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Damon Serji
Damon Serji,
Silverlight developer working at Metia in London.
Gavin Wignall
Gavin Wignall,
Interactive Design Lead, working in design for over 10 years, the last 3 being in Silverlight.
Allan Muller
Allan Muller,
Developer, working on various types of Silverlight and WCF projects.
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Displaying a RSS feed is a very straight forward task in Silverlight.

In summary: we need to access and download the RSS (XML file) and read it as a single string value, read the downloaded string as XML using XmlReader class, load the XML into a variable of type SyndicationFeed, and finally using a loop extract each node and save it in a desirable variable.

Some of the Silverlight built-in classes used in this example are:

Uri: Takes the URL of the RSS feed
XmlReader: Represents a reader that provides fast, non-cached, forward-only access to XML data” (msdn)
SyndicationFeed: Represents a top-level feed object, <feed> in Atom 1.0 and <rss> in RSS 2.0” (msdn)
WebClient: Receives data from a recource defuned by Uri (in our case a URL to RSS or XML file)

I am going to demonstrate how to read and display a RSS feed (XML file) in three simple steps:

Step 1: Create a custom RSS class
here I am just creating a new public class (RSSItem) for my RSS feed to contain any information I would like to keep for each item in the RSS. This will help to keep my project tidy and my code meaningful. In my RSSItem class I will add as many properties as I need:

public class RSSItem
    #region Properties
    public string RSSTitle {get; set;}
    public string RSSDescription { get; set; }
    public Uri RSSLink { get; set; }

Step 2: Reading the RSS feed in Silverlight
create three private variables for Uri, XmlReader and SyndicationFeed (for this you need to add a new reference in your project to System.ServiceModel.Syndication – do this by right clicking on ‘References’ folder in you Silverlight project and clicking on ‘Add Reference...’)

private Uri rssUri;
private XmlReader xmlReader;
private SyndicationFeed feed;

and don't forget to add the namespaces:

using System.Xml;
using System.ServiceModel.Syndication;

Now, in your constructor or ‘Loaded’ method add the following:

rssUri = new Uri("");
WebClient client = new WebClient();
client.DownloadStringCompleted += new DownloadStringCompletedEventHandler(client_DownloadStringCompleted);

WebClient is another built-in class in Silverlight and is used to open the XML (RSS). Since the operation is done asynchronously the callback method (DownloadStringCompleted) is called after the operation is done.

Step 3: Populate RSS nodes
first, add an ItemsControl in the MainPage.xaml:

<ItemsControl x:Name="RSS" ItemsSource="{Binding}" >
            <HyperlinkButton x:Name="Title" NavigateUri="{Binding RSSLink}"
             Width="305" Margin="0,22,0,15" Foreground="#FF10589F"
             FontSize="12" FontWeight="Bold">
                  <TextBlock Text="{Binding RSSTitle}" TextWrapping="Wrap" />

In the ItemsControl we can bind the required properties from our RSSItem class using {Binding nameOfProperty}.

Now, from our DownloadStringCompleted method in MainPage.xaml.cs we can retrieve the RSS in form of a string. Then, we can create our XmlReader and load it to a SyndicationFeed variable which treats the XML as a 'RSS' and allow us to use its properties:

private void client_DownloadStringCompleted(object sender, DownloadStringCompletedEventArgs e)
    if (e.Error == null)
        int itemsCount = 5;
        xmlReader = XmlReader.Create(new StringReader(e.Result));
        feed = SyndicationFeed.Load(xmlReader);
        List<RSSItem> itemsList = new List<RSSItem>();

        if (feed.Items.Count() < 5)
            itemsCount = feed.Items.Count();

        for (int i = 0; i <= itemsCount; i++)
            RSSItem rssitem = new RSSItem();
            rssitem.RSSTitle = feed.Items.ToList()[i].Title.Text;
            rssitem.RSSLink = feed.Items.ToList()[i].Links[0].Uri;
        RSS.ItemsSource = itemsList;

you will need to add the namespace for the StringReader:

using System.IO;

In the above method from top:

  • check if there are any errors in the result, if not continue
  • set the number of items to read
  • load the XML into a SyndicationFeed variable
  • create a new List of type RSSItem to hold each RSSItem
  • if the number of total RSS items to be found (itemsCount) is greater than the total number of RSS items available then go with the total number of available items
  • search in each node for ‘Title’ and ‘Summary’ (description)
  • add Title and Summary of each RSS item to the variable of type RSSItem class, and finally add the rssitem to the RSSItem list
  • at the end we bind our itemsList to 'RSS' which is an ItemsControl in our XAML page
Posted by Damon Serji on 29. November 2009 14:52 under: Intermediate
 with 6 Comments