IE7 and Well Formed Feeds

Album Cover: Narrow Stairs

"As the flashbulbs burst, she holds a smile like someone would hold a crying child."
Death Cab For Cutie / Cath...

Posted on November 07, 2005 9:30 PM in XML
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Only a matter of hours after complaining about Microsoft's lack of support for standards, I read via Digg that IE7 and the Windows Vista RSS platform will only support feeds that consist of well-formed XML.

Ironically enough, the poster on Digg said:

Ah crap! Microsoft's next-gen browser, Internet Explorer 7, will apparently only support well-formed XML-based RSS feeds. We are going to be in for a wild ride. If Microsoft has their way, I’m pretty sure not even FeedBurner feeds will validate as well-formed.

Well, now I've gotta hop over onto Microsoft's side of things and say that I couldn't agree more with this move. By only supporting well-formed XML feeds, Microsoft is putting the onus on content providers and bloggers to ensure that their published feeds conform to the standards of the various feed formats.

Let's step back for a second and think about how different the web would be today if Microsoft, or Netscape before them, had made it a requirement that web developers conformed to web standards back in the 90s. If tag soup wasn't an option for early web developers, there wouldn't be such pressure for modern web browsers to support it through backward compatibility today.

I have to tip my hat to Microsoft for making the right call with this one. If, as the Digg poster lamented, content aggregators like FeedBurner, WordPress and others aren't publishing well-formed feeds, they need to take responsibility and ensure that they fix the problems on their own. Relying on UAs to gracefully handle their laziness should not be an option. Period.

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