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Is XSLT required to render rss in the latest browsers?



4:25 pm on Oct 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My understanding was that the latest Firefox and IE browsers had RSS rendering engines built in. Thus reducing the need for an XSLT file to render RSS in the browser.

My predecessor has set-up an itunes compliant podcasting RSS feed that renders ok in Firefox without an XSLT file. This would seem to confirm that an XSLT file isn't a requirement to render rss in Firefox and IE7+.

However, I created a test news feed using feedforall, I saved this to my desktop and when I open it in the browser I just see the raw XML and a message which reads "This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below."

I'm now totally confused. Do I need XSLT to render RSS in Firefox and IE7+ or not?

I'm very new to RSS so any advice would be very welcome.

ps here's code for the test news feed I created with feedforall -

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<rss version="2.0">
<description>A listing of public lectures and events from The London School of Economics and Political Science due to be broadcast live on the their website at the following web address - http://www.example.com/collections/LSEPublicLecturesAndEvents/live/LSELive.htm</description>
<category domain="">Education</category>
<copyright>London School of Economics and Political Science</copyright>
<lastBuildDate>Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:58:20 +0100</lastBuildDate>
<pubDate>Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:45:12 +0100</pubDate>
<generator>FeedForAll v2.0 ( http://www.feedforall.com</generator>
<title>Hot, Flat and Crowded - Tuesday 14 October 2008</title>
<description>Date: Tuesday 14 October 2008&lt;br&gt;
Time: 6.30-8pm GMT&lt;br&gt;
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building&lt;br&gt;
Speaker: Thomas L Friedman&lt;br&gt;
Chair: Professor Eric Neumayer&lt;br /&gt;
Thomas L Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of our biggest challenges – the global environmental crisis and America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11 – and shows how they’re linked. He argues that we need American commitment and leadership in a green revolution, a revolution that will be the biggest innovation project in history, one that will inspire us to summon all the intelligence, creativity, boldness and concern for the common good that are our greatest human resources.
Thomas L Friedman, the foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Longitudes and Attitudes and The World is Flat, winner of the first Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
<guid isPermaLink="false">3191A104-4566-4BD0-8510-C897B52F56F4</guid>
<pubDate>Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:35:46 +0100</pubDate>

[edited by: bill at 4:15 am (utc) on Oct. 14, 2008]
[edit reason] Don't link to live feeds please [/edit]


4:27 am on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Welcome to WebmasterWorld monstermunch.

Nearly all major browsers have support for XML and XSLT. That does not mean that they have RSS readers built in. Opera is the only major browser with a feed reader included. All other browsers require a plug-in or add-on.


11:18 am on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Perhaps I've misunderstood something? RSS feeds render for me in IE7+ and Firefox without any additional plugins.

The layout isn't particularly sophisticated and of course there are none of the features you would get with a dedicated feed reader but it renders ok in the browser with clickable links to media items or associated web pages etc as opposed what happened pre IE7 when I would just see the raw XML code.

Here's a screen grab of my itunes rss feed rendered in Firefox 3 without any additional plugins and without XMLT translation.

[edited by: bill at 1:19 am (utc) on Oct. 15, 2008]
[edit reason] No links to examples, thanks [/edit]


1:48 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Actually I think I've answered my own question.

The reason my test RSS news feed didn't render in my browser was due to the fact I was running it locally from my c drive. As soon as I uploaded it and accessed it via www it worked as I expected it would.

Therefore I can only conclude that RSS feeds do render in the latest Firefox and IE browsers. They don't have all the features of a dedicated RSS reader but they do render the feed with clickable links to media or associated web pages. As opposed to pre IE7 when all I would see would be the raw XML code.

I'm new to RSS so more than happy for someone to correct me if I'm wrong.


2:14 am on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm not sure why a local file would have behaved differently from one on a web server. I tested locally and my browsers worked the same regardless.

XSLT allows you to generally have some control over the look of a feed. This will work mostly with web browsers. However, most feed readers will ignore your formatting and use their own.

You can't predict where and how your feeds will be used so often a stylesheet is pointless. As you know most browsers will show a feed with their own style. Only Google Chrome shows me raw XML without an XSLT.


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