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FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

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:


This feed is displayed from:


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:


which results in the ever so unpleasant view:


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:


which works and results in this view:


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.

The Voices of Reason


Lee Dumond
February 02, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

I just went to http://feedproxy.google.com/rickstrahl with IE 7 and got the pretty, nicely formatted feed. Maybe this is just happening with you? Could it be some IE setting?

Lee Dumond
February 02, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

P.S. I could send you a screenshot if you think it'll help you chase down this problem...

Rick Strahl
February 02, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

Is it HTML formatted or the format like the first screen shot in the post? If it's HTML formatted you may be getting something from Google's cache because I've been mucking around with this before I posted this entry :-}. I tried with IE 8 here on my dev box and with IE 7 from my server.

Be interested to hear what others are seeing with IE 7/6.

February 02, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

IE7 - Similar to @Lee, I also saw what you were originally expecting.
FF3 & Mac Safari also fine.
Chrome - shown as text/plain (oh the irony)

February 02, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

IE8 on Win7 (that is, somewhere between beta2 and RC1) ... plain XML :(

Rick Strahl
February 02, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

So it looks like mixed results. On all the machines I'm using I'm seeing only XML served:

Vista Ultimate/IE8, Windows Server 2008/IE 7 (default install), Vista Web Browser Control

All of these show XML only for me.

Now if I access the feed via the IE Feedreader though and I'm already subscribed then the feed properly loads as RSS.

I'm going to switch to the HTML view I suppose, but I'll leave it running like this for a bit longer to see if we can see a pattern on why it's working for some people and not for others.

February 03, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

Hi Rick,

Your feed looks like the first screenshot like it should. So, nothing's changed.
Oh, I'm using Vista with IE7.

February 03, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

It looks good on Windows XP / IE7.

Rick Strahl
February 03, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

@Rainer - But are you accessing it from the URL or are you using your existing RSS feed? Reading in the IE feedreader and loading through there does the right thing - it's only when clicking on the link in plain browser view.

February 03, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

Rick, but I clicked the link you provided: http://feedproxy.google.com/rickstrahl and nothing's changed, same as allways, nicely formatted feed, like the first screenshot.

Lee Dumond
February 03, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

I am the first guy why commented. I probably should have mentioned I am on Windows XP with that IE7. I notice that a couple of others have mentioned they are getting the proper formatting as well in IE 7.

February 04, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

Works on my XP/IE7.

February 16, 2009

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

You did not say if this was happening for all feeds or just yours. If it is happening for all have you checked the ie browser settings that control the feeder view?
Tools > Internet Options > Content > Feeds and Web Slices > Settings > Advanced > [] Turn on feed reading view

January 06, 2010

# re: FeedBurner and RSS feeds in IE 7 and 8

Any word on this? Your feed seems to behaving as mine does: when I have BrowserFriendly enabled, IE8 shows the ugly BrowserFriendly version, but FF, Chrome and Safari all show their default RSS view. When I have it disabled, FF, Chrome and Safari still show their default RSS view, but IE8 turns to plain XML.

I was *this close* to redirecting my feed to the feedburner version, but this has given me pause...

internet traffic
June 05, 2010

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