Where can I get it?
But before everyone and their mothers run to that URL without reading what SPRSS is all about .. here is a little description of what SPRSS is, and what it can do.
A while ago, I had introduced the concept of CARBURETUR, short for
Content Aggregation, Rendering, Binding, Unlimited Reuse, External conTent inclusive, Using RSS.
Now while that was a heckuva cool name for a project, even I had trouble remembering the spellings. So, I decided to pull a Microsoft on you - start with a cool name, and release the final with a heckuva dumb name. So I've decided to give the project a more boss friendly name of "SPRSS", short for "SharePoint RSS".
What is SPRSS?
There are two parts to SPRSS, and going forward there will be more.
- CleanRSS.aspx ---> SharePoint out of the box produces RSS for any list or doc lib. But did you know, that is not valid RSS? CleanRSS.aspx will get around that problem. Not only that, consider the "Announcements" list .. below is an image of the out of the box RSS produced:
Now, as a comparison, here is the RSS produced by CleanRSS.aspx --
Note any difference? Well, the biggest difference is that CleanRSS.aspx actually splits out each column as it's own XML element. This minor difference is incredibly valuable, because now you can attach any XSLT stylesheet, and render the above announcements in any way/shape or form you want. How do you do that? This is where the RSSWebPart comes in.
.. For a quick tutorial on how to use CleanRSS.aspx .. read here ...
- RSSWebPart ---> SPRSS is available as a .wsp. So you can use stsadm -o addsolution to install it on your farm, and deploy it appropriately. Deploying this solution to a website, will create a feature for you as shown below:
When you activate it, a webpart automatically gets added to your webpart gallery, as shown below:
Adding that webpart produces the following default look:
Sticking with standard industry practice, the default look is ugly! LOL.
But, now what if I wanted to show SharePointy content inside of this webpart .. say the above announcements? :) ...
Well, it's quite easy, just edit the webpart, and type in the URL for the CleanRSS.aspx's produced
.. and this produces the default look as shown below:
Edit the XSLT a little bit .. and see what you can do --->
Hmm .. when was the last time, a SharePoint webpart looked that pretty? LOL :-). (And dang those are my designer skills - which aren't that great!).
A few important points of mention here:
- You can aggregate ANY content from anywhere.
- You can aggregate content across site collections, heck even across farms or websites.
- The RSS webpart will use your credentials (the user logged into the browser), to read the contents specified. CleanRSS.aspx will understand those credentails. This has 2 awesome positive points:
- Users don't see content they don't have access to.
- There is a binary flag in the RSS generated called "IsEditable". It's set to true, if the logged in user, can edit the specfied List Item. So now you can trap that in your XSLT, and provide an EDIT button RIGHT THERE on the UI. So non-confusing for the end user. Users that don't have edit rights, won't see the Edit button. NEAT!
The combination here is incredibly powerful. Some of the use cases are described in my blogpost - interesting use cases for SPRSS .
Here are the upcoming enhancements in SPRSS:
1. The RSSWebPart needs some more work. Specifically, a max # of items to view, caching, memory usage etc.
2. I'd like to add a silverlight front end as well - as long as I can figure out a way to do 100% flexible rendering that users can specify at runtime, say using XAML.
3. I'd like to create a CAML2RSS.aspx as well. Thus, you can query data on a SharePoint site/web/farm, and show those results via this.
4. Finally, a Search2RSS.aspx would be nice as well.
Don't be a freeloader:
The project is on codeplex. If you're interested in contributing to any of the above, please contact me.