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Viewing RSS in a browser is broken. Here's the fix..
By Dave Winer on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM.

I've never understood what the browsers guys do with RSS, or why they do it, but they have really made RSS a mess to deal with in the browser. #

How it used to work: Click on an RSS feed you'd see XML.  #

Some users thought it was a bug, and reported it as such. Maybe the browser-makers got those reports too, and decided to try to do something about it. #

So they obscured the XML, and showed you the headlines and descriptions and linked to the stories in the feed. #

The problem with obscuring the XML is that you make it harder to understand, not easier. Why are there two ways to view the news, and why is one so plain and ugly and the other so flashy and distracting?  #

Analogy: Pop the hood on your car and see an incomplete image of the interior of your car.  #

When I pop the hood I want to see the engine. How awesome it looks! Frightening. Quickly before my mind overloads, close the hood and get in the car, turn on the radio and get on my way. #

A picture named try.jpgThat's how I'd like RSS to work. Click the icon. See the code. Either you're interested or you hit the back button. You can report it as a bug. Developers are familiar with the idea of bugs that never get fixed. They're called features. :-) #

It's very important in the minimal blogging tool that when the user clicks on the XML icon, he or she actually sees the XML. That's how I, the designer of the software, insist that it work. The RSS is the main result of their work. Any confusion about that is confusion about the product itself. And if you're a curious technically-inclined person, RSS actually interesting to read, and quite easily understood. Much more interesting than the vanilla stuff the browser guys want to present. And by having it easily visible, designers are responsible for keeping it easily understood.  #

So that's the bug and here's the fix... #

I wrote a simple web app that displays XML and link to it from my app. #

http://xmlviewer.scripting.com/?url=http://static.reallysimple.org/users/dave/linkblog.xml #

It took about 15 minutes. Seriously. All it does is read the XML file, put it inside an HTML &;t;pre> element. It's hard to imagine a browser interfering with that.  #

It works. I recommed to developers that you stop trying to understand what the browser guys are trying to do, and write your own XML displayer, and link to it instead of the naked XML. #

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