Thursday, 18 June 2009

Can lightning strike twice?

This time last year, after trying via a web feedback form to ask the BBC a loaded question about their RSS feeds I posted it on this blog and got a prompt and positive answer from Jem Stone.
Today I am going to try the same with the Guardian and blog something that I have sent to their user help email address but so far have had no response to. As you will see if you read the slightly dull and geeky details later on I don't actually think the issue is their fault; but as things stand I feel it is more likely (despite this blogging platform being owned by google and them being quite good at searching for content on the internet) that this will reach people with the power to make changes at the Guardian than in Mountain View.

My problem is due to how much information I try and absorb on the move, sometimes on a netbook (as I am now, it is far easier to type on than my E71) but mostly on my phone. My browser of choice is Opera Mini, my aggregator is Google Reader and a number of the feeds I read, especially to do with politics and liberty are from the Guardian.

I am gettting an XML parsing fail looking at Guardian feeds, looking at the source the error shows that in the conversion of the encoded html in the <description> element. One out of Google Reader or Opera Mini is seeing '&lt;p style="clear:both" /&gt;' not recognising that it is self closed, deciding that it needs to add an extra closing p tag, and therefore breaking the parse.
As I have little in the way of web development tools on my phone I can only speculate that it is Google that is doing the insertion (as it would be strange bug for Opera to do so then choke on it).

As I said above I fully understand that this isn't technically the Guardian's problem since their feed validates as is but I am also hoping that it is a simple change for them to the template used for RSS presentation that can fix this issue for me and anyone else in my predicament.

If you are from the Guardian and reading this, thank you in advance for any help!

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