Creating an RSS 2.0 feed with .NET

How to create an RSS2.0 feed using .NET

Rather than post another article about setting up and using third party tools with .NET MVC, I thought I would take a slightly different approach this time and write a Programming with .NET article based on something I have had to do whilst creating the previous incantation of Jambr.

I had the requirement to create an RSS feed for both the Articles and News sections of the site so you lovely readers could subscribe to either of them, I haven't actually had to create RSS feeds before so had to do some digging to find the best route to go down. I read numerous programming articles on line and compiled a simple class which enables me to create an RSS2.0 compliant feed, as seen here.


Rather than putting all 237 lines of code in here I have uploaded the class for you, you can download it from here. Just pop it into your project and use it like this:

  • Firstly you need to create an instance of the object (apologies if I'm teaching you to suck eggs!):
    Dim rssfeed As New RSSFeed()
  • Next, you need to create the channel. RSS2.0 feeds can only have one channel so you're only able to call this method once
rssfeed.CreateChannel("Jambr - News"
"Jambr News",
  • And now, you add your items. Obviously you need to loop through the objects you want in your feed and add them, but we'll add just one example here:
rssfeed.WriteRSSItem("This is an item",
"This is the description",
  • Finally, after you've added your items you can return the string of the XML document. I'm coding around .NET MVC 4 so as a result I return the XML document to the user like this: Return Content(rssfeed.ToString, "text/xml")

It is worth noting that I have included additional parameters on both the CreateChannel and WriteRSSItem methods which enables you to add Categories (in the context of Jambr, I Tag all articles to enable them to be categorised) and Content (which will be added to the content:encoded tag).

To add category tags, pass them as an array of KeyValuePair(of String, String) objects.
To add the content, pass it as a string.

rssfeed.WriteRSSItem("This is an item",
"This is the description",
"This is the full body of the post",
{New KeyValuePair(Of String, String)("Tag1", "/Articles/?Tag=Tag1")})

A few issues I encountered

There were a few issues I encountered whilst trying to ensure the feed was RSS 2.0 compliant which are sorted in this code, for example:

  1. Date Times needed to be in the correct format (Sat, 07 Sep 2002 9:42:31 GMT), luckily .ToString("r") on a datetime object handles that.
  2. Adding custom namespaces to the root rss element of the document, and then actually enabling me to write tags which reference that namespace. for example <dc:creator> tags

I hope that helps! Any questions, please ask.