I’ve noticed that recently FeedBurner’s feeds no longer display in IE’s auto RSS styling format. Normally if you open an RSS feed in IE 7/8 the feed is rendered using an internal style sheet that pretty formats the RSS feed and provides a few filtering and subscription options natively.

Here’s what my RSS feed SHOULD look like in IE 7/8:

GoodRss

This feed is displayed from:

http://www.west-wind.com/weblog/rss.aspx?Force=true

which is my base URL that creates (and mostly caches) my base RSS feed which Feedburner also reads. The URL above produces the correct result.

FeedBurner – for those of you that don’t know – is an RSS hosting site that essentially allows offloading RSS feeds to mitigate some of the bandwidth consumed by the RSS feed (which would easily be the biggest traffic on my site) as well as providing a host of useful services on your feeds including aggregating your feed, providing a host of feed flare links, as well as providing useful statistics on your traffic. Recently since Google took over FeedBurner more active advertising has also been added, although the jury is still out on whether that brings in any useful ad revenue or not (based on early statistics it’s way under achieving).

Anyway as a user of FeedBurner, you basically have to provide FeedBurner with a URL where to retrieve the RSS from at timed intervals, which are then published through Feedburner. You can point all your RSS links on your site/WebLog to your FeedBurner RSS feed (or redirect w/ 301’s your existing feed links).

All this has been working well, except as I mentioned in the last month or so since FeedBurner switched over to Google’s FeedProxy site, I’ve noticed that the default IE view no longer works. If you go to my FeedBurner Url with IE 7/8 you’ll get an XML view instead:

http://feedproxy.google.com/rickstrahl

which results in the ever so unpleasant view:

FeedProxyXml

Not what you’d like to see.

Now I’m not 100% sure what the problem is but I believe the issue is that FeedBurner is explicitly telling the browser not to sniff content:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Last-Modified: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:03:59 GMT
ETag: Sl2Gz17fWDGkr6g/RrM2ncWJGYE
Content-Type: text/xml; charset=UTF-8
Content-Encoding: gzip
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:13:56 GMT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
Expires: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:13:56 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Server: GFE/1.3

which seems to be the only thing that is significantly different from the headers I’m sending back in my source RSS feed:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Cache-Control: public, max-age=180
Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8
Content-Encoding: gzip
Expires: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:16:20 GMT
Last-Modified: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:13:20 GMT
Vary: *
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.0
X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:13:20 GMT
Content-Length: 58242

The content types are the same, encoding is the same. Google sends chunked content but that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s most likely the x-Content-Type-Options: nosniff, which frankly SUCKS!

There’s a way around this, which is to use FeedBurners auto-formatting of feeds:

BrowserFriendly

which works and results in this view:

BrowserFriendlyView2

which works, but frankly is ugly. Worse though it’s fixed format so if you have code content or largish images (as I do frequently) content that exceeds rather thin width of the stylesheet is simply lost, which is suboptimal to say the least.

So for now though I have to live with the Feedburner style since seeing XML certainly is not desirable.

It’s another tick against Google IMHO. It seems they are purposefully sabotaging the default browser rendering to inject themselves some more into the feed content sent out. I’d be OK with that if there were at least a few more style choices available that provide more control, but as it is this is really limiting. I suspect this part of Google strategy though to inject more content and ads into feeds – since they are rendering this feed view they control the template and can inject advertising into the output. I suppose not completely unreasonable for the fact that they are providing free hosting and bandwidth of the feed, but still it irks a bit especially given the lack of customizability.