Example: RSS

I’m going to use a real-life example to show what I mean.

The lightweight XML application RSS is especially popular these days. RSS is a web-based tool for sharing news headlines and other Web content.

RSS users take advantage of the same user-defined elements. By using the same XML elements, RSS users can build software and website applications that consistently update and display “headlines”.

Here’s what the basic RSS elements would look like for a news aggregator site:

<item>
<title>Item Headline</title>
<link>Link to story</link>
<description>Description of story</description>
</item>

By making XML RSS documents available online and syndicating them through RSS aggregator sites, a news organization can notify its readers every time a new headline is posted to the news site. Also, individual users can install special software on their computers that allows them to view other users’ RSS XML documents.

Here’s an example of an aggregator site:

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Here’s an example of an RSS software application:

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Both the news aggregator sites and the software use the same RSS data elements to share information. These applications “refresh” periodically to locate new headlines. With individual software applications, users can specify which RSS news services they would like to subscribe to.

RSS is just one of the many applications that have been developed using XML. XML markup is also heavily used in B2B data transfers, and will continue to play a significant role in online business transactions.