Wow, BillG interviewed by Channel 9

Wow, I’m new to the team and I guess I’ve missed some of the C9 content over the past few years…. and, as the video description says "the second time we’ve had Bill on C9" so maybe this isn’t as unusual as I think…. but this still really surprised me. I didn’t expect to see an inteview with the man himself on there. Bill Gates sat down with Charles Torre and chatted about Mix06, Office and more… check it out here.

Yay! I have an Xbox 360!!

Ok, you’ll be glad to hear that I won’t be whining any more about not having an Xbox 360. My pre-order from EB Games still hasn’t come in, but a friend of mine knew someone who had waited in line to get a 360 on launch day and then had their pre-order come in… so they were willing to sell me their second Xbox 360 at cost. Lucky me, I picked it up yesterday and took it home, then set it up after the kids were in bed. So far, all I’ve done is play Hexic and Gauntlet, and download a bunch of movie trailers (in 720p, sweet!). I have DOA 4, so that will be the next thing to try whenever I have time… then I need to figure out what game will be my next acquisition. #1 and #2 on my “list” aren’t out yet, so … probably Kameo?

Interested in building your own Gadgets for Live.com?

Ok, so I must admit that the whole Live.com/Start.com thing looks so much like a “Digital Dashboard” (anyone else get into that fad when it was cool?) that I feel like I’m back working on building my own components into the Outlook Today page…. but cynicism aside, it is still a cool idea and the very open system for creating and adding your own gadgets rocks. If you are wondering how to get started, then check out Adam Kinney’s article to learn exactly what you need to do.

Beta versions of the MSDN home page now available…

I’ve been working (as part of a large team!) on the new platform for MSDN, which is up and running at http://msdn2.microsoft.com… and now you can see prototype versions of the MSDN home page ontop of that same platform. Check it out here [http://beta.msdn.microsoft.com/default.aspx]. The new home page demonstrates some of the personalization/profile features that will end up on the final MSDN site in the near future.

application/rss+xml vs. text/xml

I’ve been working on some feed support in MSDN’s new online platform (a beta of which is running http://msdn2.microsoft.com) and I had to decide what content-type to use when outputting a RSS feed. I knew this was a contentious issue in the past, but I thought it might have been resolved so I did some browsing of specs and discussions and ended up with the following links:

I’m sure I could find more, but it appears this was never really resolved… using application/xml seems the most ‘proper’, but the concern is that some browsers don’t know how to handle it … so the other choice is text/xml (specifically text/xml; charset=utf-8 or else the charset will default to US-ASCII). Hmm… which to choose? Even our own sites have multiple implementations:

Interestingly enough, I found one feed that used application/rss+xml (Sam’s RSS 2.0 feed) which I think is probably not the best choice since that content type was never officially registered, and it was the only feed I hit that IE didn’t understand (and therefore tried to just download).

I think I will go with “application/xml” which has the best features in my opinion.

  • It clearly indicates that this is not just text, so it should avoid issues with proxies messing with the characters,
  • it leaves the character set data in the xml declaration, avoiding a possible conflict if I specify one in the http headers that is different than what the feed specifies,
  • it displays correctly in IE and Firefox, and
  • it is consistent with what we are doing today with the MSDN main feed.

Now, what about those in-page links we have? <link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”blah” href=”rss.xml” /> …. perhaps they should be just “application/xml” as well?

More on that RSS editor…

In the end, MSDN didn’t end up needing the RSS editor I wrote, so I’ve stripped out the features and content specific to their needs and started turning it into a more generic RSS creation tool. If you’d like to see it, as it is, you can run it from a ClickOnce install point here on my site. There are more features coming, and I’m revamping the style and behavior of the category system…. but you can try it out against copies of your own feeds or click File | New Feed to make new ones. Check out the Validate option on the menu, it will send whatever feed you have open to a web service enabled version of the feedvalidator.org system (coded up by Kent Sharkey), allowing you to check the validatity of your RSS without having to publish the file anywhere.

Note: If you have Beta 2 of the .NET Framework installed, the Click Once application will not install or run correctly. In this case, you need to run the VS remove tool (available from here)