Photographs courtesy of Toby Watt - lawyer, friend and photographer extraordinaire...
RSS (Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary depending on version or who you ask) is a way of sharing information over the Internet. Basically, a web site designer creates a specially coded page that can be registered with special web services (called Aggregators). Internet users can then use such Aggregators to subscribe to the RSS feed, and be automatically notified when its content changes. Or, if the user visits a site with an RSS service directly, he or she can subscribe to a feed without using an Aggregator if they happen to have an RSS feed reader available on their computer.
RSS content is typically indicated on a web page by one of two icons, or . There are a couple of way to access this content. Firstly, you can simply click on the orange button to view the page. Or, if you wish, you can use the RSS icon on Internet Explorer's toolbar.
Did you know that
there is a special utility available on MSDN that makes it easy to add RSS to
your web site? Check it out here:
RSS Tool for Frontpage 2003
RSS support is new to Internet Explorer 7.0. If you try to access RSS pages using an earlier version, this is what you will see:
If you see something similar to the above when using IE7, click the back button and try again. Alternatively, access another Feed page, then go back to the one that is causing the problem.
Note: RSS functionality requires at least Microsoft XML Parser (MSXML) 3.0 Service Pack 5 (SP5). Service Pack 7 can be downloaded here.
When Internet Explorer detects an RSS feed on a web page, the RSS icon on the toolbar will light up, and will look slightly different depending on whether you have visited the page with the RSS feed in the past.
New feed Previously detected feed
If you look closely at the above RSS icon on the left, you will see a small glimmer (starburst). This tells us that the RSS feed on the page is one that we have not come across before. The icon on the right has no glimmer, which tells us that the RSS feed has been encountered before. Simply click on the drop down menu entry to go directly to the RSS page.
Sometimes a page can have more than one RSS feed, in which case you simply select the feed that you want to visit.
When you view an RSS page in Internet Explorer Beta 3, you will be presented with the opportunity to subscribe to the Web feed.
Simply click on either yellow plus sign on the toolbar or the Subscribe to this feed link to open a subscription window.
Click on the Subscribe button. The info pane then changes.
Note: Feed updates are disabled by default as at
Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview build 5335.5
If Internet Explorer is unable to update a feed, you will see this error message:
If a Feed has errors, Internet Explorer will show:
If the Feed is an unsupported format you may see an error like this:
Did you know Internet Explorer can import feeds and export Web (RSS) feeds? Enable the Menu Bar (previously called the Classic Menu), go to File, then click on Import and Export, then select Import Feed or Export Feed. To import, all you need to know is where the XML file for your existing feeds is saved.
Once you have subscribed to the Feed, click on the View feeds in the Favorites Centre to adjust your subscription settings.
The Favorites Centre is the new one-stop-shop incorporating Internet Explorer's History, Favorites, and subscribed RSS feeds, and is opened by clicking on the star on Internet Explorer's toolbar.
The bold font in the screen shot above indicates that there is new content waiting to be read
Right click on any Feed entry, then select Properties to access various options. We can rename the Feed entry, change how often IE checks for new content, automatically download enclosures (I would not recommend you enable this option), and control the archiving of old items.
Want to refresh all your feeds at the same time? Right click any feed and click Refresh All. Or, run this command (thanks Jean-Marc, French MVP):
There are a few user configurable settings that control RSS behaviour in Internet Explorer. They are accessed via Tools, Internet Options, Content tab. Click on the Settings button
Note: Turning off the feed reading view has several interesting effects.. see screen shots of some examples below:
I hope we eventually see some consistency in behaviour.
Internet Explorer 7 allows us to display content sorted by Date, Title, or Author (obviously the Author option only appears if there is more than one contributor to a Feed).
IE7 also introduces Word Wheel Search. There is a text box in the top right hand corner of a subscribed Feed page. As a user types text in the Word Wheel text pane the list of RSS articles will be filtered to display only those articles that contain the text. Click on Show all to clear the Word Wheel filter and display all content.
Where are Feeds stored?
%userprofile% \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Feeds