BuzzBoost Styling

Feedburner’s superb BuzzBoost feature allows you to take one of your feeds and turn it into html for traditional web page applications. The BuzzBoost html has a ton of classes and IDs which allow you complete flexibility with how the html is presented. You can’t see all the IDs and classes by looking at the source html.

Using the WebDeveloper Firefox addin, you can see all the classes and IDs in the generated html. So if you want to delete the little Feedburner image that say’s “Headlines by Feedburner”, just add display:none to the #creditfooter ID. If you don’t want the “Subscribe to this Feed” output, just add display:none to the p.fbsubscribelink pseudoID.

Styling Feeds

A couple of months ago, I wrote a small note about feeds. Well, Ronald over at the Reader Appreciation Project did a much better job than I did, plus he wrote a kickin’ WordPress plugin to help you style your self-hosted WordPress feed.

While you’re over there at the RAP, check out Ronald’s other superb plugins. I use his AJAX Comment Editing and Categories/Posts Site Map plugins as well. He gets a big +1.

From the Perspective of a Feed Reader » Reader Appreciation Project

Delete the Author

One of the sacred oaths webmasters must hold is to protect their contributors’ email addresses. It’s easy for static web sites. Just don’t use the mailto: tag. However, it’s not so easy when you have a message board or a blog. Message boards and blogs generate feeds. One of the more popular feed types is RSS2 which features the optional ‘author’ tag. The RSS 2.0 Specification (RSS 2.0 at Harvard Law) requires the author’s email address to be included in the tag for proper validation. Hello to all the harvesters and goodbye to keeping email addresses secure.

If you use WordPress and RSS2, don’t worry. The RSS2 feeds for comments and posts use the preferred ‘dc:creator’ tag which doesn’t require the author’s email address to validate. If you are using another blogging platform, pull up your feed and view the source. If you see the ‘author’ tag, someone’s email address is floating out there. Not good.

I came across this issue when I was looking at the source feed for my SMF (version 1.1.1) message board. Sure enough, there was the ‘author’ tag and all the members had their email addresses hanging out there. Changing the default feed to RDF or even better, hacking the SMF feed generating code to remove the ‘author’ tag will secure your feed and keep it validated.

Internet Explorer 7 and Feeds

My primary machine is a mac. Firefox is my preferred browser when I’m working on html or WordPress because of the great add-ons which help me troubleshoot css. However, I do have access to a pc with IE7 and I have to say, the built in feed reader is really slick. Easier to use than the Live Bookmarking on Firefox IMO.

RSS Feeds and Internet Explorer 6

Mention Internet Explorer 6 to anyone who does web or blog development and the foul language starts to fly. IE6 presents rendering and development problems, especially on blogs. The theme on my self hosted blog has a separate style sheet with workarounds so the blog doesn’t look like a jumbled mess in IE6. Still, we wait for the day when the last user ditches IE6 for Firefox, Safari or even IE7. That day isn’t coming very soon according to the stats Matt shows in his blog.

Everyday, I look at the search terms that people use which somehow get them here. One of the searches was asking about how to read RSS feeds with Internet Explorer 6. My first thought was, “Ummm….don’t use IE6.” Of course, that’s my recommendation but it appears that Lektora has a plugin which works with IE6. I don’t know why I’m telling you this but what the heck. I don’t know if it works, how it works or why you’d want to use it so caveat emptor. If you are steadfast in keeping IE6 alive, it’s an option. I’d rather you ‘browse happy!’

Browse Happy

Photo Matt » Browser Stats

UPDATE September 12, 2007 – Since I wrote this, the Lektora site has been down. Letkora was purchased a couple of years ago so I’m not sure if this product will continue to be supported. If you want integrated RSS feeds in your web browser, try IE7. There’s always Google Reader, too.

Inline CSS for Feed Readers

When I first started to dabble in html and web development, I realized the power of external stylesheets. A minor change to one file and you can change an entire web site. Beautiful. Same for blogs. Then I discovered FeedBurner and it’s fantastic BuzzBoost feature which takes a feed and converts it to html for static web pages. Update my blog and my web site refreshes, carrying over the css classes and ids in the tags which is important when I have images in my blog. All’s well, right?

FeedBurner will tell you how many readers use IE 6.0 (ugh) and how many readers view your content in a feed reader. Unfortunately, you can’t use your own external css stylesheets to control how images are styled on a feed reader. Since I can’t ignore these readers, I will use inline CSS styling to provide some control of how my feed is presented. As an example, I like to float my images to the right on my blog since it uses a right sidebar. My stylesheet will take care of this on the blog but it won’t do anything for my feed so I will use inline css in the img tag to float the image to the right. It’s a little duplicitous but at least your feed (and browser-friendly FeedBurner page) will look ok.