Weaving the Web of News (1/5) - exploring XML
Weaving the Web of News
The Web's killer feature is the hyperlink: The ability to navigate from document to document, seamlessly across server, Web site, geographical and cultural boundaries. But locating relevant content to link to is not easy; it takes a fair amount of time and effort to weave one's own site into the Web of visitors.
One good way to increase the popularity of your site is to offer frequently updated content, possibly in the form of news. If you, like me, do not produce enough daily news yourself, there are plenty of places offering you free news to display on your site. They are usually formatted in one of several news-related formats expressed in XML for describing one or more channels.
- Opener and CDF
- Rich Site Summary (RSS) and scriptingNews
- Open Content Syndication (OCS)
- xmlNews, NITF
- ICE and Conclusion
Channel Definition Format (CDF)
Microsoft introduced a feature called Active Channels in Internet Explorer 4, with CDF at its core. A channel is simply a set of Web pages that the browser will fetch at specified intervals, flagging new content as it arrives, and making it available for off-line reading if desired. Microsoft planted a channel lister called Active Channel Bar on every Windows desktop. The result was an aggregation of news feeds, client-driven rather than purely server-based, as CDF was designed to be supported directly by the browser to handle channel subscriptions. A channel for XML expressed in CDF:
<?XML Version="1.0"?> <CHANNEL HREF="http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie40/features/ie-dhtml.htm"> <ABSTRACT>This is a channel about eXploringXML at WebReference: Free tutorials, examples, and tools for XML</ABSTRACT> <TITLE>eXploringXML Channel</TITLE> <LOGO HREF="http://www.webref.com/xml/art/logo.ico" STYLE="icon" /> <LOGO HREF="http://www.webref.com/xml/art/logo.gif" STYLE="image" /> <LOGO HREF="http://www.webref.com/xml/art/logo_wide.gif" STYLE="image-wide" /> <ITEM HREF="http://www.webref.com/xml/column4/"> <ABSTRACT>Comparison of XML support in your favourite browser</ABSTRACT> <TITLE>The Browser War cont'd: XML support in IE and Mozilla</TITLE> </ITEM> <ITEM HREF="http://www.webref.com/xml/resources/"> <ABSTRACT>Books about XML and software for parsing and processing XML data</ABSTRACT> <TITLE>XML Resources: Books and Software</TITLE> </ITEM> </CHANNEL>A list of channels is available at www.iechannelguide.com, with plenty of Web sites displaying a uniform "Subscribe to channel" button that adds a channel to the channel bar on the Windows desktop.
Created: Jan. 30, 2000
Revised: Jan. 30, 2000