What are those Orange XML Buttons?

You may have come across these funny looking little orange XML buttons (a.k.a. chicklets) and wondered what they are? This Webpage is an attempt to explain what they are and how you can use them and a USM client to better enjoy the Web.

Table of Contents

  1. What is RSS?
  2. Click Me
  3. Helping Users
  4. RSS Readers
  5. What is USM?
  6. The USM Client

What is RSS?

The orange buttons link to a file, called an RSS file. This RSS file is a computer readable description of the human readable Webpage you are reading. Applications can use these files to notify you when new content is available on this Webpage.

Click Me

Clicking on the orange buttons will often cause the RSS file to be rendered in your browser. This is a mistake on the part of the publisher of the RSS file. They are responding incorrect to the click. If they respond correctly, then it should launch your default RSS reader. By default, there is no RSS reader installed with Windows XP, so your computer will likely not understand how to handle these files regardless. On the other hand, if you install an RSS reader that supports USM, then clicking on the orange buttons will signal your RSS reader to handle this RSS file. It should ask you, if you want to be notified of changes to this Webpage.

Helping Users

Because there's no default RSS handler in Windows XP, clicking on the orange buttons often produces very undesirable results. I often suggest that RSS publishes include a little (What is this?) link immediate to the right of the orange button, that links to this page. Confused users can click on the (What is this?) link and read about how they can use those little orange chicklets. Here's an example of what I'm recommending RSS publishers put on there Webpage.

XML (What is this?)

The (What is this) link could link to this page, located at http://www.kbcafe.com/rss/whatisthis.html, but publishers rightfully should create their own (What is this) Webpage. Publishers may copy the content of this page without the permission of the author.

RSS Readers

Following is a list of RSS readers that support USM.

Download the latest version of the Juice News Reader.
View a screencast of Juice in action.
Juice Screencast

What is USM?

USM is the protocol used to convert a click on an RSS file into a registration request with an RSS reader. The protocol is described here, http://www.kbcafe.com/rss/usm.html.

The USM Client

The USM Client is a reference implementation of the USM protocol that works for many RSS readers, listed below.

Thanks to all the RSS reader authors and users that help build all this functionality into the USM Client. You can download the USM reference client installer from here, http://www.kbcafe.com/rss/usm.msi.