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Atom feed

Apart from all its benefits, the RSS format had its limitations. So came Atom feed, as an alternative to RSS. Before the creation of Atom feed, the primary method of web content syndication was the RSS family of formats.

Members of the RSS community who felt there were significant deficiencies with this family of formats were unable to make changes directly to RSS 2.0 because the official specification document stated that it was purposely frozen to ensure its stability. Ben Trott, an advocate of the new format that became Atom feed, believed that RSS had limitations and flaws - such as lack of on-going innovation and its necessity to remain backward compatible - and that there were advantages to a fresh design.

The name Atom applies to a pair of related standards. One is - the Atom Syndication Format, which is an XML language used for web feeds, while the other - the Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub or APP), is a simple HTTP-based protocol for creating and updating web resources.

The Atom Syndication Format is the next generation of XML-based file formats, designed to allow information - the contents of web pages for example, to be syndicated between applications. Like RSS before it, Atom feed places the content and metadata of an internet resource into a machine-parsable format, perfect for displaying, filtering, remixing, and archiving.


There are 2 ways you can use an Atom feed in an XHTML page:-
  1. To let the browser identify an XHTML DOCUMENT as an Atom feed, provide a link to the Feed as following :
    <link href="atom.xml" type="application/atom+xml" rel="alternate" title="Sitewide ATOM Feed" />

  2. To let the browser identify an XHTML LINK as an Atom feed and open that in that browser's inbuild feed window whenever the lnk is clicked, create a link to the Feed as following :
    <a href="atom.xml" type="application/atom+xml" rel="alternate" title="Sitewide ATOM Feed">Subscribe to this feed</a>.

XML example of an Atom feed

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <feed xmlns=""> <title>Your Feed Title</title> <subtitle>Feed's subtitle</subtitle> <link href="" rel="self" /> <link href="" /> <id>urn:uuid:60a76c80-d399-11d9-b91C-0003939e0af6</id> <updated>2009-11-12 T19:00:02Z</updated> <author> <name>Your Name</name> <email></email> </author> <entry> <title>Title of this individual feed item</title> <link href="" /> <link rel="alternate" type="text/html" href=""/> <link rel="edit" href=""/> <id>urn:uuid:1225c695-cfb8-4ebb-aaaa-80da344efa6a</id> <updated>2009-11-12 T19:00:02Z</updated> <summary>Insights on this item</summary> </entry> </feed>

What is a feed?


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