Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Coding Error In Blog Feed Causing Problems For Bloggers Using Microsoft Outlook on Local Area Networks

Some bloggers who subscribe to various blog feeds using Microsoft Outlook, and similar desktop client newsfeed readers, report problems with computers that are based on Local Area Networks and use local named resources. A coding error in the blog feed tracker, in the post footer, causes the URL, which should point to the Internet server "blogger.googleusercontent.com", to be interpreted as a request for local resource "//blogger.googleusercontent.com".

The snippet of code, which should be provided as
<div class="blogger-post-footer"><div></div><img width='1' height='1' src='http://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn?l=www.yoursite.com'/></div>
instead is provided as
<div class="blogger-post-footer"><div></div><img width='1' height='1' src='//blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn?l=www.yoursite.com'/></div>


The omission of "http:" from the snippet of code causes two problems.
  • The URL is not properly rendered, and the tracker object is not loaded.
  • The computer tries to access HTTP server "blogger.googleusercontent.com" as local resource "//blogger.googleusercontent.com". This causes the computer to apparently lock up, compelling some bloggers to reboot their computers, because the computer has simply "stopped responding".


Some folks experiencing the effects of the problem report it as
brutal and widespread
If my computer were to stop responding, I suspect that I would do likewise.

If you are using Microsoft Outlook as a newsfeed reader, and your computer stops responding, now you know why.

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4 comments:

Rodd Hall said...

Yes, this is a serious problem that is causing people, including me, to unsubscribe from Google blogs. With what seems like such an easy fix, why has this been allowed to go on for so long?

Pete Foster said...

This is a very serious problem to those affected - As a blogger I'm getting complains and losing subscribers.

I never realised how hard it is to raise a problem with Google - there's nowhere to go.

It's certainly made me think again about using Google Docs or relying on any other Google service.

anzlitlovers said...

Me too, I have had to remove some of my favourite bloggers from my RSS feeds because MS Outlook stops responding and clogs up everything for ages.
The only solution I can come up with is to recommend that people switch to WordPress. I moved my BlogSpot travel blog because of this problem and it was easy.
Lisa http://hillfamilysoutherndivision.wordpress.com/

Jackal + Wolf said...

Hi, I'm using the Blogger PHP API to display our blog feed on our website http://www.jackalandwolf.com

Notice that the image contained within the div in question is missing a title and alt attribute. As a result I can't validate my web page as html or xhtml!

I've tried repeatedly to contact Google, but nothing.

Goddamnit Google!