December 2010 Blog Posts

A couple of weeks ago I hinted that we had an unannounced Windows Home Server Add-In in development. It’s time to let this particular cat out of this particular bag, and start a new closed beta.

Feedsource for Windows Home Server is an Add-In that publishes authenticated Really Simple Syndication (“RSS”) feeds for your Shared Folders through the Remote Access web site. Authorized users access Feedsource RSS feeds from inside or outside your home network, using any RSS reader that supports authenticated feeds, to view the latest changes in your Shared Folders.

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Key features:

  • Authenticated RSS feeds for Shared Folders that show create, delete, rename, and change events for files and directories
  • Automatic integration with the Remote Access web site to view feeds from outside your network with no extra port-forwarding or configuration
  • Simple setup through the Windows Home Server Console
  • Secure authentication and authorization using SSL and existing Windows Home Server access controls

Developing Feedsource has been one of those great experiences where the idea is simple and the functionality is immediately useful to everyone in the household. I’m hoping my Google-fu didn’t fail me, because I’m very surprised that no one (including me; all credit for the idea goes to my wife) thought of this for Windows Home Server sooner!

Some examples of the cool possibilities we see for Feedsource feeds:

  • Automatically notify your whole family when a new movie is ripped to the server, instead of tracking them all down one by one and telling them
  • Use the feed for the “Videos” share as a “still to watch” list
  • Know when your kids save their homework to the server for you to review when you’re away on business
  • Let everyone know when you add another set of pictures to your baby album

We’ve been using Feedsource in our network for a couple of months now, and it really reduces cognitive load if you consume a lot of media. I just finished ripping all seven seasons of Buffy from DVD to MKV, and I’m using the “Videos” Feedsource feed to keep track of which episode we’re up to.

If you can think of other nifty ways to use RSS feeds for your Shared Folders, drop them into the comments below; I’m sure there are lots more we haven’t thought about yet!

If you’re interested in participating in the initial closed CTP, please get in touch (be sure to include the name and version number of the RSS reader you plan to use). We’re looking for testers who are just as excited about Feedsource as we are, and who want to contribute to making Feedsource as awesome as it can be.

We’re expecting this to be a short test, and we hope to get a public release out before Christmas. Feedsource will be available as a fully-featured 30-day trial (just like our other Add-Ins), and will retail for US$10.

We’ve sent out copies of Feedsource to some of the major Windows Home Server community sites, and the preview articles are starting to arrive:

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