Understanding RSS On Your Drupal Site
One of the best features of Drupal is the fact that the system generates many RSS feeds. RSS is great. It allows your visitors to subscribe to new content on your site in any number of ways. But sometimes the RSS capabilities of Drupal are a bit confusing to users. In this drop I'll do what I can to simplify the issue for you.
Front Page RSS Feed
Each Drupal site has a front page RSS feed that can be found at yoursite.com/rss.xml. This feed reflects items that have been promoted to the front page of your site. You can change the setting for this front page feed by going to admin/content/rss-publishing. Once there you can control the number of items in your feed. You can also change the setting for the RSS content by selecting Full Text, Titles or Titles Plus Teaser. Another benefit of the front page feed is the fact that current Internet Explorer and Mozilla browsers will auto-discover the feed when visitors arrive at the front page of your site.
Taxonomy Generated Feeds
If you categorize items on your site via the core taxonomy module then you will have a feed for every category that is active in your system. You can see how this works by clicking on any category in the sidebar or in the body of posts. The page you arrive at will display the name of the category at the top and a list of posts that include that category. Most themes will include an icon at the bottom of the page that links to the rss feed for the category which will look something like yoursite.com/taxonomy/term/17/0/feed. How the content in that feed is displayed is determined by the settings mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Views RSS Feeds
You can generate a wide variety of custom RSS feeds by utilizing the views module and views RSS. Creating RSS feeds from views may be a bit complicated for users new to the platform. But if you're looking for more control of exactly what gets published via RSS then this is the way to go. I recommend that you take a look at a Views RSS video tutorial that I created a few months ago to learn more.
RSS Related Modules
These are some interesting RSS related contributed modules that you can add to your Drupal site.
- Clean Feeds - This module cleans all the HTML tags from RSS Feeds that you provide on your site.
- RSS Remote Enclosure - RSS Remote Enclosure allows a user to attach a remote resource link to any node.
- Admin RSS - The AdminRSS module creates RSS feeds for the administrative information for Drupal websites.
- Feedburner - Integrates Drupal with the services provided by FeedBurner.
It is worth noting that of the modules listed above only Feedburner has been ported to Drupal 6 yet. But they all have versions for Drupal 5.
Podcast RSS Feeds
Yes, you can create a podcast with Drupal but there are limitations. If you upload a files using the core upload module then the first file that you upload will be included in the RSS as an enclosure. The present of the enclosure tag in the RSS feed allows people to download files automatically if they subscribe in iTunes or any other pod-catching software. It is worth noting that Drupal does not natively generate all the necessary iTunes tags that allow you to be listed in the iTunes podcast directory. Your best bet for adding the iTunes tags is to create a special feed using FeedBurner that you only submit to iTunes. This will help you get a listing in the directory but you can still include the original Drupal feed on your site.
Another option for generating an iTunes feed in Drupal 5 is the contributed Views Podcast module which I haven't tested but might be a better choice if FeedBurner is not an option. If podcasting with Drupal is of interest to you then I recommend reading a post I wrote elsewhere which is aptly titled, Podcasting With Drupal.