RSS is a web format widely used to deliver news throughout the Internet in either summarized or full format. Feeds, however, may include formatting styles to embellish their own self-contained web page. This styling is useful to provide surfers with an easily readable feed that can be displayed in most modern browsers without needing a special aggregator to read the content.
Even though, formatting a feed can be tricky. Most websites with RSS support generate feeds automatically, and it is up to the chosen software the way in which the content is rendered. Blog software often comes with special features to style feeds and add extra information such as channel source, copyright notice and even advertising.
Therefore, a blog owner does not need to know anything about RSS specs to choose the right format to broadcast site's news, but this situation changes when the software only renders raw information. If you are facing this problem, first of all understand what is the type of feeds your software delivers.
Actual standard is RSS version 2.0, which is a stable core with an active module development. This format can be easily implemented in any website taking advantage of its extensibility, which allows integration via modules or hard coded into a script.
Although this standard may accept formatting elements within the code itself, it is not recommended play with it if you do not know how to modify each element. For a regular webmaster wanting to style RSS feeds, the easiest way is work around a cascade style sheet (CSS) to create custom classes for each item element.
Further information on the items that integrates a feed can be found at backend.userland.com, owner of this syndication format. As for tutorials, hints and tips on how to add formatting to your feeds using CSS, there are many resources on the web, so your favorite search engine may help to find them out.
Despite formatting your feeds is not a pre-requisite to broadcast your content via RSS, this practice is recommended so anyone can read the content without needing to install special software or use online RSS readers, but nicely rendered by the browser that points to a feed .
On the other hand, formatting your feeds may contribute to stop unauthorized distribution of content, because is harder implement a seamless integration, just make sure to use your website absolute URL linking your style sheet so the feed preserve the styling across the web.