Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sara Ford has been publishing a great series of Visual Studio 2008 tips of the day, since July 2007.

I have given a couple of Visual Studio tips'n'tricks talks lately, and have recommended to the audience that they should go back to the beginning of the series and read her tips from the start.

If the thought of reading over a years worth of daily posts in a web browser scares you, I have assembled a Yahoo Pipe that grabs posts from 410 days ago and sends them out in an RSS feed, just like it was July 2007:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/cpkirk/saraford410

Each day you'll get the most recent posts from 410 days ago showing up in your feed reader.

Click the above link, and choose one of the options to add it to your feed reader, or you can even subscribe to email alerts each time there is new content (well, actually it's 410 day old content masquerading as new content).

Yahoo Pipes

Yahoo Pipes are pretty cool, they let you do transformations on a bunch of different types of data sources, and then re-expose them as a new feed.

In this case I have used an RSS feed from a Google blog search, as they allow you to search for posts on a given site and return all the results Google has cached. In Sara's case, Google will return 368 posts whereas her own feed only gives the most recent 15.

The pipe just builds up the right query string for Google, and then passes the url to the feed fetcher. The source is visible when you visit the pipe, although I have to admit that it's pretty simple and you could probably figure it out yourself :)

Blog series

It's interesting when you try to join part-way through a long running series on someone's blog.

The newest post at the top of their site (and your feed reader) is halfway through the series, so you have to scroll or read through the archives to get the earlier posts.

I often find when I stumble across "Part 7 of 11" blog posts that entering late puts me off subscribing to that blog, because of the weight of having to read so much to catch up so I can join the conversation.

Perhaps having a "Subscribe to this series from the beginning" link using a similar trickle fed time shifted approach would help people overcome that?

Irony

It did feel a little like having 10,000 spoons when all I needed was a knife to use a Yahoo beta product to pull data from a Google search to send people to a Microsoft employee's blog posts. Ain't the internet great!

Many thanks to Sara for the great series.

Kirk

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