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About Atom Feeds

The Atom Syndication Format is a standard format to describe lists of related information known as “feeds”. Feeds are composed of a number of items, known as “entries.” Atom is an ideal format for listing blog content and is commonly used to do so. But it can be used to list any type of related content like a list of blog, a list of categories, and even a list of users.

RSS vs Atom

A common question is “what is the difference between RSS and Atom?” In many respects there is very little difference. The two formats are used in much the same way: most prominently to syndicate weblog content. But one of the biggest differentiators between RSS and Atom, is that Atom is not limited to use with syndication feeds. The Atom Syndication Format is also used within the Atom Publishing Protocol to enable third party applications to create, read, update and delete content on an Atom server. In this way Atom is not just a feed format, it is a protocol as well, providing a very robust, flexible, and infinitely extensible mechanism for syndicating and managing content on the Web.

Example Feed

A brief, single-entry Atom Feed Document:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<feed xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
  <title>Example Feed</title>
  <link href="http://example.org/"/>
  <updated>2003-12-13T18:30:02Z</updated>
  <author>
    <name>John Doe</name>
  </author>
  <id>urn:uuid:60a76c80-d399-11d9-b93C-0003939e0af6</id>
  <entry>
    <title>Atom-Powered Robots Run Amok</title>
    <link href="http://example.org/2003/12/13/atom03"/>
    <id>urn:uuid:1225c695-cfb8-4ebb-aaaa-80da344efa6a</id>
    <updated>2003-12-13T18:30:02Z</updated>
    <summary>Some text.</summary>
  </entry>
</feed>

Reference Material

See Also

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