RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML dialect used to publish frequently updated content, such as blog posts or news headlines. The content feed is identified by a unique URI, and this URI is used by an RSS Reader application to retrieve and display the content feed from a web site. An RSS feed can contain one or more images or items. An item can be a synopsis of an article with a link to the full article or the entire article itself. An RSS has a well-defined structure. Some Web APIs use RSS as the data format returned when a request is made. For additional reading, check out Wikipedia or the standards specification.
Atom is a syndication data format like RSS, as well as a publishing protocol. The Atom data format uses XML syntax with one or more Entry elements containing the full and/or summary content. The Atom Publishing Protocol (APP) defines a hierarchy for organizing published content (services, workspaces, collections, and resources) and uses the HTTP Get, Post, Put, and Delete methods for retrieving, creating, deleting, and editing published content. Atom’s use of HTTP’s built-in methods and XML as a data format is in the spirit of a RESTful web services implementation. For more, see Wikipedia or the proposed standard for Atom Syndication Format and the standard for Atom Publishing Protocol.
GData (Google Data Protocol) uses the Atom Publishing Protocol for reading and writing data on the web, with standard extensions to Atom that enable queries and authentication requests. Data formats used with GData can be either the standard RSS or Atom formats, or alternately a JSON representation of the Atom format. GData is widely used for various Google web services. To find out more, go to Wikipedia or the Google Data Protocol specification.
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