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MSN aeronix Alerter

, 11 Oct 2004
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An article on how to generate RSS feeds for MSN Alerts Service

Introduction

This program in brief enables virtually anyone to deliver any kind of content based on any kind of rules he defines to any kind of audience on their msn messenger accounts using msn alerts as well as on other IM software/alerts providers compliant with the RSS feeds.

Background

Basically we rely on a database where you will be storing your alerts, then our class is used to retrieve, process and convert these alerts into RSS format as well as uploading them to your own ftp server exposing the feeds for use by any alerts Consuming service. The project is divided into a background service that makes the instance of the class, a front end administration control panel to control the object attributes as well as the standalone class.

This program/demo can fit -with a little bit of customization- any language, time zone or delivered content. It demonstrates a little bit of everything, starting from XML accessing, sharing settings between executables through XML files, reading from any OLEDB, working with datasets, neat manageable interface, writing to System Log, Calling and Stopping System Service, Installing and Uninstalling the whole application, Side by Side CSharp and VB.NET code, Working with DLLs and unmanaged ActiveX Controls, Validation of control contents and a clear object oriented model of the core notifier class. This is still the first version and depending on the feedback returned we shall continue its development. Enhancements to the existing module, purely depend on your requests and comments. So please don't hesitate to write to us

Using the code

Phase I Preparations

And now, to start using this program you need to be sure of:

  1. Make a database with a table called (mAlerts), of three fields (link) of type Text [or equivalent], (title) of type Text [or equivalent] and (time) of type Date/Time [or equivalent]. You can use any OLEDB supported database and you can name it any name. (i.e. ORACLE, MS SQL or MS ACCESS.)
  2. Register with any Web Hosting Provider and make sure it supports the upload, usage and download of XML files. (i.e. http://www.lycos.co.uk)
  3. Register with any MSN Alerts Provider (i.e. http://www.messagecast.net is a good free choice) and point your new account to your new web host address where you want to upload the XML notification file (i.e. http://myhost.com/mynotification.xml).
  4. Prepare your local machine with the basic requirements to run this program:
    1. Microsoft Windows 2000 Pro SP4 or later
    2. Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 or later
    3. Internet well configured Connection permitting FTP transfers
    4. Administrative Privileges for installation of service
    5. Minimum Disk Cost of 50 MB and Memory of 64 MB

Phase II Deployment

Now, you are ready to start alerting your community with all kinds of alerts and by all means.

  • First, Prepare your alerting data, make sure that the time in the time column of the table is defined in the same way as it is intended to be sent to subscribers, also make sure you are choosing the right matching links for each event together with their titles and that all this info is valid.
  • Second, Use the Installer to install the application, the installer is in the (MyServiceSetup) folder in this package.
  • Third, After the product is installed, browse to the installation folder that you chose in the setup and run the (aeronixAlerter.exe) file.
  • Fourth, Connect to the internet and then fill in all fields with their required data and then click on the start button at the bottom, now the service will start.
  • Fifth, Go check your website XML file and see if it was changed, as well as checking your local system log with Event Viewer to see whether the service started or not.
  • Sixth, Give at least 2 or more minutes between each update to your remote XML file so as to let the MSN Alerts Consumer Web Service/Application that you registered with able to sense the changes and send it to your alerts service members.

Phase III Customization

This application is divided into three main parts which you can customize as far as you need:

  1. First Part, the Notification Class (MSNAlerter), you can find it in the (MSNAlerter) folder in this package, this class can do the following for you:
    Read a referenced DataBase, Give it back to you as a DataSet where you can do all kinds of processing before returning that new DataSet to it, it then converts that DataSet to a RSS feed, and upon your parameters it uploads it to your ftp provider. (FTP class acquired from codeproject.com), as well defining the different characteristics of the RSS feed header.
  2. Second Part, the windows service, enabling you to make your objects of the first class in the windows background, away from any accidental interruption, you can stay at work with your service at the background, it comes featured with a timer enabling you to range when you want to access, check and send.
  3. Third Part, Administration front end, it is a sample that eases the setting of all of the above, together with better explaining how the mechanism is going. Simply and easily the same core front end code can be used in a web form, mobile form or any other.

This is a basic application demonstrating how to consumer a database to provide RSS feeds that is in turn consumed by IMs.

Points of Interest

The very interesting part is the usage of OleDB Data Link/Accessor Dialog, it enables you to access any kind of database from your application so far.

History

None to mention Smile | :)

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

amado (Ahmed Hamdy)

United States United States
No Biography provided

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