Read Feeds with Ease in Beta 3

IE7 Beta 3 is here!  We’ve snuck in some goodies in the feed reading user experience based on your Beta 2 feedback (keep the comments coming!).  We are feature-complete for feed reading  in IE7, but we’re still looking for feedback to make tweaks and fixes for the final release.  If you run into issues with Beta 3, don’t hesitate in sending us your feedback.  Here are some of improvements since Beta 3.


Refresh All Feeds – Throughout the day, the download engine is refreshing your feeds.  However, when you’re ready to plow through all of your feeds, you probably want to make sure all of your feeds have the absolute latest info. This is feedback we’ve gotten from several beta users:

Airex: Nice Feature, but how can I, for example, refresh all subscriptions in OneClick?

TravisP: The feeds section definitely requires a sync or refresh function for the entire tree. I have over 50 feeds in my tree that requires each one to be right clicked on and refreshed.

Gert Van Waelvelde: I think a "check all feeds now" button would be very useful. When I turn on my computer I like to get all the latest news and latest blog posts immediately, rather than having to wait until the feeds are synchronized automatically. Also, when I'm about to turn my computer off, I like to know whether there are any new news items or blog posts that I should read urgently. A "check all feeds now" button would make this possible.

We’ve added a way for you to refresh all the feeds from the context menu from any feed or folder in the Feed List Pane.


Control Marking a Feed as Read – The feed reading model in IE is light-weight, and when you select a feed to read, the entire feed is automatically marked as read.  However, there’s a case where you open up a feed to read and realize that you don’t have time to finish reading all the unread items.  Wouldn’t it be nice to save the current feed reading state?

Roger Bonine: There doesn't seem to be any way to set read/unread info, either at the individual post level or the feed level. For instance, if I look at a feed and it only has two posts, I may scroll through the feed and read them both. Then I would mark the entire feed as read. Is this really not possible, or am I missing something?

Matt Ellis: I think the viewed model makes sense for the IE user - it's the least interaction, and it's the majority case that the user will want to mark all items as read when they view the page. The problem arises when I use the common feed from a more traditional aggregator where I have more fine grained control over my feed items. If I happen to browse to my feed in IE, IE will trounce over all my settings in my aggregator.

Now you can.   We’ve made 2 improvements to control how you mark a feed as read.  For feeds that have unread items, there’s a new control that appears “Mark feed as read.” 

If a feed has this control checked, when you navigate away from the feed (open a new link within the same tab, close the tab, etc.) the feed is marked as read.  To keep the current feed items in the unread state, just uncheck this control.

If you prefer to keep to manage when to mark a feed as read, you can change the default setting of this control through the Feed Settings dialog (Tools | Internet Options > Content > Feed Settings button) so that the “Mark feed as read” control is always unchecked.


Keyboard Shortcuts – In the past, we haven’t made it very easy to discover the keyboards shortcuts.  Aaron’s posted some useful keyboard shortcuts for IE7, and we’ve added them in the tooltip for the top-level buttons on the frame in Beta 3.  Here are the ones that we’ve added for Feed Reading:

  • Alt + J for Feed Discovery Button – Opens the menu of the discovered feeds on a webpage
  • Ctrl + J for Feed List Pane – Opens the Feed List Pane in the Favorites Center in a menu mode
  • Ctrl + Shift + J for Feed List Pane – Opens the Feed List Pane in the Favorites Center in the docked mode
  • Alt + S for Text Search – Puts the focus in the search box in the Feed Reading View
  • Alt + I for All Items – Displays all of the feed items in the Feed Reading View
  • Alt + M for Mark as Read – Toggles the Mark as Read control in the Feed Reading View

Here’s a pattern to go through all of your unread feeds:

  1. Ctrl + J to open the Feed List Pane
  2. Down arrow to find the next unread feed (a feed is bolded if there are unread items),  Right arrow to expand a folder, and Enter to select a feed to read
  3. Space to scroll through the feed to the end.  By default, we filter the Feed Reading View to unread items unless it is a list feed.
  4. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to get to the next unread feed

We hope you enjoy these improvements!   We look forward to hearing what you think.

- Jane