Part 1: Hello feeds


Hi, I’m Jane. Everyone I know spends their free time browsing the internet… whether it’s catching up on the news, reading friends’ blog, or looking for that perfect web deal, book, person. But scanning a site to see what you’ve read versus what’s new can be tiring. And it’s frustrating to find that there’s nothing new to read after all that work. With the IE7 Beta 2 Preview, we added a convenient way interacting with the internet: Subscribing to feeds. Subscribe to Feeds

Feeds are a different format of the website’s content that allows software to determine if there is something new available. It can range from a new article on msnbc.com, a new movie release on Netflix, or a new journal entry on a friend’s blog. With IE7 Beta 2 Preview, you can subscribe to your favorite websites’ feed and read new updates directly in the browser.

1. Feed Discovery Button – The Feed Discovery button tells you if there is a feed detected on the webpage you’re looking at. It lives on the Command Bar and lights up when a feed is found. Clicking on it takes you to the Feed Reading Page.

Feed Discovery Button

2. Feed Reading Page – This is the view of the feed for reading. When you subscribe to a feed, you can determine the new content versus the content that you’ve seen before. We also have controls for inline search, sorting, and filtering to quickly get to the content that is interesting to you.

Feed Reading Pane

3. Feed list – The list of feeds that are you subscribed sits next to your favorites. A feed is bold if there is new content available for you.

Feed List

There are 4 parts to the feed reading experience: discovering, subscribing, reading, and managing. If you want to find more, read the next two posts and subscribe to the Team RSS blog.

Part 2: Discovery and Subscribe

Part 3: Read and Manage

 – Jane

Comments (68)

  1. oneighturbo says:

    Very nice. I have been playing around with the subscriptions and just recently exported my OPML file from SharpReader and imported into IE7 without a hitch!

    I also posted on flickr a shot of the RSS feeds view, after clicking on it. It renders very nicely!

    Heres to a slick preview! well done.

  2. forgetfoo says:

    quick question about the feeds in IE7… will we be able to edit/mod/create our own "views" for displaying the feeds in IE, such as will custom XSLT styles and the like?

    just curious 😉

  3. dymonaz says:

    enough about rss please! is there nothing more important in ie7b2?!?!

  4. ieblog says:

    Dymonaz,

    You’ll have to keep watching the blog. I’m sure something will show up soon that will fulfill your expectation.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  5. FOR THE LAST TIME says:

    Add "title" attributes to your images when posting. This isn’t the 1998 Internet anymore!

    IE7 is supposed to be promoting Web Standards!

    Yeeesh!

  6. tom says:

    Why not expand the rss bookmarks in the box and allow drop down in the toolbar? This makes scanning the contents much faster

  7. Micke says:

    I love how the Favorite center works, with separeted bookmarks and feeds. Hope to see the + button and home button integrated into it for space saving.

    But I wonder why the RSS button isnt in the addressbar like FireFox and Opera have it? Seems like a better place instead of taking up space from the tabs.

    Also, will it be possible to move the buttons (home rss tools etc) to another toolbar in the final version?

  8. forgetfoo says:

    probably another stupid question… but when i subscribe to an RSS feed in IE7B2, and go into the favorites, click on Feeds and select one… does it simply load the linked feed in the active tab for a person to view?

    or does it retain the posts, download them in the background, allowing subscriptions to be archived and searched against?

    /puts away curious hat

  9. Bogtha says:

    The first time a user visits a website with a feed available, a dialog box should pop up saying something like:

    "This website has a feed available to let you know when it is updated. You can access this by clicking…"

    As things stand, I can see lots of users being completely oblivious to this feature because they don’t tend to go clicking around the interface when they are trying to read a page.

  10. Eric says:

    It’s okay but it would be great with some minor changes.

    1) For feeds, allow me to read folders with many feeds all at once, specifically, allow me to see all unread feeds. THIS IS CRUCIAL!

    2) Allow me to move between different feeds while in feed view, not by selecting a new feed through favourites center.

    3) If haven’t tested this thoroughly, but please allow for pictures in feeds, it makes them alot better!

    Thanks if you have feedback, or do anything about these issues.

  11. I am very impressed with the way WebFeeds are parsed and made easy to read and subscribe to but I think the UI of the Favorites Center is seriously flawed.

    Having separate folders for Favorites and Feeds is an interesting idea but actually trying to begin to work with separate sets of folders quickly made it possible for me to conclude that it was not such a good idea after all.

    As implemented, you have introduced redundancy in the UI. You have now required people to create and manage two separate trees of directory resources with no way to borrow names and structure from one another so as to avoid yet more redundancy.

    Information glut is information glut and as implemented the Favorites Center does little to improve on a most serious information management concern.

    Each directory in the tree has to be named somehow. Its difficult enough for any of us to create a well thought out taxonomy. Worse yet for two taxonomies which are used to classify and manage essentially the same thing; a URI.

    There’s no direct search for Favorites and Feeds in IE either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve need to find which directory I’ve stored a Favorite in simply because of the complexity of creating and managing a taxonomy. At least Windows Desktop Search comes to the rescue but it can be a distraction to go elsewhere to get something done.

    I would have paid special attention to this if I were on the dev team. As so much noise has been made about improving the user experience I was surprised to observe you’ve replicated the same lame implementation for creating and managing the lame implementation by two.

    On a final note, I also observed that IE7 does not display the XML of a feed in a tree anymore. I’ve always found it useful to read the tree as it was useful for copy and paste operations but now when viewing source for a feed we get unformatted serialized text.

  12. MrDale says:

    "Why not expand the rss bookmarks in the box and allow drop down in the toolbar? This makes scanning the contents much faster"

    I agree. I’d rather scan feed Headlines in the browser than on a webpage. It’s quicker and easier to scan through on a whim than having to open a webpage to read extra large text. At least have it as an option "Read Feed Headlines in Browser" or "Read Feed Headlines on Webpage Format".

    Who cares if some FireFoxer or Mac person says you’re copying. You’re catching up, so you’re going to copy things. What’s msot important is giving people flexibility with these new things with an array of options.

    BEFORE I FORGET… Feeds from my my website will not update in IE 7, but they update fine in FireFox and Maxthon… Is there something extra I have to add to the code for IE 7 to read these?

  13. Squire says:

    How secure is IE7 compared to Firefox 1.5? can anybody comment? . Please post on my page.. if you can..

  14. MrDale says:

    Is there anyway in which IE 7 can read the feeds in the exact order I put them in my XML document? I put them in a specific order to be read in that order and haven’t come across anyway in which they be shown in that exact order. FireFox and Maxthon do this by default. I was wondering if there was something I was missing.

  15. Ryan Boyle says:

    Typo:

    "we added a convenient way interacting with the internet"

  16. I think I found a "feature" of the RSS Feeds that I can’t quite explain, it seems that building web pages under ASP.NET 2.0 using master pages, placing the rss link tag in the master page does not enable the rss icon on the toolbar. I have tested the link in a static html file and it works but not when embeded in the master page. Anyone have any ideas? I have the link on my site if anyone wants to check it out and see for themselves.

    – Will

  17. Fritz Sands says:

    I am unable to subscribe to any feed on IE 7 at home. I get "Unknown feed error" when I try. Not a very descriptive error message. On a machine at work, I can subscribe to feeds with no problem. Any debugging thoughts would be approeciated.

  18. TechBlog says:

    At long last, Microsoft’s giving users an RSS reader in Internet Explorer 7. The recently released preview of Beta 2 has a fairly polished implementation of it, and there’s an excellent post on Microsoft’s IE Blog about it, complete with…

  19. Airex says:

    Nice Feature, but how can I, for example, refresh all subscriptions in OneClick?

    So, If I want to refresh all subscriptions — i must click on all ones and Press Refresh

    Not good

  20. TravisP says:

    The feeds section definately requires a sync or refresh function for the entire tree. I have over 50 feeds in my tree that requires each one to be right clicked on and refreshed. Interestingly enough, when I imported the OPML from feeddemon, the links all auto-refreshed.

    Also with the feeds, a number of the new items next to the feed title would be great, as well as the ability to select specific items on the feed as read rather than changing the status of the feed by simply viewing it, but they are nice to haves. The fact that I can see the feeds using this type of function is way ahead of where IE6 was.

  21. magang@msn.com says:

    can anyone read the feed http://www.cnbeta.com/backend.php ??

  22. Mike Alexander says:

    I don’t think that just bolding a feed when it has new info is enough.

    How about a "sparkle" icon next to the feed (as well as making it bold) when there’s been new stuff added?

  23. Sushovan says:

    I have a few problems using the rss functionality.

    First, when a page begins loading, the rss button lights up, as if it has discovered a feed, whereas it really hasnt, and there are no feeds or links to feeds on that page.

    Second, the search box that comes on the rss reading page desperately needs a hide button. It gets on top of the wide images in some of the posts! if you really want to repro the problem on *any* feed, simply zoom to, say, 500% and you will know.

    Other than that, great functionality. Please add the refresh all feeds button though.

    Thanks for reading this

  24. David Hubbard says:

    I was wondering if ie 7 could include a new rss feed update in the task bar area where your clock and windows messenger appears (sorry forgot the name of the area). It could use the rss button and have a bubble box appear when info was availible from an rss feed.

  25. It is sometimes useful to view RSS feeds in their XML format the way IE6 did. While the view that IE7 offers is pretty, I wish there were a quick way for me to choose to view the RSS the IE6 way.

  26. We have to stop all these gradients, Microsoft — this is getting out of hand. You do not need to use 4+ color palletes for your application designs, and white space is an important element of design; there’s no need to fuddle it with gradients. That’s a rookie designer trick because their afraid of negative space — but it kills their experience in the end. How many times do I have to point out your poor design over the years?

    Stop letting middle management and developers design, free your talent or hire professionals. It’s not that complex. This application is growing more and more an eye sore everyday.

  27. Pid says:

    I’m testing an (unfortunately private) feed setup, and while the feeds seem to validate, IE7 refuses to render them.

    Must feeds have the .xml or .rdf file extension?

  28. grey says:

    Well, I’m checking out IE7b2 and I’m glad to see some of the improvements. The encorporation of rss feeds is nice, but sadly IMNSHO totally worthless, just like Firefox/etc.’s Livebookmarks implementation.

    I really would recommend that you guys try to ape the Safari implementation of RSS notification, particularly in the bookmarks bar so that you can see your feeds grouped into folders and a # of new articles, e.g.:

    MSIEBlog (5)

    to indicate there are 5 unread articles in that feed.

    Similarly, in the feed -view- it helps immensely within Safari to check the "Show unread feeds in different colour" this way you can scroll down just as far as you need to and ignore previously read feeds.

    Simply polling to see if a site has feeds, but not providing the user any direct notification of what feed or how many articles are unread, and similarly not providing the user with a distinction between read and unread articles, IMNSHO makes feeds as currently implemented into IE7b2, pretty worthless, just as Firefox/Moz/etc. livebookmarks is to me.

    Sticking it into the browser is -great-, but doing a complete barebones implementation, when a few minor tweaks make it useful is unfortunate.

    Unless I’m missing something, but so far I can’t seem to find any acceptably usable feed views or notification/differentiation mechanisms.

  29. Mark B says:

    I prefer the way RSS is implemented in FF I can simply look in my bookmarks and see all the topics for the feed I have subscribed to. With IE7 I have no idea what topics are current without loading the feed.

  30. Doug P says:

    I cannot seem to use this feature. everytime I click on the orange RSS icon All I ever get is the following error message.

    "Internet Explorer cannot display this feed"

    Any ideas as to what I am doing wrong?

  31. Alex says:

    The results of never turn off auto-discovery.

    1) I cannot work with my banks website: anymore "Unknown Feed Format" error all the way — they supply browser with XML+XSLT to render. Maybe it’s not a good idea on their side, but they did it, and now I have to download FireFox just to be able to login there!

    2) WHY Feeds Auto-Discovery is available for all applications that host IE? This is WRONG, because only iexplore.exe has a clue on what to do with found feeds.

    3) I’m a software developer and would like to see XML as is was formatted in IE6. Now, thanks to the darn auto-discovery, I cannot do this anymore.

    IETeam, please, add an OPTION for auto-discovery!

    Please let me know if you need more details on the bank’s site problems.

    Thank you.

  32. Alex says:

    Oops. Please read as following:



    1) I cannot work with my banks website anymore: "Unknown Feed Format" error all the way — they supply browser with XML+XSLT to render. Maybe it’s not a good idea on their side, but they did it, and now I have to download FireFox just to be able to login there!

  33. DeepFreeze3 says:

    The Feeds Discovery Button in IE7 takes the form of a toolbar button on the Command Bar that’s there all the time. Why??? That doesn’t make sense at all! You’re only going to need something like that when the browser detects RSS feeds on a web site, so it doesn’t need to be there 24/7. It ends up taking valuable real estate.

    If the Feeds Discovery Button should be anywhere, it should be within the address bar. Specifically, at the left end of it. And it should only appear when needed (i.e. when IE7 detects RSS feeds on a web site). It makes more sense that way.

  34. Darren Kopp says:

    I agree with some of the people with the proposed option of a view where you could view all unread.

    It would be nice if i could organize my feeds by a topic (such as IE7, or ASP.NET) and then view/search all of my unread items for the entire folder (which comprises several feeds).

    Something similar to RSS Bandit’s interface would work great.

  35. mocax says:

    What is IE7’s criteria for a valid RSS feed?

    I had a simple RSS2 feed that worked in firefox but not recognized in IE7.

    does it require definition of some obscure namespace?

    any tech docs I can refer to?

  36. rss says:

    hi forgetfoo –

    stylesheets: we currently do not support customizing feed stylesheets.

    subscribed feeds: when you subscribe to a feed, background sync is started for the feed and keeps the last 200 items for a feed (you can change the # of items for a given feed through the properties dialog).  when you select it in the feed list, you are a seeing a collection of new items and the items that you’ve seen before.

    – jane kim [ MSFT]

  37. Keith Combs says:

    The default feed refresh interval is set to 1 day.  24 hours seems to be a long time for many of the feeds I like.  Is there a way to change the global setting so that all feeds are added at a user perferred interval.  Or, could you please add a Feed property page to Tools for management and properties.  Right mouse clicking each feed is hard. 🙁

    Thanks

  38. It is snowing outside, I have a cup of coffee playing with new IE7! I have installed yesterday. It has…

  39. Ali says:

    I would love for the abilities in reading RSS to be like reading mail in outlook, so for example:

    1) be able to mark a feed (ex/ Internet Explorer Team Blog) read or unread

    2) flag a news piece for priority

    3) auto view ability by hitting header

    This is great thanks.

  40. rss says:

    MrDale –

    By default, the items within a feed are ordered by the publish time provided by the publisher.  I think you are running into a situation where the publish time is not defined.  

    We plan on changing to filter to just the unread items in the future.

    – Jane Kim [MSFT]

  41. rss says:

    Alexander –

    When there are new items to read in your feed list, the feed view button within the favorites menu display a gleam.

    – Jane Kim [MSFT]

  42. rss says:

    Sushovan –

    Your first issue with the feed button lighting before the page is fully loaded is a known issue and will be fixed.

    Your second issue of zoom not working properly with the feed controls is also a known issue.

    thanks for using the product!

    – Jane Kim [MSFT]

  43. rss says:

    Alex –

    could you provide the url to the bank’s login screen on: http://channel9.msdn.com/wiki/default.aspx/Channel9.InternetExplorerFeedDiscovery

    thanks! – Jane Kim [MSFT]

  44. rss says:

    Keith Combs –

    I hear you on this.  We are implementing a global setting to change the feed’s sync setting easily from the Feed Settings dialog.

    – Jane Kim [MSFT]

  45. Mike Simon says:

    Are there any plans to go away from using RunDLL to access the internet when updating feeds?  I posted this on an earlier comment page, but since this directly addresses feeds, I thought I’d post it here too.

    The problem:  ie7 is using rundll to access the internet and retrieve feed updates.  Because rundll does not identify the caller, those of us using a software firewall see only rundll attempting to access the internet.  It doesn’t tell us who is trying to run it or necessarily where it’s going.  This could be a MAJOR security hole because rundll can be run indescriminately by any application (good or evil) on your computer.  By allowing rundll unfettered access to the internet, you’re basically inviting anyone to use it as a bridge to excute potentially nefarious code.  Since IE7 is using it all the time (it seems to try to run more frequently the more feeds you have), it becomes a calculated risk every time I decide to allow it out.  The first few times it ran, I ran a virus checker to make sure someone hadn’t infiltrated my machine.  This could all be handled easily if IE7 ran the dll directly or shipped with a FeedExec application so at least we know what’s going on.  Sure, users like me would notice an upsurge in the number of times it hits the net, but we’d know it could be trusted to not be some hijacker.

    Any plans to change this before the release?

  46. DeepFreeze3 says:

    For some reason, the RSS reader has, more or less, totally malfunctioned in IE7 Beta 2. All my RSS feeds could be read when I first started using this browser. Now? Most of the links aren’t displaying properly at all!

    This is for me! By the time you read this message, I’ll have uninstalled IE7 Beta 2 and have gone back to IE6. I’ve had it with these dumb bugs! See ya

  47. Alex says:

    Jane,

    Unfortunately, such pages are available right after login, not before. 🙁

    Can I have someone to contact me about the problem, so we could discuss means to achieve the pages in private? For known reasons I cannot post my bank details right here.

    Please email me on alex @ bytegems . com

    Thanks!

  48. Doug says:

    Is there a way to sync feeds using the Windows Live Favorites feature.  It would be great to simply sync feeds used during th day to other machines that you use throughout the day.  Thanks

  49. Arjan says:

    If you go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/rss.xml i.e. you notice at the top right:

    Displaying 100 / 100

    Although there are way more than a 100 items.

  50. Alex says:

    Hello Jane,

    I’ve got XML this bank’s site response with. It’s RSS + XSLT. IE7 fails to show it rendered.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    <?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="news.xsl"?>

    <rss  version="2.0" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"&gt;

    <support/>

    <version buildNum="610" buildDate="Wed Feb 08 19:01:43 EET 2006"/>

    <logged sessioncount="606" visitscount="1"/>

    <locale language="ru">

    <date id="20060209T16:57:41" traditional="09.02.2006">09 фев 2006,Чт 16:57:41</date>

    </locale>

    //etc.

    To whom I can forward it?

  51. Winpooch sez:

    The following process:

    ..system32rundll32.exe (1788)

    Is trying to do this:

    File::Write (..TasksSystem_Feed_Sync_Scheduler.job)

    I agress with Simon:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/ archive…418.aspx#526941

  52. tm says:

    I love the feature. One thing that annoys me to no end is this, though:

    – open a feed from your favorites

    – scroll down a few page fulls to a post you like

    – click on a link (this opens the link in the same page and replaces the feed)

    – you read the page and then click the ‘back’ button to go back to the feed

    You would expect to be back to the same location in the feed page. Instead, you’re taken to the top of the feed forcing you to find where exactly you were on that page.

  53. Frank M. Kromann says:

    Feed discovery seams to be broken when the page is loaded in a frame. When the page is loaded in the top frame it works fine.

  54. Thrasher says:

    If I had an optional viewer pane splitting my feed window into upper and lower halfs, it could really serve the purpose of the large window. All links would need a rewrite to point to the main tabbed area, but it would be easier to navigate.