Make your Atom feeds pretty!

I have always been impressed with the ingenuity behind FeedBurner’s rendering of “burned feeds.” Using a simple XSL stylesheet, Feedburner instructs browsers to render unintelligible XML feeds into a human-readable HTML format.

The tech is cool enough and easy enough that I have been surprised by how few people have jumped on the XSL band wagon and applied this tech to their own blogs. So, in my never-ending pursuit of bringing cool stuff like this to even more people, I have created Atom XSL and Atom CSS stylesheets which can be used to render your Atom feeds into HTML.

Some of the advantages this XSL stylesheet provides are:

  • It eliminates the sometimes annoying, sometime confusing “Do you want to download this file?” dialog that some browsers surface when users click on a link to an XML file, like an Atom feed.
  • It surfaces one-click “subscribe to this feed” links for the most popular feed readers to make it easiser for users to subscribe to your feed.
  • Users will never even know they are looking at XML - all they will see is yet another HTML web page.

If any of this is hard for you to grok, then you can take advantages of these features by installing these templates to your blog with the click of a button using the Feed Manager plugin for Movable Type. Or, you could also just use FeedBurner to burn your feed for you - another good option that does require a specific blogging tool to be used… the only disadvantage being that you can’t customize the look and feel of the rendered feed.

1 Comment

I forgot to mention that this technique only works with browsers that do not apply their own stylesheet, like:

  • Safari on Mac OS X
  • Internet Explorer 7

Those browsers really should consider applying a stylesheet if and only if a stylesheet was not specified by the user.

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  • I forgot to mention that this technique only works with browsers that do not apply their own stylesheet, like: Safari on Mac OS X Internet Explorer 7 Those browsers really should consider applying a stylesheet if and...

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