Atom Control Panel for Windows

(Alternate name?: AtomEnabled Control Panel) [AnilDash]


The Atom Control Panel is meant to manage AtomEnabled content publishing and syndication on Windows systems, preventing or minimizing application contention for Atom formats and giving developers a consistent way to set and retrieve Atom configuration information for the user's operating environment.

Applications or web services which can consume Atom feeds will register with the control panel so that users are able to easily decide which aggregator or syndication client is their preferred Atom client. Applications or web services which support the AtomAPI for publishing can list their publishing URLs and names in the control panel so that all of a user's publishing options can be easily enumerated.

User Interface:

Atom Control Panel should consist primarily of a single modeless dialog box with standard "OK" and "Cancel" buttons, a dropdown box for selected a preferred AtomEnabled syndication/feed client, an entry field for listing registered AtomAPI publishing points, appropriate buttons for editing or deleting items from these lists, and a link to the homepage.

Atom Control Panel should conform to all appropriate guidelines from the Microsoft Official Guidelines for user Interface Developers and Designers. ( Atom Control panel should prominently feature the AtomEnabled logo and branding, when finalized.

Syndication Functionality:

The Atom Control Panel becomes the default associated application for the .atom file extension, application/atom+xml MIME type, and/or whatever file standard is agreed upon for the Atom 1.0 feed format. Upon access of a feed, either locally or in a browser, the Control Panel is invoked and passes the feed URL or local path to the user's chosen default Atom reading application.

Upon installation/initial execution and whenever invoked, the Atom Control Panel should query for the presence of an AtomEnabled registry key in the system registry, and create the key if necessary. This AtomEnabled registry key will provide a location for AtomEnabled tool vendors to list their AtomEnabled application, the application publisher's name, the application's display name, the executable path (if applicable), the URL for handling Atom feeds (if applicable), and a brief description of the application.

Every AtomEnabled application on a system will be required to add its data to the AtomEnabled key, enabling its listing in the Control Panel. Users will be able to choose from a drop-down list of AtomEnabled applications by navigating to their preferred option in the Control Panel and clicking "OK". Applications are forbidden from associating with the Atom file type/MIME type, but may configure themselves as the selected default if no default is chosen or no other applications are registered with the Control Panel at the time of installation.

Registering with the Control Panel is possible for desktop applications, which can use an executable path or DDE message to handle Atom feeds, and for web-based applications, which can provide users with the appropriate registry files to enable the passing of Atom feed URLs to a handler URL.

API Functionality:

Atom Control Panel provides a registry key for AtomEnabled publishing services to store the URL for their Atom interfaces, service name, and brief description. Each registered service's information is displayed in a list in the Atom Control Panel, with an option for setting a default publishing service. NOTE: It is NOT mandatory that there be a default publishing service, a user may elect to have no default and applications must gracefully handle the absence of a default publishing point. Publishing services may register as the default service if no other applications are registered with the Control Panel at the time of installation. Services must NOT store any information about user authentication in the Control Panel registry key.

Atom publishing applications on a user's system will be able to query the Control Panel's registry key to enumerate all available publishing services, and should default to selecting the default publishing point if one exists. Applications can choose whether to offer the ability to store user authentication information, and must ignore any such information if stored in the Control Panel registry key.


Atom Control Panel must be installed with any AtomEnabled application, and can be electively downloaded by users from the site. Installation programs should make appropriate verification for version numbers updating the control panel. Creation and registration of application-specific Atom Control Panel registry keys should be managed by the individual application's installation program. By default, the Control Panel alone will only create blank registry keys for the syndication and API functions.


Atom Control Panel must be open source and published under a license that allows completely unencumbered distribution with commercial and non-commerical applications. Recommendation: Atom Control Panel be published in the Public Domain, avoiding contentious legal/philosophical licensing debates.

[DeveloperDude] - I think it would be better if this was a MMC application. Control Panel applets are kinda old mode. Also, this sounds more like an application, then a specification. I'd let the developer community handle this outside of the Atom framework.

[AnilDash] Disagree. Regular end users have never even seen an MMC app. Old mode or not, that's their expectation. (Think of the QuickTime control panel.) It may well be something that should come from the outside developer community, but let's prompt the discussion and encourage some technical challenges for people who want to help but don't know what to do.