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Use a Workflow to Publish External Blog Content to a Custom List in SharePoint 2013

This is a second post in our current series of commentary on a new video training course, Pull info from a Blog’s RSS feed using SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflow.

The method of building a custom list to display external content in SharePoint 2013 from an RSS feed is to build a workflow with SharePoint Designer 2013. As Asif Rehmani demonstrates in this video, the tool that is to be used to pull the data from an external source equipped with an RSS feed (like a blog) is an action within the workflow, namely a web services call. As we noted in the prior blog post on this topic, the problem is that the content type options for the web services call action do not include XML. In fact the only option is to provide data in a format that conforms to JSON, which is the only data standard that will work in a workflow using a web service action for SharePoint 2013.

Once the data in XML format has been converted to JSON, Asif Rehmani demonstrates how to use a free online JSON viewer to review the structure of the data provided by the feed. The reason why it is helpful to review this data structure is that the viewer exposes key text strings (for example, the title of a blog post), which can then be added to the correct columns in our custom list which will be built, automatically, by the workflow. It should be noted that the web service action is configured as an HTTP GET.

Part of the magic that Asif Rehmani demonstrates in this video amounts to adding the URL for the free-of-charge XML to JSON translation service into the workflow action as the actual web service URL. When the syntax of the URL address string is reviewed, it is clear where the actual address of the RSS FEED (meaning the data in XML format, which is to be translated into JSON) is located. With that syntax in mind, Asif Rehmani demonstrates how to use the String Builder dialog box included in the configuration for the web service action to set up a dynamic process, which will ensure that up to date data from any RSS compliant source will be returned and populated to the custom list, as required.

We will continue to look at how Asif Rehmani builds this workflow in the next post to this blog.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved