet Explorer is closed

Backing up your feeds

By now, you’ve probably put a lot of effort into finding your feeds, subscribing, and sorting them all into folders, so let’s make sure that you back up all that hard work. On the menu bar (tap the ALT key if the menu bar is not in view), click File, and then click Import and Export. Use the Import/Export Wizard to import (or export) your feeds. The backup file is surprisingly small and easily stored, even if you subscribe to hundreds of feeds.

Once you start using RSS feeds to gather information from your favorite websites, you’ll see, as I did, how it can make an amazing difference to your online experience, helping you sort through the most mind-boggling amount of information in a short period of time.

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About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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