Using Firefox and Thunderbird for RSS Feeds

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it is really "easy" once you get the hang of it. It basically gives you the ability to subscribe to web sites and have a RSS capable program tell you when that web site has updated it's content. So be on the look out for feed icons (RSS Feed or RSS Feed or RSS Feed) on sites that you think are interesting. If you have the Firefox web browser or you are using the Thunderbird email client then it couldn't get any easier.

Here's how to do it in Firefox

First you need to download and install Firefox if you haven't all ready.

Now each time you visit a site with an RSS feed Firefox will give a little symbol on the right of the address bar. Firefox calls them "live bookmarks". Just click on that symbol and a dialog box will pop up asking you where to save this live bookmark.

Firefox Live Bookmarks Click Here


Now that it's in your bookmarks (this part is just like IE's Favorites folder) you can view it in your bookmark pull down menu, side bar or in your bookmarks toolbar. In the example below I'm showing the PLCdev feed in the side bar. The neat thing about this is that anytime new articles are put up on PLCdev (or any RSS site you've bookmarked) they will automatically show up as new bookmarks ready for you reading pleasure.

Firefox Live Bookmarks


Really easy with Thunderbird

First you need to download and install Thunderbird if you haven't all ready.

Get Thunderbird!


When Thunderbird is up and running the first thing to do is create an RSS account.

  1. Click on the "File" pull down menu and select "New" | "Account".
  2. In the dialog box that pops up select "RSS & Blogs" and click Next.
  3. Give the account a nice name like "News & Blogs", click Next.
  4. Finish it off by clicking "Finish".

The new RSS account will be viewable in the left hand folder pane.


Thunderbird RSS


Now every time you run across a site with an RSS feed here's what you do:

  1. Click the web site's RSS icon and copy the URL.
  2. Go to Thunderbird, right click on the RSS account and select "Manage Subscriptions".
  3. Click the "Add" button.
  4. Paste the URL into the Feed URL box and click OK.

That's it. The feed will automatically grab all the articles. The thing I like about using Thunderbird is it's just like using mail. It automatically retrieves links to new pages and shows you what has not been read. Enable the viewer pane and you can see the web page right away.


Or you can use the automatic

Or you can use the automatic subscription, One click on the orange rss icon and the feed is automatically added to your feed list in Thunderbird. Tutorial showed here