Hi! I’m Jane Kim, program manager for RSS in Internet Explorer. Now that Beta 1 of IE 7 for Windows XP and Windows Vista are released, I want to introduce to you to what RSS features that are available in this release.

We also posted this information to the IE blog, for those who don't read both.

IE 7 Beta 1 includes initial support for discovery and reading RSS feeds. In Beta 1, we’re calling them “web feeds.” We’re still actively exploring what is the right name to use for RSS feeds, so if you have any ideas or opinions, please post to comments.

Discovering Web feeds

With previous versions of IE, it’s pretty tough to know when a web page has a web feed available. With IE 7 Beta 1, the header of the web page is scanned to see if the publisher has associated a web feed with that page. If a web feed is found, the web feed button on the toolbar lights up. In addition, the user can configure a sound to play when a feed is found, and the same of list of feeds associated with the page can be found under the Tools menu.

web feed button

Beta 1 of Windows Vista and IE 7 for XP currently supports the web feed formats RSS .9x, RSS 1.0, and RSS 2.0. As Sean mentioned, Atom 0.3 and Atom 1.0 support will come in a later release.

In a later post, I’ll describe how publishers can set up their pages to make this button “light up.”

There are a few settings on the Content tab of the Internet Options control panel (accessible via Tools, Internet Options) that let you turn on and off feed discovery, and make a few tweaks to its behavior.

Basic viewing of a web feed

When you click on a link to a web feed in IE 6 today you’ll see a very colorful, but ultimately not very useful view of the feed. With IE 7, we detect when a page is really a web feed, and we display a view of the feed that’s much easier to read. You can even add the web feed as a favorite for quick access, right from the page.

Here’s a web feed before IE7:

Pre-IE7 Feed

Here’s IE 7 Beta 1:

IE7 Feed

That’s the quick tour through the IE RSS features of Beta 1. For this release, we were laying the groundwork for the additional features to come. There’ll be more in Beta 2, both in IE and with the RSS Platform we talked about at Gnomedex, so keep an eye on the blog for updates.

- Jane