How To Use RSS in Business and in Formstack

Written by Chris Lucas on September 11, 2007

Posted in Form Hacks

As a web applications company and as a small business we are always looking for ways to utilize online tools that make our jobs easier. As we explore these tools we like to share them with you and also help explain how many of these tools can work within the Formstack application. RSS is a tool that is quickly becoming as ubiquitous as email, and an important tool for businesses, big and small.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a tool that brings about the best ways to read and receive information from web sites. RSS allows you to aggregate all of the information you want, like news, sports, stocks, influential blogs, etc. all in one place. Instead of having to go directly to a web site, like CNN, or NY Times you can create feeds for them and choose when/where you read them. It is kind of like email for the whole web. There are many great feed readers out there, that are easy to use and will help get you started, like Google Reader, Newsgator, and FeedReader, to name a few.

As a business it is great to use RSS to quickly aggregate all the content you read everyday, such as blogs, news outlets, and financial reports. But RSS can serve as an important tool for your customers as well. By utilizing RSS you can provide customers an RSS feed to your site and provide them with product updates, event information, important company news, and even job postings.

Using RSS in Formstack is a great way to share and view data. For example, if you have set up an event registration form, you can use the RSS feed to share it with your other event coordinators, the host/hostess, food service providers, or whoever else needs to see the number of people attending.

To obtain the RSS feed for your form login into your form and go to the data section.

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Click on the “Share” tab and scroll down towards the bottom of the page. You will see “To subscribe to an RSS feed for this data, use the URL below.”

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You can either import that URL into your feed reader by copying and pasting or click on the URL and it will take you to a page to view the data and an drop down to choose your feed reader.

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After you have created the feed for your form, you will receive the form data in your reader each time a new submission is made, allowing you to track, in real time, who is coming to your event.

So how are you using RSS in Formstack, or in any other ways, for your business or organization?