Microsoft Start supports Articles, Galleries, Audio, and Video. Microsoft Start only supports HTTPS feed sources. Using TLS/SSL is highly recommended. Links containing usernames or passwords in the resource or parameters will be rejected. IP whitelisting is not supported and Microsoft Start cannot provide static IPs.
Articles are posts consisting of text, images, and videos. Articles are not required to have images, but only articles that include images can be auto-published.
Galleries are slideshows consisting of images and captions. Galleries must have embedded images to be published.
Audio posts are expected to consist entirely of a link to an audio file hosted on your site. Microsoft Start does not support rehosting audio files at this time.
Supported Audio Codecs
AC-3, AAC (AAC-LC, HE-AAC v1 with AAC-LC core, and HE-AAC v2 with AAC-LC core), MP3, WMA
Videos can be posted on their own or included in articles. A video post ingested from your feed will be rehosted on Microsoft Start, while a video hosted on a third-party site such as YouTube or DailyMotion will be embedded via that site’s hosting.
Videos hosted on Microsoft Start will generate multiple bitrates for multi-device transcoding and adaptive streaming.
Supported Video Container Formats
AVI, MPEG, MP4, WMV
Supported Video Codecs
H.264, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 v2, VC1, WMV, DV (DVC, DVHD, DVSD, DVSL)
Videos are recommended to be at least 720p, 3Mbps. Maximum video file size is 2GB.
NOTE: Upscaling is not supported, so high video file quality is recommended.
Images cannot be posts on their own. They must be embedded into an article or gallery, or attached to a video post as a thumbnail.
Supported Image Formats
PNG, JPG, GIF, WebP
NOTE: GIF cannot be used as promotional picture.
Images must be at least 150x150 px, but it is recommended that images be at least 720px in height or width. The maximum image filesize is 15MB. Images can be any aspect ratio, but may not display correctly if the ratio is less than .5 or greater than 1.89.
Thumbnail images can have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 4:3. An image size of 1920x1080 px is recommended. Progressive JPEGs are not supported.
Posts of all types may have related links at the bottom of the content. Related links must have a link location, display text, and thumbnail to appear.
Microsoft Start supports embeds from:
- Google Maps
Microsoft Start recommends using the default embed code provided by the source site. Click here to see examples of embed code for common social media sites.
Microsoft Start feeds must be configured through the Feed Management Tool or handled by the Partner Support team. The Feed Evaluation Wizard and other tools collect metadata during the feed evaluation process. This means the feed source document itself is not required to have feed-level metadata, because this information has already been collected by Microsoft Start’s back end.
Feed Metadata Rules
- Publisher must have distribution rights for all content within the feed. If the publisher does not have rights to syndicate some images, they MUST set “HasSyndicationRights” to false.
- All feeds must be fresh and updating regularly before going live.
- Custom mapping is not supported, all fields must be specified as per the given examples.
- Partner endpoints must be static/unchanging where there is no requirement to build any dynamic values such as route segments, query string values and HTTP request header values
- All items in the feed must be in the same single language configured for the feed.
- Encoding is UTF-8 by default unless otherwise specified in the xml tag. Feeds with mixed or encoding will fail to ingest.
- Feeds should not contain any un-escaped illegal characters such as “&”, “<”, “>”, double quotes and single quotes. Items with control characters will fail to ingest.
- Microsoft may strip any links of a primarily promotional nature.
- Publisher contact persons emails must be stored when the publisher’s brand is boarded to use for notifying the content publisher of live site issues such as stale feeds.
Feed Change Detection
Microsoft Start saves resources during ingestion by only processing feeds that have new or updated content. Changes can be flagged in two ways:
Publishers can send a request with an ETag header, which acts like a checksum for the feed contents. The tag will be cached and sent back in the If-None-Match header while requesting the feed.
Content sent with a Last-Modified header will be cached, with subsequent request receiving an If-Modified-Since header. Feed servers will respond with a 304 status code if no changes have been made since the last modified date.
Feed authentication is not required. Publishers can ingest content with nothing more than a feed source URL if they so wish, but Microsoft Start also supports Basic Authentication and OAuth 2.0. Click here to see a chart detailing the feed ingestion process.
Microsoft Start supports basic authentication as specified in RFC 7517. To add basic authentication to your feed, provide:
- Secured Feed URL
To add OAuth 2.0 authentication to your feed, provide:
- Security Token Server URL
- Scope (Optional, used to indicate access level. This value will be sent as-is.)
- Secured Feed URL
Microsoft Start uses UTF-8 encoding by default. You can override this by changing the encoding attribute of the prolog node to a valid encoding value.
Supported Feed Formats
Microsoft Start supports RSS, ATOM, and some subsets of Media RSS, Dublin Core, and other namespaces detailed in Media RSS.
Microsoft Starts recommend maintaining a feed size of less than 30 fresh items at all times, but you can use ATOM’s Feed Paging feature to enable sliding window ingestion of your feed.
Limits and Error Handling
Maximum feed size is 10MB and maximum image size is 14MB. Microsoft Start automatically triggers an escalation if ingested content is more than three days old. If you have different content age requirements, contact us at PartnerHubSupport@microsoft.com. Microsoft Start re-tries feeds that have errors, but if the errors persist you will be notified to investigate. Microsoft Start automatically turns off content ingestion from feeds that remain in an error state for a prolonged period of time.
Extending Feeds with Namespaces
You can extend feed vocabulary and terms in XML-based feeds along with their recommended prefix. Microsoft Start only recognizes elements and attributes explicitly specified in the listed code examples. Any unsupported namespace will be ignored.