RSS and Atom on the Developer Network

By: John Kaster

Abstract: You can subscribe to Atom and RSS feeds all over the Developer Network

    News about news feeds

For several years, we've had RSS news feeds that are now on About half a year ago, we added support for automatic discovery of feeds, and also Atom format support, but evidently these improvements are a "stealth" feature many people still haven't noticed. This prompted me to write about our subscription services support.

    Auto discovery of feeds

Many browsers support automatic discovery of XML feed formats. These are specialized headers on the tag markup page that the browsers "discover" to provide a list of bookmarks. We support that for most of the pages on the Developer Network.

We have explicitly tested our feeds with FireFox and Internet Explorer 7. Apple Safari and Opera also support auto discovery of our feeds, and community members have verified our feeds work with those browsers.

    Feed URL patterns

Atom and RSS are very popular content syndication formats. Atom is a more granular and better defined specification, and is gaining more and more popularity. Most sites and tools that support RSS now support Atom as well. I recommend using Atom instead of RSS if are able to choose between the two. OPML is an XML outlining format we support for categorization of our feeds.

Where we support multiple localized content (such as on, the feeds follow the same rules as our article selection filter.

Some examples of supported feed URLs are:


Atom is our "standard" feed format for list exchange among Developer Network applications due to its superior information content and granularity. You can get to atom feeds by adding "/atom" to any page that supports the Atom format. Atom is available with almost all pages on (the Articles system) and (CodeCentral).


RSS format is the original feed syndication format. We provide RSS 2.0 feeds. The selection process and order for the items in our RSS feed is exactly the same as the one we use for Atom. The only difference is in the transformation of the feed format to RSS instead of Atom. Add "/rss" to your feed, and you'll get it the RSS feed.


OPML can be used to organize information into a hierarchy.

OPML still isn't used much, but I see lots of opportunity to leverage it in a variety of ways. You can view OPML by (you guessed it) adding "/opml" to our navigation URLs.

There is a plug-in for FireFox that supports OPML auto discovery.


Our default feed format is currently Atom. You can reach our default feed format by using /feed instead of /atom or /rss in the URL pattern. It currently returns exactly the same content that /atom does, but this may change as content syndication standards evolve.

    Feeds by Category

For articles and the article navigation pages, we provide Atom, RSS and OPML "buttons" that provide the link to each feed format.

Here's how the feed buttons currently appear, at the top right of the Developer Network navigation pages, such as "Navigation" pages are the pages that show a list of entries, rather than a specific article.

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1 Feed buttons on a navigation page

    Feeds for article comments

If there is an article you find particularly interesting, you can subscribe to its feed, which will include notifications of new user comments. These feeds are near the bottom of the article.

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2 Article comment feeds

    Feeds for CodeCentral submissions

The feeds for CodeCentral submissions do not currently include comment tracking, but that will be available in the future.

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