XML View in Mozilla

Here’s a lazy web question. Does anyone know how you can change Mozilla’s handling of XML back to the way it used to be? If I’m loading an XML page, 19 out of 20 times it’s because I am examining it for correctness or to extract information from it. I hate how it does that more human readable formatting by default now. It just requires me to go and view source on ever single one of them, when what I really want is the tree view it used to have, where you could expand or close individual elements in the XML tree. How can I get back there? I looked in the config settings at every XML thing I could find, but didn’t see a way to turn off this new behavior.

Update: Thanks to a link in the comments from Derek, now I understand that this is part of a holy war inside of the Mozilla project. The problem is that RSS feeds are handled as a special case and intercepted by the rendering engine. The XML toolkit doesn’t work with these, because by the time you have access to them they are now a specially styled page. Viewing source will still see the raw XML but the browser window knows it as the fugly transformed page. I agree with the people who hate this behavior or at least want the ability to disable it. It costs me an enormous amount of efficency when I am working behind the scenes on AmigoFish and and looking at RSS feeds. Now that I know this is the case, I will probably use a different browser for this work. Mozilla project, thanks for all the work but this is one decision you really took the wrong fork on.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

8 thoughts on “XML View in Mozilla”

  1. Derek says:

    I thought I was the only one who found this “feature” is utterly and completely frustrating because it cannot be turned off. The developers like it this way and don’t want to change it.

    The only hack is to pad the xml file with 512 bytes of nonsense before you get to the rss tag. Here is a thread if you want to follow the “debate”: http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.apps.firefox/browse_thread/thread/146f70eaf0e1686f/f35c316db3883cf8

  2. I installed Camino just for this purpose.

  3. Dave-
    I have a plugin installed in Firefox called XML Developer Toolbar by Scott Root (http://xmldeveloper.mozdev.org/). It allows you to switch from treeview to “pretty print” modes—I find this useful, as it allows you to view both formatted (if style info. is present) and unformatted XML. Also has some pretty cool tools, including node counting, DTD/schema generation, and validation, which transform FF into an XML editor.
    Natively, I see nothing which controls this in the Mozilla browser itself.

    Hope this helps!

    Randy Maugans

    Hope this helps,
    Randy Maugans

  4. dave says:

    Derek, thanks. That thread explained the whole thing to me, which says that I am far from alone in this belief.

    Garrick, does Camino not do that? I know I have installed it at some point but I can’t remember the last time I used it.

    Randy, like I posted in the update when I try to inspect the DOM of RSS feeds they show me the DOM of the rendered page with the Mozilla RSS icon and all. Maybe I’m not using it right, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that.

  5. Camino presents the raw xml. It makes no attempt to parse it or send it to another reader.

  6. Well, unless that feed in question is managed by FeedBurner and the publisher enabled ‘browser-friendly’. Man that bugs me.

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