I was inspired by the IE 8 webslices feature demonstrated in the opening keynote of the South African MIX conference held in Johannesburg this week. So I decided it would be a good test to see how hard it would be to add webslice functionality to www.informationworker.co.za.

What is the result?

We have 2 webslices on the home page, one for the "latest 5 IW blog posts", and one for "upcoming IW events". So now you can let IE 8 keep you updated when either of those slices change. The screen shot below shows the top 5 IW blog posts webslice.

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Not sure what a webslice is? Get a quick introduction on Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8.0 webslice site. Or, just download the developer preview of IE 8.0, visit informationworker.co.za and hover over the blog post area, or events section and click the purple button that appears to add the webslice to IE. Now, whenever the result of those webslice change, IE 8 will notify you by showing the webslice as bold in the browser toolbar. Almost like RSS, but in your face while you are browsing other sites.

What is difficult to implement?

Not really, once I figured out how it actually works. I battled for some time with CSS styles for the webslice window, and eventually figured out that the webslice window doesn't load CSS stylesheets that are referenced relatively i.e. /styles/sheet.css, they need to referenced with their full URL e.g. www.informationworker.co.za/styles/sheet.css (not sure if this is a bug yet or "by design". Also, because the site is built in SharePoint Server 2007, there were some fiddley things I had to do to get the latest 5 IW posts working through a custom styled RSS feed, but more on that another day.

Hope you now stay in touch with IE 8.0 webslices.

Happy Slicing!