Creating a Stanza Catalog with ASP.Net MVC 2.0

Stanza is a book reader for the iPhone/iPad.  One of Stanza’s features is the ability to browse specially formatted book catalogs.  While it has a number of built-in catalogs, you can also add your own.  I have created such a catalog with ASP.Net MVC 2.0 (screenshots).  The Stanza catalog format is pretty simple – just AtomPub with some proprietary attributes for images and things like search.  This was a quick and easy project because the .Net Framework 4.0 has the System.ServiceModel.Syndication namespace which does all the RSS/Atom feed generation.  We just have to add some custom attributes and serialize the feed to the browser.

Here is a quick overview of the code (Links are to the latest version of the source code in my SVN browser.  You can get the project from SVN here (guest/guest).)  The LiteratureCatalog and LiteratureCatalog.Tests projects have the relevant code.

Update: The Stanza catalog format works equally well with Aldiko, an e-reader for Android.

CatalogController.cs:

This is the default controller specified in global.asax.  It defers to MisesFeeds to generate the feed items and to FeedResult to serialize and write out the feed.

Sample Method:

public FeedResult Journal(int journalId)
{
var feeds = new MisesFeeds(Request);
SyndicationFeed feed = feeds.GetJournalFeed(journalId);
 
return new FeedResult(new Atom10FeedFormatter(feed));
}

MisesFeeds.cs

MisesFeed contains all the code to generate a SyndicationFeed object containing a List of SyndicationItem.  Note the Stanza-specific links added in search list-builder and the final helper method:

item.Links.Add(new SyndicationLink(new Uri(DataFormat.GetAbsoluteURL(p.Logo)),
"x-stanza-cover-image-thumbnail""""image/jpeg"0));
public SyndicationFeed CreateFeedFromSyndicationItemList(IEnumerable postItems, string title,
string description)
{
var feed = new SyndicationFeed(title, description, new Uri(feedUri), postItems)
{
Copyright = new TextSyndicationContent(Configuration.Copyright),
Language = "en-US"
};
 
var self = new SyndicationLink(new Uri(Host + HttpUtility.UrlEncode("/Catalog/"))"self""", Type, 0);
feed.Links.Add(self);
 
feed.Links.Add(new SyndicationLink(new Uri(Host + "/Catalog/Search/?q={searchTerms}",true),"search","Search Catalog",Type,0));
 
return feed;
}

FeedResult.cs:

FeedWriter inherits from ActionResult.  It just writes the SyndicationFeed out with an XmlTextWriter:

public override void ExecuteResult(ControllerContext context)
{
if (context == null)
throw new ArgumentNullException("context");
 
HttpResponseBase response = context.HttpContext.Response;
 
response.ContentType = !string.IsNullOrEmpty(ContentType) ? ContentType : "application/atom+xml";
 
if (ContentEncoding != null)
response.ContentEncoding = ContentEncoding;
 
if (feed != null)
using (var xmlwriter = new XmlTextWriter(response.Output))
{
xmlwriter.Formatting = Formatting.Indented;
feed.WriteTo(xmlwriter);
}
}

Thanks to DamienG for the FeedResult class.

To see the catalog, get the Stanza app, tap “Get Books”, “Shared”, “Add Book Source”, then add the URL mises.org/catalog.