Practical Ecommerce

How Is An Atom Feed Different From An RSS Feed?

An Atom feed is very similar to an RSS feed in that it is a lightweight XML format allowing for easy syndication of web content. In fact, most RSS readers and news aggregators will be able to read Atom feeds just fine, as it is becoming a widely-used alternative to RSS feeds.

What’s a “feed”?

For those who are unfamiliar with syndication feeds (such as an Atom feed, an RSS feed or an RDF feed), they are small text files that provide information about content on websites. When content is updated, the feed text file is also updated, either manually or programatically. Applications called “readers” or “aggregators” can then check these small text files and notify someone when new content is available.

If you already have an RSS feed, creating an Atom feed is extremely easy. The primary difference between the two formats (from a developer’s standpoint) is the XML tags that are used. You can refer to for more information about the Atom specification and for information about required tags as well as available tags.

Brian Getting

Brian Getting

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  1. Legacy User February 7, 2007 Reply

    According to the Rmail [] database, Atom 1.0 still represents a fraction of 1% of all feeds.

    — *Randy Charles Morin*

  2. Legacy User February 18, 2007 Reply

    A fairly complete how-to for creating atom feeds is now on-line at this URL. I have included notes on one annoying browser quirk and also a Perl/CGI script to allow for sorting Atom feeds inside of an ordinary web browser.:

    — *Gan Uesli Starling*

  3. Legacy User November 6, 2007 Reply

    Very interesting -but which of the two is considered best or standard?

    — *Jerry*

  4. Legacy User May 23, 2008 Reply

    I validate an RSS, get message that adding an atom feed would be a good idea. So I do. I validate again and get message Self reference document doesn't match an equivalant document. Duh. No real explantation of what this means. the atom link to the file is correct. Are they telling me I also need an atom feed xml file? I have 140 feeds. So now i gotta create another 140 feeds using atom. Why can't I just combine both in one.

    — *Jack*