Sitecore RSS Syndication and the EviBlog Module
Monday, March 08, 2010 9:31 AM
Mark van Aalst’s EviBlog shared source module takes advantage of the new RSS feed features added to Sitecore in version 6.2, but if you haven’t set that up yet (I hadn’t!) then you may be wondering how to make it work. It’s actually quite simple!
In Content Editor, navigate in the tree to where you want your RSS feed URL to live. Add a content item using the /System/Feeds/RSS Feed data template and name it as you want it to appear in the URL. In my case, I wanted all of my site’s RSS feeds to have URLs such as http://www.kevinwilliams.name:8001/RSS/BlogName.aspx so I created a folder named RSS and created an RSS Feed matching my blog name (in this example, I used “TestBlog”). Heres a screenshot:
When setting up a Sitecore 6.2 RSS feed, the “Items” field defines what items will be included in the feed. You can either use a Sitecore query ( like query:/sitecore/content/Home/TestBlog/*[@@templatekey=‘blogentry’] ) or simply provide the path to an item whose children should be included in the feed like I did above. Enter a title and description for your blog, and that’s it! EviBlog is already configured with the proper Feed device settings for Sitecore 6.2, so this should be all you have to do. Publish changes and hit your URL to see the RSS feed for your blog! My test one is at http://www.kevinwilliams.name:8001/RSS/TestBlog.aspx.
Something that doesn’t come with EviBlog, but I wanted to add to my site was a “Subscribe via RSS” link on my blog page. To do this, I created a new XSLT Rendering called “RSS Link” and gave it a parameter to control the text that appears like this:
<xsl:param name="Link_Text">Subscribe via RSS</xsl:param>
Then I made the body of the template look like this:
<xsl:template match="*" mode="main">
<img src="/sitecore/shell/Themes/Standard/Custom/16x16/rss.png" alt="RSS Icon" border="0"/>
I want this link to appear in my blog’s sidebar, but the renderings allowed there are restricted. To allow my rendering, I opened the content editor to /sitecore/Layout/Placeholder Settings/phBlogSidebar and added the “RSS Link” rendering to the Allowed Controls.
Lastly, I opened the main blog content item in the page designer, selected the “phBlogSidebar” placeholder, and added my RSS Link rendering. I opened the properties for the rendering and set the Data Source to the RSS feed I created earlier, clicked OK, and clicked Save in the designer. The “Subscribe via RSS” link now appears in my blog’s sidebar!
The only thing left to do would be add support for auto-discovery of my RSS feed (for aggregators like Google Reader). It’s rather simple ( there is an article about it here: http://www.petefreitag.com/item/384.cfm ), but requires inserting some HTML into your page’s <head> tag. One idea for doing this would be to re-implement the above RSS Link rendering as a sublayout instead and then add the HTML to Page.Header.Controls in the ASCX file’s Page_Load() or something. I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader. :)
EviBlog makes good use of Sitecore 6.2’s new RSS feeds feature and therefore it is very easy to add RSS to your blog. If you’d like more information about the new RSS feed functionality in Sitecore, take a look at the Presentation Component Cookbook on SDN or feel free to contact me if you need any help!