Scott Hanselman

Feed Auto Discovery

January 13, '06 Comments [1] Posted in ASP.NET | DasBlog | XML
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Firefox LivebookmarkThis is an older tip, but a lot of folks don't realize that it exists and its easy to miss.

If you've got a blog and you want folks to subscribe to it, make sure you're set up for Feed Auto-Discovery. FireFox supports it, almost every feed reader like FeedDemon supports it. Basically it saves you this whole process: Go to a site, search everywhere for an orange XML badge, right-click on it, select Copy Link Location, go to your reader, paste in the XML URL to the Add Feed dialog.

Add markup like before the </head> tag in your site. You can have different links for different feeds or different protocols if you like.

<base href="http://www.hanselman.com/blog/" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="ComputerZen.com - Scott Hanselman" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/ScottHanselman" />

feed autodiscoveryIf you're using a blog engine like DasBlog you likely already have this, however, if you've added to or modified a theme you might want to confirm that your theme HTML contains this autodiscovery info. You can just hard-code it in the main blog template's, there's no harm.

I also like to add one-click subscription support like this feed:http://feeds.feedburner.com/ScottHanselman with the feed protocol. Many readers will catch clicks that start with feed://.

We'll add autodiscovery to Hanselminutes very soon. :)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, 13 January 2006 19:27:05 UTC
As cool as auto discovery is, I agree with your comment that lots of people don't know it exists. I would actually change that to "the vast majority of people." Unfortunately, I don't see RSS having a shot at reaching critical mass until IE 7 hits. When only 4% of Internet users use a technology, it makes it kinda hard to get a foothold.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.