Did you know, that you can style RSS Feeds?

I didn't!

Or, actually, I simply forgot!

It's not really that surprising, given that it is just XML, which can be styled using XSL since like 1999. And I even remember a few major sites that did that, like ~15 years ago or so. Instead of HTML4.01, they'd respond with XML. But you would only notice that, when you viewed the source, which I did a lot back then.

I am pretty sure that Blizzard used that approach on some of their major IPs, as I remember being mind-blown by not seeing standard HTML while inspecting.1

Anyway, besides being a neat fun fact, I think giving the feed at least just a little bit of styling and additional information could make them a bit more approachable. Especially to non-tech-savvy folks, who might click on an RSS Feed link out of curiosity, and might be forgiven to think that part of the site was just broken. This way, it just looks like a minimalistic timeline of the site's posts.

Unfortunately, styling XML is not fun, as browsers aren't as forgiving when rendering styled XML as they are with HTML+CSS. Something's wrong? Whoops, rendering nothing at all.

But here's the good news: you don't have to write any of it; I didn't write most of it, either. There's a wonderful boilerplate by aboutfeeds which is already way better than just a wall of XML and provides some instructions. I tweaked it a little bit with some Tailwind classes, added some personal app recommendations and that's it.

  1. I did a quick check: apparently it was World of Warcraft, according to this Stack Overflow answer from 2009. So, my memory is not fooling me!