Image Caption: This icon, known as the “feed icon” or the “RSS icon”, was introduced in Mozilla Firefox in order to indicate a web feed was present on a particular web page that could be used in conjunction with the Live bookmarks function. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera and some other browsers have adopted the icon in order to promote a de facto standard. Credit: Mozilla/Wikipedia
A web feed is a data format that provides the user with regularly updated content. It is also sometimes referred to as a news feed or syndicated feed.
This is done by an aggregator to compile a collection of web feeds to one location. The aggregator when prompted will ask all the servers that it is linked to if there is new content, if there is, then the aggregator will either make a note of it or download it.
The typical content delivered by a web feed is HTML, links, and other types of digital media. Some websites inform users of new content or updates and a summary of them.
The benefits of a web feed are users do not have to reveal their email address protecting them from spam, viruses, and identity theft. Users can keep track of content easier and stay up to date with a large number of sites. Web sites can link to each other’s content easier. Automatic updates of a web site’s RSS feed can be configured into any other web site.
Scraping of a web feed is when a third party provides a feed that sometimes distributes content in a way that the author didn’t choose.
Web feeds are designed as machine readable which allows web feeds that are used to transfer information automatically between websites that can be done without user interaction.