Bill, I am not here to define RSS or what they do. The definition of RSS can be found on Google for novices.
You said: "It's basically a text file that is read by aggregators".
That is funny. I am not surprised you said that because the contents of an RSS files is probably the last thing anyone want to look at. It looks like a load of junks.
Itīs not just a text file...my friend. Those files may look to you like a text file but it holds a whole loads of data that a programmer can manipulate in many ways to output itīs contents on a web page. That is simply what aggregators or feed readers do.
With this in mind, I am not talking about RSS text file or what it does but the different technology and ways of manipulating or processing the data in it.
RSS Text File - how was the text file created? - By Feed Writer
Feed Reader/Aggregator - how was the feed reader and aggregator created? - By programmer (developing tools that read the rss file.
Feed Writer + Feed Reader + RSS Text File + Content Managament tool = RSS based web site.
When people hear about Aggregators or feed readers they think it is something new. They are not. In a lay mans terms, what they do is simply process the RSS data files and the result is what you see on the web pages.
So if the Aggregators and feed readers can do it, so also can a content management tool be incorporated with the RSS features (mini aggregator/reader/writer) to do the same to produce RSS based web sites.
Take for example, on a doctorīs web site, there are very little information about health and medical information and researches. To add these information manually into a database, the site owners would need months/years, copy/paste thousands of data to web pages and the database may even crash (...joking). With RSS, the site could publish millions of selected medical information in a few web pages via RSS feed and the site owner with no experience in web design can manage the entire processes via a content management tool.
RSS simply eliminates the need for self-produced web pages, unprofessional or poorly produced web contents, painstaking updating, poor/unreliable information etc.
RSS based web sites will have constantly updated information, authentic contents, varieties of information, automation, less or no need for a web designer, little technical experience, low maintenance cost, The benefits are endless.
Most companies now require candidates with RSS experience when recruiting programmers/web developers. Why?
It would not be helpful discussing these issue theoretically unless you take a practical tour of a Live working demo. Go to <snip> and request for the Admin login info via email...you will be amazed.
[edited by: bill at 12:49 pm (utc) on Aug. 28, 2007]