Author Topic: How do I set up an RSS feed for the AHA Forum?  (Read 9812 times)

Offline garyg

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How do I set up an RSS feed for the AHA Forum?
« on: August 17, 2010, 08:36:02 AM »
An RSS feed allows you to follow what is being posted on the AHA Forum, without being on the Forum and looking through every Board.  An example of an RSS feed of the AHA Forum can be found on the homepage of the AHA’s website, www.homebrewersassociation.org, under the AHA Forum banner, where you’ll find links to the 10 most recent posts to the Forum. With the AHA Forum, you can set up an RSS feed for the entire forum, or for individual Boards on the forum, so you can follow everything, or just specific Board subject areas you are interested in.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and allows updates from websites, blogs, forums, etc. to be "consumed" using an RSS reader or aggregator. Put simply, a user “subscribes” to a site or source of interest to them using an RSS feed.  The feed provides the subscriber with a short synopsis of recent site updates. The user can then read just the synopsis or click a link to the full article.

There are several benefits that RSS provides:
•   Publishers can “push” content to subscribers at the instant the content is available
•   Subscribers can keep up with content updates from a site without visiting the site directly, and at a frequency that best meets their needs (real-time, every few hours, daily, etc.)
•   An RSS reader can collect and organize as many RSS feeds as desired, allowing the user to “aggregate” feeds from favorite news sites, blogs, and discussion boards in a single place

Most sites provide easy identification of RSS capability using the RSS symbol .  You can see the symbol in your web browser’s address bar (to the right of the URL) in any of the AHA Forum pages, including this one.  NOTE: it is recommended to upgrade to the latest version of your browser, as older versions may not recognize if a site is RSS-capable.

To consume these RSS feeds one must have a reader/aggregator. There are several free choices available to subscribers, including:
•   Standalone software programs, like RSS Reader (www.rssreader.com)
•   Browser-based, such as Google Reader (www.google.com/reader; also has a mobile version for smartphones)
•   Built-in readers included in new releases of popular browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox
•   Built-in readers in email programs like Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Mac OSX Mail

The instructions below are specific to, Outlook 2007.  Instructions for other readers are available on their sites and within their documentation.

Add the AHA Forum RSS feed to Outlook:
1.   Go to http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php in Firefox or Internet Explorer and look for the RSS feed logo in the browser's address bar or toolbar. Click on that symbol and if given options select RSS 2.0
2.   You are then presented with the RSS feed data and usually a button or link that allows you to subscribe to it. We will ignore that button/link for now.
3.   In the address bar, you will see the link to the RSS feed, which in this case is http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?type=rss;action=.xml. Make note of that or copy it into your clipboard for later.
4.   In Outlook, scroll down your list of messages and folders in the main mailbox and find "RSS Feeds"
5.   Right click on "RSS Feeds" and select "Add a New RSS Feed".
6.   A pop-up window appears with a text box. In this text box type or paste the link for the feed (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?type=rss;action=.xml). Select Add.
7.   Another window appears with three options, Advanced, Yes, or No. Select Yes. If you are curious about the other options, feel free to investigate.
8.   Once you select Yes, the feed folder is listed under the RSS Feeds folder and you will see items appear in the new folder.
9.   Now, go to one of those items and you will see a synopsis or preview of the entry. You can select the link and your browser will take you to the full article.
10.   You have now added your first RSS feed!
Couple of interesting items to note in using Outlook as an RSS reader:
•   As well as reading new listings in Outlook, you can select to sort by Subject just as you do with emails. Topics are then grouped together, which is great for monitoring postings in the AHA Forum.
•   Once these feeds are established in Outlook, they will appear in web mail as well. You cannot add them in web mail, though.

Add an RSS feed of a specific AHA Forum Board to Outlook:
1.   Open the Board in the AHA Forum you wish to follow with RSS.
2.   Copy the URL for that Board from the address bar (for example, the URL for the General Homebrew Discussion Board is http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?board=1.0).
3.   In Outlook, scroll down your list of folders in the main mailbox and find "RSS Feeds"
4.   Right click on "RSS Feeds" and select "Add a New RSS Feed".
5.   A pop-up window appears with a text box. In this text box type or paste the URL for the Forum Board you wish to add, then paste the following extension on to the end of the URL: ";type=rss;action=.xml" (For the General Homebrew Discussion Board you would use: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?board=1.0;type=rss;action=.xml). Select Add.
6.   Another window appears with three options, Advanced, Yes, or No. Select Yes.
7.   Once you select Yes, the feed folder is listed under the RSS Feeds folder and you will see items appear in the new folder.
8.   To add additional Board feeds to the same folder, follow directions 1-5 above, then choose the Advanced option and change the folder to whichever folder you wish the new feed to appear in.  Click OK, then click Yes.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 03:43:32 PM by garyg »
Gary Glass
American Homebrewers Association Director
Boulder, Colorado