A feed is a machine-readable document that describes a sequence of data in a controlled manner.
This means that other applications can look at a feed and so long as they understand the particular flavor of XML being used to write it, they can display the data in a sensible way.
It sounds dry, but this is very useful. It lets the latest information from many websites be displayed almost anywhere easily.
How you use a feed depends entirely on which application you want to use to view it. Applications that display feeds are called aggregators, and are normally used to gather feeds of information from a variety of places and display them in one convenient location.
Probably the most popular aggregator in use today is LiveJournal, although most people don't think of it as such. LiveJournal allows you to specify other users whose entries they want to read ("friends"), then aggregates feeds of entries by those users into one handy "friends page" for you to read conveniently.
As it happens, LiveJournal can also read the feeds that FicWad (and a lot of other people) produce. If you have a paid LiveJournal account you can add a custom feed to LiveJournal by visiting their syndication page. If you don't have a paid account, you have to wait until someone else has added a particular feed to LiveJournal before you can watch it.
The last 15 stories posted to FicWad can be seen at ficwad_recent on LiveJournal.
If you're using FireFox, you can use its Live Bookmarks feature to watch a feed in your bookmarks.
If you're using Opera, you can use the "M2 mail client's feed reader":http://www.opera.com/products/desktop/m2/rss/ to watch the feed.
If you're using Safari in Mac OS X 10.4 or above you can use Safari RSS to read feeds. (We haven't tried this one yet, but it's a Mac, so we're sure it'll be easy.)
If you're using IE... we really do recommend Firefox. Seriously, though, there are a lot of other aggregator programs out there.
(Note, however, that everything past this point will assume a certain comfort-level with technical matters.)
Base URL: http://www.ficwad.com/xml/recent.php?
This base URL gives one an RSS feed of the last 15 stories uploaded to FicWad, minus those that are NC-17. We're trying to restrict NC-17 listings in feeds to people who've indicated that they want to see them.
There are several parameters you can add to this URL:
* If you want to see NC-17 stories in the feed, add 'nc=1'
* If you want to see only NC-17 stories, add 'nc=2'
* If you want to see only stories by a certain author, add 'uid=[their uid]' (you can see an author's uid in the url of their profile page)
* If you want to see only stories in a certain category, add 'catid=[category id]' (seen in the url of the category display page).
* If you want to see stories by this user's favorite authors, add 'fav=a' (note that this modifies the meaning of "uid=", such that the uid given is the user whose favorites you want to see)
* If you want to see on stories that this user lists as their favorites, add 'fav=s' (same warning as above)
An example: http://www.ficwad.com/xml/recent.php?uid=2&catid=2&nc=2">http://www.ficwad.com/xml/recent.php?uid=2&catid=2&nc=2
This generates a feed of the last 15 stories user 2 (SunTyger, as it happens) has posted to FicWad for category 2 (Trigun), which are NC-17. There's only one at the time of writing, but I'm sure she'll try harder in the future.
Harry has to go back in time to get a Horcrux. There's just one problem: Sirius. Won 2nd place in...
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