Designing Active Channel Sites

This technology is obsolete as of Windows Internet Explorer 7 and should not be used. Follow these guidelines at design time to maximize the effectiveness of your channels.

Manage Download Size

Channels intended for offline use—particularly those targeted at home users—should consider the impact of bandwidth limitations. Under ideal conditions, a megabyte of content can be downloaded by a 28.8K modem in about six minutes. Actual download conditions are seldom ideal, and it often takes 10 minutes or more to download a single megabyte of content. Minimizing the size of a channel reduces download time.

Consider the Time-Value of Your Content

How long does your content provide value to the user? How frequently must your content be updated? Synchronization scheduling should be considered in tandem with download size. Remember that the total daily download from any channel must take bandwidth limitations into account. Schedule updates for times when members of your target audience are likely to have their computers turned on.

Make Your Offline Content Self-Contained

Consider the impact of noncached resources when designing your Microsoft Active Channel sites. The channel should deliver real value to the offline user. Users will likely become annoyed with an offline channel that constantly forces online connections.

Organize Your Content

Identify items that can be used offline, and those that must be used online. Consider segregating the items into discrete subchannels.

Personalize Your Channels

A publisher can provide a personalized channel experience by generating a custom Channel Definition Format (CDF) file for specific users. Generating a customized CDF file is as easy as offering a personalized home page using server-side scripting.