La Vita è Bear

RSS readers my readers use, round 2

I talked about what RSS readers my readers use before, I guess now is the time for round 2.

Inspired by a series of blogs about feed reader behaviors by Rachel, I also started to log and support some conditional HTTP requests, and look through the logs to see what my users’ feed readers do (browsers usually support them thoroughly).

A note first is that I intentionally did not add any etag support, nor do I expect the requests to come with If-None-Match header (or log them). In order to support etag I would still need to render every page fully (at least in memory), which I can avoid if I just support time based conditional requests (you don’t need to render the full page to know what would be the last modified time of the page).

After that is out of the way, the result is actually slightly surprising that the majority of the feed readers visiting this blog actually supports time based conditional requests (If-Modified-Since header), resulting in 304 responses. A non-comprehensive list of “good” feed readers are:

With almost all of them also supporting gzip compression. I don’t know if they have been “good” for a while, or some of them just fixed it after Rachel’s blogs. But either way I’m glad that they are good.

There are, of course, still a small amount of the user-agents hitting my RSS feed that do not send the If-Modified-Since header, and/or do not support gzip compression. A bizarre one is that it sends an Accept-Encoding header, but gzip is not one of the accepted encoding of it (I did not log the actual Accept-Encoding header so I don’t know what are its accepted encodings). It also has a bizarre user-agent of Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/84.0.4147.105 Safari/537.36, with a super old chrome version (the latest stable version of Chrome is 125). So it’s either a bot that pretends to be a human, or maybe it’s just some weird Safari Windows version thing?

  • Bifolia is something I see from my http logs for a long time, with User-Agent of Bifolia:0.1.1, but I have never been able to find out more about it. Googling either “Bifolia” or “Bifolia feed reader” returned any relevant results.
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