Freakonomics Blog RSS Lameness

I’ve not read Freakonomics yet, but I’m going to. That didn’t stop me from trying to subscribe to the “author’s blog”: when I found out about it.

They don’t make it easy. Neither Onfolio nor Firefox’s feed detection mechanism was able to auto detect the feed. Which is odd, because there is a nice yellow XML button in the sidebar, along with button’s for adding the feed to various web based aggregators via their proprietary mechanisms.

Clicking on the XML feed button takes me to a feedburner page which again stymies Firefox and Onfolio. A little rooting around finds a link to an Atom feed, which I was finally able to add more or less manually.

What’s particularly absurd about all of this is that the Feedburner page is clearly trying to accomodate all comers. Onfolio might be considered a fringe RSS reader, but Firefox is rather popular in some circles, and its Feed detection mechanism interoperates with some RSS readers.

2 thoughts on “Freakonomics Blog RSS Lameness

  1. Spike Washburn (Onfolio developer)

    I was able to add the feed to Onfolio by dragging the orange XML icon to the Onfolio feeds tab.

    The reason Onfolio didn’t find the RSS feed automatically is that the blog has an RSS link for everything except for the defacto-standard RSS autodiscovery link element that almost all RSS readers support:

    Since the feed autodiscovery link element is not present on the page, Onfolio attempts to locate the feed URL by examining all anchors on the page to see if any of them look like an XML feed. Since the feedburner-hosted feed URL on the page doesn’t contain any substrings hinting at rss or xml or atom, the feedburner anchor is not considered a possible feed, so it gets skipped.

    I don’t know what’s up with not being able to add the feedburner page as a feed. In my browser, clicking the feedburner link causes the feed burner page to be displayed, but causes the URL of the page to look like its the blog, so I think there’s some kind of funky redirect happening that prevents the actual feed URL from being displayed in the browser.

    Sometimes sites are too tricky for their own good. 🙁

  2. Spike Washburn (Onfolio developer)

    Ah-ha, I figured out why you can’t add the feed after navigating to the feedburner URL… It turns out that the blog is using frames, so when you navigate to the feedburner URL, the feed URL is loaded into a frame instead of the main browser window. This prevents Onfolio and Firefox from being able to subscribe to feed the URL.

    I spoke to someone at FeedBurner and they mentioned that they encourage all publishers to include the auto-discovery URL on their blogs(which would solve this whole problem).

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