Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a way for Web sites to make new content—for example on news sites or blogs—available to users. Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 includes features for subscribing to RSS content, reviewing and managing RSS items, and managing subscriptions, called RSS Feeds.
You can provide internal and external RSS Feeds to users. For example, you might want to set up user subscriptions to information about software updates available on an internal server. Users can also individually subscribe to content, such as a news headline service, or change the frequency with which Outlook checks for new content on a site.
You can lock down the settings to customize RSS by using the Outlook Group Policy template (Outlk12.adm). Or you can configure default settings by using the Office Customization Tool (OCT), in which case users can change the settings. The OCT settings are in corresponding locations on the Modify user settings page of the OCT.
The Outlook template and other ADM files can be downloaded from 2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM) on the Microsoft Download Center.
To deploy default RSS Feeds by using Group Policy
- In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).
- Under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Tools | Account Settings\RSS Feeds, double-click Default RSS Feeds.
- Click Enabled.
- Click Show.
- In the Show Contents dialog box, click Add to add a Value Name and Value pair for each subscription.
- In the Add item dialog box, in the Enter the name of the item to be added field, type a name for the RSS subscription.
- In the Enter the value of the item to be added field, type or paste the URL of the RSS Feed. Provide the URL in the format: feed://subscription URL, where feed:// replaces http://. This ensures that the URL is parsed as an RSS XML file by Outlook; for example, feed://www.contoso.com/main/rss.xml.
- Click OK to exit the Add item dialog box.
- To enter another RSS feed, click Add.
- Click OK to exit the Show contents dialog box.
- Click OK.
To configure RSS integration options in Group Policy
- In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm) and go to User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Tools | Account Settings\RSS Feeds.
- Double-click the option that you want to configure. For example, to disallow roaming for subscriptions, double-click Do not roam users’ RSS Feeds.
- Click Enabled.
- Click OK.
The settings you can configure for RSS Feeds in the RSS Subscriptions area are as follows:
Do not roam users’ RSS Feeds
Disable roaming so that RSS Feeds are available only on the client that originally linked them.
Turn off RSS feature
Disable all RSS functionality in Outlook.
Automatically download enclosures
Automatically download enclosures (such as graphics) on RSS posts.
Override published sync interval
Prevent users from overriding the sync interval published by RSS publishers.
Download full text of articles as HTML attachments
Automatically download the full text of RSS posts as HTML attachments on the posts.
Default RSS Feeds
The URLs listed are added to each user’s profile as an RSS Feed.
Synchronize Outlook RSS Feeds with Common Feed List
Automatically subscribe to RSS Feeds that are added in Windows Internet Explorer, and do not sync Outlook RSS Feeds to the Common Feed List (so they would be available in IE).
In addition, you can configure or disable the RSS Folder Home Page in Outlook. This setting is located in User Configuration\Administrative Template\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Folder Home Pages for Outlook Special Folders. For more information about defining an RSS folder home page, see “Creating a custom RSS folder home page” in the RSS folder home pages later in this topic.
More information about configuring RSS
More information about RSS and RSS configuration options is included in the following sections.
RSS is a way to notify people that there is new information on a Web site. By signing up for Web content that has been syndicated by using RSS, people can browse through a list of new content. Typically, they can click on a URL (included with most entries) to go to a corresponding page on the Web site for details. For example, a news site might use RSS to syndicate headlines. Users who subscribe to the service on that news site receive an e-mail message regularly with the latest headlines. The frequency of RSS updates can be set by the user, but precedence is given to limits set by a provider on how frequently a subscriber can request updates from their site. This helps avoid overloading the provider’s server with excessive update requests.
To create RSS syndication on a Web site, the owner of the content creates an RSS file that follows a standardized XML-based format. The file lists items such as news headlines or Web log entries. In the RSS file, the content is encoded so that it can be read by a news aggregator or news reader program—for example, by using the RSS features in Office Outlook 2007. Using news reader programs, users can scan through headlines or other content from the Web sites they have subscribed to, allowing them to review updates from many aggregated Web sites at once.
Disable RSS integration
You can disable RSS integration in Outlook, if, for example, you are concerned about bandwidth usage and want to delay introducing RSS integration. By default, RSS integration is enabled.
When you disable RSS integration, the RSS Subscriptions root folder does not appear in the folder hierarchy in the Outlook navigation pane, and the RSS Subscriptions tab does not appear in the Outlook Account Manager dialog box.
Provide RSS Feeds to users
Users can subscribe to RSS Feeds, and you can provide internal and external RSS Feeds to users. For example, you might want to set up user subscriptions to information about new software updates available on an internal server.
You can deploy RSS Feeds as default subscriptions that users can change or delete. Or, you can lock down RSS Feeds so that users cannot make changes or remove them.
By default, there are no RSS Feeds, and users can add and remove their own new RSS Feeds.
You specify RSS Feeds by entering in Group Policy a name for a feed, paired with the corresponding URL. The name that you enter is for your reference; users see the name of the RSS Feed given by the RSS provider.
Customize the RSS synchronization interval
Outlook sets the synchronization interval so that each RSS feed is updated at the feed publisher’s recommended interval. Users can override the default interval unless you disallow that option. However, if users use a short interval, it can cause performance problems. You can enforce the use of the publishers’ update intervals, so users cannot change them. This setting is used for all RSS Feeds; you cannot set this option differently for different RSS Feeds.
Disable RSS roaming
By default, RSS Feeds roam with users from one computer to another. You can prevent this by setting an option in the Office Customization Tool or by using Group Policy. This setting is used for all RSS Feeds; you cannot set this option differently for different Feeds.
RSS folder home pages
The RSS folder home page is set by default to a page listing an introductory group of RSS Feeds. You can change this to use another home page on which you include your own list of RSS Feeds, or you can disable the home page feature for the RSS folder.
Creating a custom RSS folder home page
You can use the default RSS folder home page provided with Office Outlook 2007 , or you can create one tailored to your organization. Whether you use the default home page or provide a custom one, users must be connected to the network to view the home page. With both default and custom RSS home pages, you can take steps to ensure that the offline experience is not confusing to your users.
When users are offline and switch to the RSS folder, an error message appears, stating that the page is not found. For users to have a good offline experience, Outlook displays a message explaining the problem instead of simply returning the standard “Page not found” error when it determines that a folder home page is being loaded.
When users are offline, there are two requirements for Outlook to display the explanatory message instead of a standard error:
- A string must be included at the end of the title on the page used for the folder home page.
- The folder must be created with a new Outlook folder type.
To meet the first requirement, you add the following string to the end of the title of the custom RSS home page you create: (Outlook Homepage). The string and anything after that string is not displayed in the title of the page. When a user is offline, the explanatory message is displayed. When a user is online, the folder home page is displayed with the string removed so users do not see the string in the title.
The second requirement—a new Outlook folder type—ensures that the explanatory message for the RSS folder home page is not displayed for other folder home pages when users are offline. The standard Outlook folder type is IPM.Folder. The new folder type for RSS folders is IPM.Folder.OutlookHomepage.