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Add Valuable SharePoint 2013 Collaboration Features by Including Feeds for Blogs and More

In a video training course titled Pull info from a Blog’s RSS feed using SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflow, Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP and MCT demonstrates how to use SharePoint Designer 2013, along with some readily available free-of-charge online resources to add a blog feed to a SharePoint 2013 site.

We think this is an important set of techniques for groups of users to learn, especially where SharePoint 2013 has been implemented as a method of enhancing collaboration. Obviously, empowering users with an ability like the one demonstrated in this video, which can be used, successfully, to pull external, but, nevertheless, important and relevant information into SharePoint automatically makes sense. The fact that the system is built with free of charge tools like SharePoint Designer 2013 makes it that much more compelling for users to spend the 22 mins required to attend to the entire video.

As Asif Rehmani notes, a challenging obstacle to building a working system to pull a blog feed into a SharePoint 2013 site is the fact that the web services options available to the user do not include adding XML to the site. Rather, the web services options permit the addition of information that conforms to the Javascript Object Notation (JSON) protocol. Therefore, it is necessary to find a method of converting the XML data produced by a blog feed into a JSON compliant form.

Fortunately, as Asif Rehmani demonstrates in this video training course, a web site, First Among offers an online converter that translates XML into a form that conforms with JSON. Therefore, with a couple of clicks of a mouse, one can easily obtain data suitable for input to SharePoint 2013 sites in an effort to add timely, late-breaking information from an external blog feed.

But what makes this video even more useful is the fact that the techniques that Asif Rehmani demonstrates afford SharePoint 2013 users an ability to incorporate this external data (which is automatically updated as it changes) into a workflow that can be used to build another process within SharePoint. Certainly empowering SharePoint 2013 users with these computer techniques makes the task of incorporating truly current information into a site that is, in turn, seamlessly updated without required user intervention, a lot less challenging, not to mention much more accessible.

Enhanced accessibility is a lot of what user adoption is about. Therefore, this type of training content can be used, successfully, by SharePoint planners looking to include compelling features into SharePoint that will magnetize user attention, while delivering useful benefits. In the next post to this blog we will look further at how the workflow is assembled that Asif Rehmani uses to build a custom column in SharePoint 2013. This custom column is used to present the data collected from an RSS equipped external web site in SharePoint 2013.

Ira Michael Blonder

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