Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Outlook 2007 and RSS

One of the touted features of Outlook 2007 is its support for RSS. I use Outlook a lot at work, and I read a lot of RSS feeds. So I should be a fan of this feature, right?

Well, no. I only use Outlook for work email. Most of my personal email is on GMail. I don't need no stinkin' client for that, just a web browser. I do have a Yahoo Small Biz account I use occasionally, too. I used to use Thunderbird for it, but I mostly use Yahoo Mail for it these days.

However, my RSS consumption is personal. I don't want to boot up my work email just to read it. So I have not used RSS with Outlook. Until today that is.

Like a lot of folks out there, my company uses Atlassian's Jira and Wiki products. One of the great features they have is an RSS feed builder. I can create a query in Jira and turn it into an RSS feed. I can get RSS feeds for various parts of our Wiki. Then I can subscribe to these feeds in Outlook. It's a perfect use for Outlook's RSS abilities -- subscribing to internal RSS feeds. These feeds aren't available outside of our corporate firewall, but I would only fire up Outlook inside that firewall anyways.

Now anytime a comment is added to a Jira task assigned to me, I get it as an RSS item. Anytime a discussion on the Wiki gets modified (or a new one added), I get it as RSS. It turns out that Outlook's RSS reader is pretty decent, at least so far. Plus my feeds are stored on our Exchange server. I'm not sure if the feed polling is being done by Outlook or Exchange (it would be most cool if Exchange was doing this,) but either way I can access my feeds through Outlook Web Access. Very nice!

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