Often the syndication makes available a data stream (eg RSS) with the header content recently added to the website (eg latest news) or last forum posts.
The term “content syndication” should not be confused with the RSS data format that popularized the term during the 2000s.
In an extended report in 2007 by the Clubic computer website, the editor summarizes the interests of content syndication (ie RSS format data): “For a normal user, the term “RSS feed” may seem barbaric. Yet behind this bleak name hides a technology widely used on the web, and unknown to the general public: the ability to monitor the activity of their favorite news sites in a flash by getting a view to all the latest news, blog posts, or new software listed, update regularly. In short, a perfect way to fly over the news when you do not have time to browse a site, or to sort through the information that interests you.”
When you have a dynamic website, content is managed independently of the display. Therefore, it is possible to generate a page that contains a description of the latest articles published on the site articles. Usually only the title, author and URL are given for each article.
A site designed to display the content in question must retrieve the file and process it so that the information is displayed in an elegant way.
Different syndication formats are usable. The best known are the RSS and Atom formats, a competitor of the RSS.
Blog platforms often generate a RSS and/or Atom blog feed, so readers can follow the evolution of a blog.
During the 2000s, specialized directories list the available RSS feeds. View a listing on Dmoz site.
Since the 2010s, the websites offering their readers content syndication indicates this by an icon on their website (eg for the RSS data format).
Many readers are available:
- as a software download (a list is available on the website Dmoz)
- or as web application.
All these readers are also called software aggregators because they aggregate content from multiple syndication files, to allow read their titles in a glance.