IE7 will only support well-formed RSS feeds

In Microsoft to break the web, Anne van Kesteren notes that the RSS platform in Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista will only parse well-formed feeds. Anne points to the post Feeds and well-formed XML at the Microsoft Team RSS Blog. I find this part of that post particularly interesting:

Our years of experience in with HTML in Internet Explorer have taught us the long-term pain that results from being too liberal with what you accept from others.

Wow. I can hardly believe I just read that. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the people responsible for the HTML parser in IE7 would follow that lead and make it just a little more strict?

Imagine all the business opportunities that could create for those of us who have invested the time to learn HTML. And IE7 would have massive problems parsing the “HTML” generated by Microsoft’s own tools. But I think it would clean up the web a bit.

Posted on November 6, 2005 in Browsers, Quicklinks, Web Standards


  1. Unfortunately, the damage to HTML has been done and we are long past any chance we had to fix that up. However, the news about attempting to recover RSS from the HTML hell is promising!

  2. If they can make an XML parser for feeds, why can’t they make one for XHTML?

    They’re really not clear in their explanations. They decided not to support XHTML because support for the application/xhtml+xml media type is too hard to code (and spell).

    BTW application/rss+xml is not the the IANA list (, so what are they talking about?

    If they really mean just checking for well-formedness and not validation, I don’t see the point. It seems to me they just want to make it easier for them to code their non-denominational “feed parser” but not ensure validity…

  3. Séb: handling XHTML is more than just parsing, it’s also rendering. And they simply don’t have the time to build the rendering engine required to handle proper XHTML for this release.

  4. Wow, that quote is a knockout! Thanks for sharing.

    Please let IE7 break sites that aren’t valid - but I’m dreaming now… that would be too convenient!

  5. Jonathan, the rendering can in theory be done by reusing the CSS renderer. However, that might be one big hack. (Also, I would much rather have them properly support DOM Events, DOM Core et cetera.)

  6. And IE7 would have massive problems parsing the “HTML” generated by Microsoft’s own tools.

    Now this would be fun.

  7. Anne van Kesteren: I really don’t think that IE has the architecture to get the job done that easily. I think MS are moving in the correct direction though, and I hop we will see significant advances in IE8 - the IE team seem keen to deliver the improvements, but I hope MS politics don’t get in the way.

    Still, it’s Firefox/win and Safari/Mac for me for the foreseeable future.

  8. RSS feeds are less numerous than (X)HTML pages, so their partners will be affected much less than if Microsoft had decided to tighten up their HTML parsing.

    Having said that, I do think this reflects their new attitude fairly well. Microsoft are willing to upset a few people to do things the right way, and that’s a good thing.

  9. November 19, 2005 by Moedechai Peller

    While it would be nice if IE7 (or more likely IE8) wouldn’t parse pages with major errors, even if all it did was display an easily noticable error message along with the rendered page, it would be enough to make major changes to the Web.

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