I just realized that the current released version of RSS Bandit doesn’t have a working code name based on a character from the X-Men comic book. The previous release was codenamed ShadowCat while the next release is codenamed Phoenix. Since the v1.6.0.x releases have been an interim releases on the road to Phoenix, I’ve decided to give them the codename Jean Grey retroactively. Now, on to the updates.

Jean Grey (v1.6.0.x) Update

The last bug fix release of RSS Bandit fixed a few bugs but introduced a couple of even worse bugs [depending on your perspective]. We’ve shipped version that addresses the following issues

  • Application crashes with AccessViolationException on startup on Windows XP.  
  • Application crashes and red 'X' shows in feed subscriptions window on Windows XP.  
  • User's credentials are not used when accessing feeds via a proxy server leading to proxy errors when fetching feeds.  
  • Duplicate feed URLs not detected if they differ by trailing slash or "www." in the host name 
  • Application crashes when displaying an error dialog when a certificate issue is detected with a secure feed.

The first three issues are regressions that were introduced as part of refactoring the code and making it work better on Windows Vista. Yet another data point that shows that you can never have too many unit tests and that beta testing isn’t a bad idea either.

You can download the new release from http://downloads.sourceforge.net/rssbandit/RssBandit1.6.0.2_Installer.zip

Phoenix (v2.0)  Update

I’m continuing with my plan to make RSS Bandit a desktop client for Web based feed readers like NewsGator Online and Google Reader. I’ve been slightly sidetracked by the realization that it would be pretty poor form for a Microsoft employee to write an application that synchronized with Google’s RSS reader but not any of Microsoft’s, even if it is a side project. My current coding project is to integrate with the Windows RSS platform which would allow one to manipulate the same set of feeds in RSS Bandit, Internet Explorer 7 and Outlook 2007. The good news is that with Outlook 2007 integration, you also get Exchange synchronization for free.

The bad news has been having to use the RSS reading features of Internet Explorer 7 and Outlook 2007 on a regular basis as a way of eating my own dog food with regards to the integration features. It’s pretty stunning to see not one but two RSS reading applications that assume “mark all items as read” or “delete all feeds” are actions that users never have to take. When you have people writing shell scripts to perform basic tasks in your application then it is a clear sign that somewhere along the line, the user experience for that particular set of features got the shaft. 

I’m about half way through the integration after which I’ll continue with integrating with Google Reader and finally NewsGator Online using an Outlook + Exchange style model. While I’m working on this, both Oren and Torsten will be mapping out the rewrite of the graphical user interface using WPF. I’ll probably need to buy a book on XAML or something in the next few months so I can contribute to this effort. The only thing I’ve heard about any of the various books about the subject on the market is that they all seem to have had their forewords written by Don Box. Does anyone have recommendations on which book or website I should use to start learning XAML + WPF?

Now playing: Eminem - Sing For The Moment


Categories: RSS Bandit | Syndication Technology
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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:56:19 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Yeah, go grab Adam Nathan's book, WPF Unleashed. Besides the fact that it has widely been considered better than Petzold's book on the subject, it also has the added benefits that:
1. The author is an insanely nice guy.
2. He's a Microsoft FTE, and easy to poke with questions.

We worked together for about a year before I left MS, and I couldn't have been happier with him.
Saturday, February 9, 2008 10:51:52 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Just another recommendation for WPF Unleashed by Adam Nathan, nothing else.
Saturday, February 9, 2008 11:09:41 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Adam Nathan's book is the way to go.
Saturday, February 9, 2008 1:18:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I have three WPF books at the moment, Adam Nathan's "WPF Unleashed" [Unleashed], Chris Anderson's "Essential WPF" [Essential] and Charles Petzold's "Applications = Code + Markup" [Apps].

I found Essential gave the best introduction to WPF clearly explaining lots of the hows and whys of the underlying architecture and design. Unleashed was the best at covering simple visual and composition stuff, especially in Xaml. Apps gives the best coverage from a code perspective, and shows you the how of things from both points of view. Unleashed in easy reading, Essential more serious and Apps can be quite dense.

I now refer mostly to Unleashed and Apps, Essential less so. I refer to Unleashed first if it something I think should be straightforward, Apps if its something complicated or primarily in code. However I often find that when I want to do something that might not be considered a "standard" scenario I often end up researching through MSDN or the web.

In my opinion all three books give you a different coverage and point of view. Its very difficult to just recommend one. If you are doing mostly straightforward Xaml I would probably say buy Unleashed but try and borrow a copy of Essential as a starter. If you are going to be doing WPF mostly in code I would go for Apps even though it is a more difficult read. I'd still try and read Essential first.

Hope this helps.
Ian Chamberlain
Saturday, February 9, 2008 2:21:16 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hi Dare

Grest to see progress on 2.0. Have you considered making this a Syndicated Client Experiences Application (http://windowsclient.net/wpf/starter-kits/sce.aspx)?
Something that looks like the Times Reader, but has 'mark as read' options and takes the feed from Google Reader and others would be great.

In fact, given that you're working on this, I'm shocked MS haven't got a Google Reader competitor in the works with online and offline reading experiences.

Saturday, February 9, 2008 2:29:20 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hey Dare,

I have to also recommend WTF Unleashed (Sams) ISBN: 0-672-32891-7.

It's good to see you are continuing to build the product.

Joe Feser
Xml MVP :)
Joe Feser
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