The RSS feed
The key to syndication (i.e. making the content of one website available to other websites and applications) is for a producer to publish the available media via a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed.
RSS is a form of Extensible Markup Language (XML) and historically has been used by news websites and weblogs. As mentioned in the 'Introduction', the specification for RSS was expanded to include an 'enclosure' tag, which provides the minimum extra information relating to the media file in the feed. Apple Computers have added further custom tags to create increased integration with their iTunes program, and similarly Yahoo has also extended the specification.
An example of a simple podcast RSS feed:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<title>Lorenzo's Everest Audio Blog</title>
<description>Audio blogs from Lorenzo Gariano on his 2006 expedition to Everest via Tibet</description>
<lastBuildDate>Thu, 01 Jun 2006 16:43:40 +0100lt;/lastBuildDate>
<title>Everest - 14 Jun 2006 05:33</title>
<pubDate>Wed, 14 Jun 2006 05:33:30 +0100</pubDate>
<description>Final message in Italian for the Alpine Club and the charity.</description>
<title>Everest - 22 Apr 2006 11:35</title>
<pubDate>Sat, 22 Apr 2006 11:35:49 +0100</pubDate>
<description>Special message of thanks to Lorenzo's supporters around the world.</description>
As can be seen above, the start of the RSS code contains general details of the 'feed' such as its title, a url to a website, description, etc. After this section is a list of each individual podcast (i.e. each section between <item> and </item>). Each item contains a title, date, description, and url to the media (usually an MP3 sound file). The list of podcasts is in reverse chronological order, with the most recent podcast first.
The above example is from a podcast of live reports from a mountaineer attempting to climb Everest in 2005. The actual RSS feed can be found at:
You may like to visit this page with your web browser to see what the feed actually looks like. However, be aware that not all web browsers will display the raw code, but instead may create a web page from the code, or even not display anything at all.