I’ve been working on a new RSS generation system for MSDN for the past little while

… and it is almost ready to ship….

The new system will result in a few changes to the MSDN feeds, the most notable of which is that our feeds will no longer reflect a certain time span (they currently contain all of the appropiately attributed items from the past 30 days), but will instead contain a certain # of items. They also have a bit more data in them, including the author of the article (in the dc:creator element) and a collection of category elements containing all of the attribution that we have applied to that article in our back end system.

If you check out a sample feed, available here, you’ll see the changes described above along with one other new ‘feature’. We will have a stylesheet added to the top of the feeds, which is primarily targetted at folks who do not already use RSS feeds. When people in the past have seen our RSS buttons on the various MSDN sites, clicking on that button showed them the raw XML… with no real context or explanation of what they were being shown. This new format, using the style sheet, should help improve the experience for those customers.

Please let me know what you think about these changes (feel free to post your thoughts in the feedback section of this post), they aren’t released yet so this is the time when I need to hear any and all feedback you have!!

Update: Luc Cluitmans noticed that the feed was not displaying correctly in Firefox… but I believe I’ve fixed that problem now, please let me know if you still notice problems with the display. I get only text in Opera, but I think that is due to the fact that XSLT is not supported by Opera… let me know if I’m wrong on that one…

Author: Duncan Mackenzie

I'm the Developer Lead for the Channel 9 team, formerly worked on MSDN as a developer, content strategist and author.

5 thoughts on “I’ve been working on a new RSS generation system for MSDN for the past little while”

  1. One quick note: the stylesheet seems to be working correctly in IE only. FireFox recognizes the stylesheet, but the result doesn’t seem to be HTML at all, but one large line of text. I am not into stylesheeting enough to figure out what is going wrong, but it looks like some mime-type or namespace issue to me. If I download the feed and the stylesheet separately, and apply the stylesheet manually, the resulting html file displays just fine, so it seems to be an issue with applying the stylesheet.

  2. Update: Yep, it works fine now in FireFox, thanks!

    I wish more RSS feeds would attach a stylesheet… Thanks for setting a good example.

  3. why can’t you make halo2 no ps2 the reasonis i go over to my frends place so i can play halo1 so can you ask sony to put out halo2 out please thank you.

  4. News feed doesn’t display correctly in Thunderbird. Thunderbird reads the post fine, and displays the basic information (subject, author, date) but when selected doesn’t display the summary/description and link information – just a blank window. Visual C# seems to be the only MS feet that does this (of the one i look at regurlarly: MSDN: ASP.NET, MSDN: Visual C#, MSDN Just posted, …)

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