Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Feeds working in IE7

Geek warning! This entry contains very geeky content, with lots of confusing acronyms and code. Please ignore it if this kind of thing does not interest you.

The Atom feeds on this site are now working correctly in Internet Explorer 7. Until now they’ve rendered okay, but the links back to the entries on this site haven’t worked – this means that a user wouldn’t have been able to read extended entries or view comments, for example.
The reason why it wasn’t working is not down to any bugs in IE7, but to one of its limitations. Previously, I was linking to my entries using a tag like this:

<link rel="alternate" href="" type="application/xhtml+xml" hreflang="en-gb" />

That tells the feed reader that there is an alternate XHTML representation of the feed entry at the location given in the href attribute. This would be fine, if IE7 supported XHTML fully like Firefox does. But it doesn’t – it’ll support XHTML delivered via the text/html MIME type but not the more correct application/xhtml+xml MIME type (which means that page has to be well-formed XML). The rationale for this is given in an IEBlog posting. Because IE7 does not support this MIME type, it ignores it, as it should do according to the Atom spec.
Therefore, I’m now using the following:

<link rel="alternate" href="" type="text/html" hreflang="en-gb" />

This works in IE7 and should also work in everything else. Job’s a good’un. And it’s arguably more correct, too, as I’m still using the text/html MIME type even though the page content is XHTML – I could change this but than any errors which made the XML not well-formed would prevent Firefox users from being able to view the page.
The feed also now works again in Netvibes (a Web 2.0 personalised homepage thingy) – the thread extension changes that I made yesterday broke it.


  1. AHa, was going to mention the Netvbies problem to you… good boy.

  2. It’s okay, someone mentioned it yesterday. Fixing the IE problem seemed to fix the Netvibes problem though, which was nice.
    Never heard of Netvibes before – looks interesting, though it’s not a service that really appeals to me.