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What Are Feeds?

Saturday 25th November 2006

Categories: Guides, Internet

Adding Feeds

Essentially, there are three different programs that tend to read web feeds. The first are programs designed specifically to read feeds. I personally prefer such programs since they are the best at presenting the feeds to you. The second are web browsers, and the third are e-mail clients.

Feed Readers

To add a feed to a feed reader, you first need the URL of the feed. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on the link to the feed, and select "Copy Link Address", or the equivalent in your browser. Then, you'll need to go into your feed reader and choose the appropriate option, either in the toolbar or in the menus. Look for a entry similar to "Add feed" or "Add subscription". In Liferea, you have two choices: hit the first button on the toolbar:

Adding a feed in Liferea through the toolbar

or choose "New Subscription..." in "Feeds":

Adding a feed in Liferea through the menu

You should then get a dialog such as this:

Adding a feed in Liferea

Simply paste the URL into the box labelled "Source", hit OK, and that should be it! For other feeds readers, the process should be much the same.

Web Browsers and E-mail Clients

In web browsers, you normally have two choices as to how to add a feed. The first is much the same as with feed readers - simply copy the URL of the feed, and choose an appropriate option from the menus. In Mozilla Firefox, this means going to the "Bookmarks" menu and selecting "Manage Bookmarks...". This should bring up a new window, in which you need to select the "File" menu, and select "New Live Bookmark". From here, simply paste the URL into the box labelled "Feed Location", and fill in the other boxes appropriately.

The alternative method is to look for the feed icon in the URL bar. If the browser has detected a feed, you should see something a little like this:

Adding feeds using the URL bar of Firefox

Simply click on the icon, choose where you want to save the feed, and you can then access it through the bookmarks menu. Note that, in Firefox, you only get the titles of the feeds - unlike in feed readers, you are unable to read each item in its entirety. Similarly, in Opera, you can just choose the feed by clicking on the icon in the URL bar:

Adding feeds using the URL bar of Opera

Adding a feed in e-mail clients can vary greatly between the various programs. In Thunderbird, you need to add a feeds account if you haven't already done so. Hit "File", then "New" and finally "Account...". From here, choose RSS News and Blogs", and this should create a "Feeds" entry in the left hand pane. Right-click the "Feeds" entry, select "Manage Subscriptions", hit "Add", paste the URL into the box, and away you go!