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New sources of info for .NET developers.

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Did you know that Microsoft has launched a set of RSS feeds for various topics concerning development in the .NET environment? These feeds provide regularly updated news, information, tips, technical details, and much more timely information about updates, patches, fixes, and so forth, and hence can keep you well informed of new developments on the <ahem> development front.

To understand what this really means, a bit of explanation about RSS is in order. RSS is an XML vocabulary (a markup language or application framework of sort). It started life as the RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary, changed to Rich Site Summary, and is now generally decoded as Really Simple Syndication. Though the interpretation of the acronym may have changed several times, the basic function of RSS has remained the same: a way to describe dynamic updates to content so that clearinghouses or directories can register that content, so that clients can interact with such directories to find out when new content, updates, or whatever, becomes available. This XML vocabulary does not work with a normal Web browser; either an RSS add-on or a separate RSS reader is required. Because of the similarity with NNTP-based newsfeeds, many standard newsreaders now include RSS access capability, but separate RSS readers are also available; for more details see my recent XML tip.

The Microsoft Software Developer Network (MDSN) now offers RSS feeds that anyone with an RSS client can use to keep up with news, information, resources, downloads, and more. Microsoft's new Visual Studio and .NET feeds include the following:

  • MSDN Just Published: An ongoing feed for all new technical articles, columns, specifications, resources, downloads, and so forth published through MSDN. This includes an astonishing collection of tutorials, videos, articles, and how-tos.
  • Visual Studio: developer news and information, programming tutorials and how-tos, code review and security enhancement techniques, plus on-line hands-on labs, and more.
  • Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++: technical updates for developers, Dr. GUI introductions, chat transcripts with leading developers and instructors, and more.
  • .NET Framework & CLR: news and information on the framework and the common language runtime, plus Dr. GUI intros, tutorials, how-tos, language extensions, and more.
  • Web Services: news and information about Microsoft Web services, tutorials, features updates, interoperability and migration issues, plus online hands-on labs.

To inspect out this constant flow of information, grab an RSS reader and point it at one or more of the foregoing URLs and start keeping up!

Ed Tittel is a principal at LANWrights, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of, where he writes and teaches on a variety of subjects, including markup languages, development tools, and IT certifications. Contact Ed via e-mail at

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