Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

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ziggo
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 11:53 am

Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

Postby ziggo » Tue May 22, 2018 12:26 pm

1. Version

Code: Select all

Mac OSX 10.11.6
MacBook Pro 5,3
Version 3.3.0 :7f06bb62: (6805)


2. Bug description
My goal is to add the RSS feed of the following two Tumblr blogs to Vienna:
  • http://fyfluiddynamics.com/
  • http://fuckyeahphysica.tumblr.com/

When I used Vienna for the last time 6-8 weeks ago (not sure on which Vienna version), these two feeds were still working. Now I have updated Vienna to the latest version and the feeds are encountering errors.

These are the steps I take:
  1. Visit the website in Firefox.
  2. Click on the RSS feed link in the header.
  3. In the drop down menu select Vienna as the application to handle feeds.
  4. Click "Subscribe Now", Vienna opens with the URL autofilled.
  5. Remove the "feed" part of the URL: "feed://". Vienna fails with any feed when this part is included in the URL.
  6. In Vienna choose "URL" as the Source, click OK.

Expected result:
Vienna adds the feed, refreshes it and the articles are shown

Actual result:
Vienna adds the feed, refreshes it and shows a warning sign in the sidebar. Checking the Activity Window I see that there's an "Error parsing XML data in feed".

Troubleshooting steps I took:
I have validated the feed URL from Vienna. While there are some recommendations, it says the URL is a valid RSS feed.

3. URL's

Code: Select all

fyfluiddynamics.com/rss

Code: Select all

fuckyeahphysica.tumblr.com/rss


4. Settings
I don't know which settings are relevant. Let me know what you need, I'll post it.

pukku
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Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:11 am

Re: Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

Postby pukku » Tue May 22, 2018 10:31 pm

Hi! There are two problems that might be occurring that I have run into in the past:

- possibly, the XML is malformed due to something in the feed
- or, you may have run into Tumblr's new system to keep "adult" blogs away from people.

If you right click on the feed in Vienna, is there an option "Show XML source"? (It may have been taken away in a more recent version than I use...) What does the XML source show? Do you see a feed, or HTML?

If the former, it probably means that some post has some bad HTML/XML in it (maybe due to some HTML5 tags that are broken in XML processing?). If the latter (especially if it has 'tumblr' written in ASCII art in an HTML comment), you don't have a lot of good options, sadly.

(I wrote a proxy to get around the Tumblr stuff, but it's complicated...)

ziggo
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Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

Postby ziggo » Wed May 23, 2018 8:58 am

Thanks for the quick reply.
If I right-click I can click "Open Cached File..." to see the XML source. This opens a .xml file with HTML code in it with the word "tumblr" in ASCII art:

Image

So does this mean that Vienna is simply unable to show any Tumblr RSS feed and that I need to switch RSS readers?

pukku
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Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:11 am

Re: Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

Postby pukku » Wed May 23, 2018 12:21 pm

No, it's more complicated than that. Tumblr marks some feeds as "private" (or "adult"; I forget the exact term). In order to access anything from that tumblog, you need to go through an authentication step. Unfortunately, they have implemented it mostly in Javascript, which then sets a cookie in your web browser. However, RSS readers are not web browsers, and don't interpret HTML or run Javascript when fetching the feed.

I've complained to Tumblr that they should not protect the RSS feed in the same way, because RSS readers can't get the feed, but they don't seem to care.

You could try another feed reader, but my impression is that none of them will properly handle this situation. (If you find one that does, please let me know!)

(You can see non-private RSS feeds in Vienna with no problem.)

The only solution I was able to find was to write a program that fakes being a browser and logs into Tumblr, and then caches the important cookies. It then runs a proxy server locally, which I rewrite the URL in Vienna to request from, and the proxy can follow the redirects through Tumblr to get the file. If you feel like you can work with Perl stuff, I can send you these files (or maybe you can find another solution).

pukku
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Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:11 am

Re: Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

Postby pukku » Wed May 23, 2018 12:28 pm

That being said, I just tried to access these feeds using regular `curl`, and they don't seem to be protected -- I can get them without the authentication step. So it looks like there may be a caching problem? Especially if you use the browser in Vienna? You could try unsubscribing, quitting Vienna, and then re-subscribing? I'm not sure how to clear Vienna's caches, or if it's still tied to Safari's caches, but maybe clear the Safari cache as well?

ziggo
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Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Tumblr RSS feeds have stopped working

Postby ziggo » Wed May 23, 2018 12:41 pm

Thanks for the elaborate explanation, it helped me target my search better which resulted in finding this Stackoverflow question.

The most upvoted answer works for me, although I do not fully understand what it does. In case that answer ever gets deleted I am re-posting the answer here, hope that's ok:

It appears that Tumblr has made an exception for Feedburner ― all Tumblr RSS feeds can be retrieved by Feedburner, and from there they can be read by any aggregator.

The basic steps:
  • Log in to / create account for Feedburner
  • Get the url of the RSS feed for the blog in question
  • Enter that url in the field under "Burn a feed right this instant"
  • Review the presented options, then hit Next »
  • Add the displayed Feedburner url to your feed reader


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