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Make Your Site's RSS Feed Shine

RSS is a way of life these days, but there's no reason your site's RSS feed needs to look like it was written by a computer. Sure, in order for an RSS feed to be read by most RSS readers it needs to be valid XML, but who says you have to stop there?

That's one of the many great things about XML, you can make your data look any way you want when people view it by simply specifying a stylesheet. And the best part is that all the RSS readers and feed consumers out there could care less... they still see the plain old XML that they know and love.

Take a look at some of these examples:

Underneath, they're all just XML (as you can see by doing a "View Source" with your browser), but right after the XML declaration on the first line you'll see a link to a stylesheet that looks something like this:

<?xml-stylesheet type='text/xsl' href='rsspretty.xsl' version='1.0'?>

The stylesheet you use will determine what the resulting page looks like, but to get started take a look at the stylesheets used by the feeds listed above.

Taking a look at those examples should get you well on your way to creating a look and feel that works for your site's RSS feeds. Finally humans and RSS readers can peacefully coexist!

If you're still confused about this whole RSS thing, you might want to take a look at Microsoft's About MSDN's RSS Feeds page or peruse the RSS section over at XML Files.

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