More Lessons on Web Slices – opportunities with The Button

Well, I’m on a family trip today, but I had time to check out my teammate Taylor Cowan’s post on IE8 Webslices: Frequent Title Text Updates. It’s an excellent post that talks about a capability that we web slice developers sometimes forget - changing the button title after subscription. Yes, that’s really possible. Actually, it’s possible to change almost any of the data in the feeds data. It’s another reason why I prefer and recommend the 3 page pattern.

Another Thought on The Button Title

One other big fact about changing the button title – because this is part of the subscription / feed data, changing the title will make the button light up upon the next feeds check.

Testing Slice Updates and Making the Button Light Up

As you know, testing the button in the realistic visual way can be challenging. Most of us will change the update / synchronization data, set the TTL value to the minimum amount of 15 minutes, subscribe to the web slice, and then wait it out. This can be a tiresome and frustrating experience.

To top this, if you’re an evangelist and pushing web slices on a regular basis, it’s REALLY important to show the web slice button light up, maybe even a couple of times in a 60 second period – so a potential IE8 partner understands the significance of web slice update notification and why it creates customer loyalty.

Well, here’s a couple of tips for you!

  • The IE8 engineers certainly experienced the same thing and made a way to force an update check. You simply right-click the web slice button, choose Refresh, and then IE8 has the Feeds System do a check on the update source, and if the underlying data has changed makes the button light up and text go bold.  As I’ve pointed out before, the update source will be the discovery page or if existing the update page. SIDE NOTE – some folks think changing the underlying content of the display page will make the button light up. Sorry. The data stored in the feeds system comes from the update page (if using Alternate Update or the 3 page pattern) or from the internal content of the web slice (if using the 1 page or 2 page patterns).


  • Now, if you are building a web slice for demonstration purposes with no real CMS backing, then here’s another tip for faster testing: write your update logic so that the data is changing on every update check. For example, in ASP.NET, I put some code in the Page Load event to change something on the update page – or even the button title (considering Taylor’s blog post above).  Combining this with the previous point, you can demo light up the button as fast as you can refresh the button.


Hope this helps someone. Would love to hear your feedback on this.

Back to vacation.