RSS Feeds

What are RSS (News) feeds and why are they useful?

News feeds allow you to see when our website has added new content, like a news article or page. You can get the latest updates as soon as they're published, without having to visit the Commission's website.

Feeds are also known as RSS, which usually stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. These are special web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.

Here's a short video, produced by Common Craft which aims to explain RSS and how to make the most of it in plain English. (Please note: this is external content not endorsed by the Commission, but provided for information only).

How do I start using feeds from the Commission?

In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a web browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your feed subscriptions from any computer. Downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer. This is similar to how  you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail or Gmail.

Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive. For example, if you would like the latest Commission News stories, simply visit the News section and you will notice an orange button on the left hand side. This is the RSS button.

If you click on the RSS button you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the web address (URL) of the feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Most sites that offer feeds use a similar orange button, but some may just have a normal web link.

Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier. For more details on these, please check their websites.

How do I get a news reader?

There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time.

Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer. Many web browsers (like Firefox and Internet Explorer) already feature RSS support.

The following list is provided as a guide and without any endorsement from the Commission.

Downloadable readers

  • webbIE (designed with accessibility in mind) - for Microsoft Windows
  • NetNewsWire - for Mac OS X

Web-based readers

Feeds from the Commission

Below is a selected list of feeds available from the Commission.