Michael Hildebrand posted a question in response to yesterday's blog entry. He asked:

...what is the basic difference between a Blog an an RSS feed? I hear people have 'Blog Websites' about themselves. It is just information presented like a forum is?

I think that that is a very good question and thus decided to answer it in detail.

What is RSS?

RSS is simply an XML application, designed specifically to syndicate content. Quoting the official RSS specification:

'RDF Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the W3C's RDF specification and is extensible via XML-namespace and/or RDF based modularization.'

The advantage of RSS is that you can use a so-called RSS Reader, such as FeedReader, that downloads the RSS file on a regular basis and informs you when there are new news items in the blog.

xml.com offers a really good summary and if you are really interested in RSS, there is the definitive O'Reilly book.

What is a Blog?

A blog, on the other hand, is simply a web site that is updated on a very regular basis and where the news items are ordered inverse chronologically.

Most blogs do offer their information in the syndication format RSS, however, a blog is still a blog if it does not. It is certainly true to say that blogs have popularized RSS no end. However, RSS has been around for much longer than blogs.

blogphiles.com offers a brief definition of a blog and again, if you are interested in a more detailed description, Wikipedia has a great text (towards the end of the article are some really good links).

To third part of the question...

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Forum?

A blog belongs to one person or to a group of people sharing the same interest - in our case, TX Text Control. The owners of the blog choose the topics about which they wish to talk. Although readers can comment on entries, this is not the primary focus of the blog. The content from the blog authors is.

A forum, on the other hand, is not controlled by any one person - instead, any member of the forum can start a topic for discussion. Forums rely on responses from the community to initial posts in order to form a discussion, reflecting the interests of the group rather than the interests of the blog owners.