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Shortening the descriptions output to feed

Feb 11, 2008 at 10:02 PM
Is there any way of shortening or summarising the post descriptions that are sent to the syndication feed - much like the "only show description of posts" setting does when showing the posts on the blog site pages ?
The "only show description of posts" setting has no effect on feed output. But anyway it wouldn't help me because i want to show full posts on the site. I just want shortened descriptions output on the feed so that they can be aggregated and shown on other sites in a brief form with a link to go to the main blog to read the whole post.
One other idea would be to output the "description" field of the "add entry" form as a separate XML element called perhaps "summary" in the syndication feed.
Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks for all the good work

Feb 11, 2008 at 11:34 PM
Hi Richard,

Agreed, more 'show description only' BE.NET functionality would come in handy (including distinction per category level for example).

The only suggestion I can give you is using the 'summary burner' feature from

On an unfortunate side note: FeedBurner won't use your description field, but just the first 200 characters from your post.
(You can configure the amount of characters in FeedBurner though)

Could you use this suggestion?

Cheers, Mike
Feb 14, 2008 at 12:38 PM
In the end, i consumed the RSS feed generated by BlogEngine on my site using the RssToolkit provided at

The challenge this presents is to convert full descriptions down to a summary with the tags removed and any leading spaces stripped.
Herewith the code i used which pulls the feed and binds it to a gridview control.

Dim trimchars() As Char = ", vbTab, vbCr, vbLf, ",", ".", ";", ":
'Get the RSS Feed data from Utellus Blog
Dim data As GenericRssChannel = GenericRssChannel.LoadChannel("")
Dim n As Integer = 0
Const Posts As Integer = 3
For Each Item As RssToolkit.GenericRssElement In data.Items
'to see what attributes are available, use Item.Attributes.Keys
'clean up the description
Dim desc = GetTextFromHtml(Item.Attributes("Description"))
Dim desc2 = desc.TrimStart(trimchars)
Dim desc3 = Left(desc2, 120)
Item.Attributes("Description") = desc3 & "..."
Dim pubDate = CDate(Item.Attributes("pubDate"))
Item.Attributes("pubDate") = Format(pubDate, "ddd, dd MMM yyyy")
n += 1
If n >= Posts Then Exit For
BlogGrid.DataSource = data.SelectItems(Posts)

The GridView control is defined as follows in the .aspx page :-
<asp:GridView ID="BlogGrid" runat="server" CellPadding="4"
GridLines="None" AutoGenerateColumns="False" EnableViewState="false" ShowHeader="False">
<asp:TemplateField ItemStyle-CssClass="blogitem">
<p class="title"><a href="<%#Eval("link") %>"><%#Eval("title")%></a></p>
<p style="font-size: 8pt"><%#Eval("pubDate")%></p>
<p class="body"><%#Eval("description")%>

Hope this helps someone.
Feb 19, 2008 at 8:57 AM
Hi Richtheo,

Any chance we can see it live in action? Thanks for sharing your findings!

All the best,
Feb 19, 2008 at 10:48 AM
You can see this in action on the utellus home page at

The site shows a summary of the 3 most recent blogs on the left.

The blog site itself is

Feb 19, 2008 at 1:15 PM
Nice work and that live example shows exactly what I needed myself.

Besides FeedBurner's FeedFlar, the RSSToolkit was the only alternative I'd find as well.
Wish there's an easy, built-in BE.NET way to publish excerts from recent posts.

Especially like a snippet via some wizard/generator in the admin interface where we'd just pick what we want
(like how many characters, from which category and what fields to display).