in market for new feed reader

Mis suscripciones RSS

Mis suscripciones RSS by torchondo. License:

I’ve finally gotten fed up with my feed reader. Most of the time I don’t really care if my feeds are updated in a timely manner, but when I want it timely I want it timely. Like, on election day, I want my politics feeds to update more often (and more predictably) than every 3-6 hours. Really bizarre that Google hasn’t figured that out. (It isn’t like I’m the first person to complain about that.) And of course I’d like to improve my software autonomy, as usual, which I’m not doing right now.

Anyway, so- anyone have any recommendations that meet the following criteria?

MUST HAVE:

  • river of news view: nothing but the feeds; no controls, no nothing.
  • ‘starred’ or ‘flagged’: must be able to mark a post for later investigation/publication/etc.
  • keynav: must be able to do next/prev feed and flag/star for later reading with a single keystroke.
  • fonts: must be easy to blow up feed text to very large fonts- much larger than other application fonts. Any gnome-based app that relies on the system font setting is out, for example, since I’m not going to switch the system font sizes every time I open the feed reader.
  • OPML import: if it doesn’t have functional OPML import, I can’t use it.
  • subscribe from browser: I’m getting too old to subscribe to feeds by editing a config file; I want to be able to click on the RSS link in my browser and have the Right Thing happen.

NICE BUT NOT MANDATORY:

  • libre: would be nice, but am currently using a gratis-proprietary web service, so another gratis-proprietary app is a wash.
    • if proprietary: must have functional OPML export as well as import.
    • if libre: must have functional development team/model. I can’t put up a web service that I can’t trust to be secure, and that means active development. (As far as I can tell this rules out the otherwise interesting-looking gregarius– 18 months without release.) And must have low maintenance and fairly easy install. Think wordpress as the target here.
  • web-based: unless it has a great mobile-phone mode, I’d effectively use it only as a desktop app anyway, so web-based is nice but not huge.
  • remembers read/unread: I think this is optional (that is how I used to use things on planet, for example) but it might be mandatory, given my current reading style. This is definitely a big strike against planetplanet, for example, but if the other problems with planet were fixed (no starring, etc.) I might be able to live with it.

BONUS KILLER FEATURE:

  • feature I haven’t seen anywhere1 : I want to be able to mark a feed as a ‘meme source’, and not read it directly, but have the URLs it links to tracked, and if multiple meme sources start linking to the same URL, I want to see that URL. Sort of like techmeme, but with a personalized source list.

So, lazyweb: does such a thing exist? If it doesn’t, any web developers want to give a shot at building it? :)

  1. except planet, but last time I checked planet lacked must haves like starred and subscribe from browser; it also doesn’t clean up after itself so I had hundreds of megs of log files sitting around, which sucked. []

32 thoughts on “in market for new feed reader”

  1. This depends a bit on which font should be enlarged actually: if just the content of the feed should be enlarged you could use KDE’s Akregator.

    If you don’t use any other KDE apps at all, you can also use Akregator and set the KDE fonts to the size you want.

  2. mozilla thunderbird?
    Over kill, i know, but its descent. and not a webbased one ..
    but imo a descent rss reader.

  3. I live and breathe feeds, and due to a shortage of awesome in feed readers, I’ve set out to write my own. It will not be ready anytime soon (so continue looking), but I wanted to let you know that I love your ‘meme source’ idea, and I hope to one day implement that idea as a plugin in my software.

    Good luck on your search!

  4. For years, I used Jeff Planet! set up on my own personal web server but when Google Reader version 2 was released, I switched to it and frankly, it is the best RSS reader out there (and it feature almost everything you want : just add some CSS styling or greasemonkey for the missing features).

    You can even extract agregated feeds with some curl magic :

    SID=`curl –silent -d service=reader -d “Email=you_google_account@gmail.com” -d Passwd=”your_password” -d source=”lens” -d continue=”http://www.google.com/” https://www.google.com/accounts/ClientLogin | grep ^SID= | sed -e ‘s/SID=//’`
    curl –silent –cookie “SID=$SID;domain=.google.com;path=/;expires=1600000000” “http://www.google.com/reader/atom/user/-/state/com.google/reading-list?n=300&xt=user/-/state/com.google/read”

  5. Second vote for TTRSS.

    Free as in freedom, web based, actively developed, responsive bug fixing, single keystroke-tastic, OPML import, tagging, searchable. Only downside, no phone based GUI support but I am sure it is only a matter of time.

  6. Akregator meets all those requirements, plus a few of the extras.

    RIVER OF NEWS VIEW: yes. Called combined view.

    ’STARRED’ OR ‘FLAGGED’: mark each article as important, read, unread, or new

    KEYNAV: works just fine

    FONTS: the kde system fonts control the list display, the feed font size is set in akregator

    OPML IMPORT: import and export

    SUBSCRIBE FROM BROWSER: any sites that have an available rss/atom feed will show a small icon in the lower right corner in konqueror

    —–

    LIBRE: yes

    WEB-BASED: no, but exporting feeds to opml can help keep google reader or any other web based reader in sync (though you loose track of read articels)

    REMEMBERS READ/UNREAD: yes

    hope that helps

  7. Ah, in a round about way your blog post just inspired me to post my thoughts on a libre web apps co-operative: a service funded by its members at <$5 per month which provides libre web based e-mail, rss readers, calendar, possibly even office.

    Perhaps you might be interested in this? I think 100 members would be an ideal starting point to aim for, but both less and more are completely reasonable goals to aim for. It’s not been thought out *that* carefully yet, but could lead somewhere.

    http://blog.questionsplease.org/2008/02/09/web-apps-co-operative/

  8. To be clear: Google reader is what I currently use; I’m looking to leave it because it updates so slowly/unreliably. Otherwise, yes, I agree that it is excellent.

    tt-rss looks interesting, but hasn’t had a release in a year, despite 700 checkins in that time? Is trunk stable?

    I’ll look at akregator and liferea, but the screenshots of both when I looked at them earlier in the week did not make it look like I could get a good, clean, distraction-free view from either of them like I can from google reader.

  9. TT-RSS does have very frequent updates… it’s a typo on the main page. latest release was Jan 21st 2008 not 2007 :-)

    For those of us who don’t feel beholden to laptops and single desktops, being able to view RSS feeds from any terminal with internet access makes you realise the drag that client based RSS readers have.

    And can people stop relying on Google and others to host their applications. Rent a server, download and install the software and stop worrying about Big Brother.

  10. Your post was interesting, nice to see that there’s at least one other people thinking along these lines :)

    Perhaps we ought to start a proper conversation about taking this forward? Take a look at mine – I know it really is a ramble! – and let me know what you think, even if you want to rubbish it. This is an idea I’m prepared to pick up and push forward so constructive feedback is going to be needed in bucket loads.

    I’ll stop clogging your blog post’s comments now!

  11. hi,
    i’m still searching for a prefect feed reader too. that said, currently i’m using SharpReader [1]. it needs .net but maybe it can run with mono as well or perhaps its author would consider to release the source code. other than that, i keep my eye on straw reader [2] but i’m affraid i’m not ready to convert. yet.

    [1] http://www.sharpreader.net/
    [2] http://strawreader.wordpress.com/

  12. Gregarious may not have released lately but its SVN is active and its TRUNK has been usable/stable for me for a while. If you you’re worried about security do what I do and run it behind a basic auth. I guess there is still the threat of a malicious feed.

  13. Re: hosted Free apps.

    Hosted free apps would be good but the problem is that it would still be centralised. A content-GPL would be needed but enforcement issues would still arise. What would be great would be a decentralised set of hosted free apps… Imagine hosted apps on every edge device in people’s homes. Or even better, locally hosted apps with encrypted, reverse distributed content, a la Freenet.

  14. Neil: Completely agreed that decentralized apps are better for autonomy than centralized web services, but waiting for a distributed/p2p architecture strikes me as making the perfect the enemy of the good, so I hope that in the mean time Jonathan or others with similar ideas are successful.

  15. I’m veering a little away from your specs, but I recently started getting RSS delivered over e-mail, and now I’m a convert. I feel like it gets me all the benefits of a web-based reader, and I get to use my mail client as the interface, which is very good for this sort of thing. I can even read my feeds comfortably from mutt.

    I started out using Newspipe, and then switched to rss2email when I realized that Newspipe wasn’t sending me items from blogspot.com feeds properly. (I didn’t spend any time investigating this; for all I know it’s been fixed by now. Newspipe has some nice features that rss2email seems to lack, like downloading images from the feed and putting them directly in the e-mail.) Newspipe uses OPML natively, and I think there’s a tool for rss2email that will let you import an OPML file too.

  16. ravi: interesting, will look at it. (A new mail reader wouldn’t kill me either.)

    Brett: I read between 600 and 800 feed items a day, so unless I got a separate mail account to deal with the feeds, putting them in email would be impracticable. I do think, though, that merging them with email (like ravi’s suggestion apparently does, and like Zoe did once upon a time) is probably a solid solution for most people (and might even be for me if my mail solution was more nuanced about what needed my attention Now and what could be held off until later- which maybe is something I should look into.)

  17. Hi Luis, I think your criteria are almost all met by Blogbridge, additionally it supports your bonus killer feature.

    RIVER OF NEWS VIEW: available, just hide the toolbar in the preferences
    ’STARRED’ OR ‘FLAGGED’: It is called “pinned”
    KEYNAV: shortcuts for everything
    FONTS: available.
    OPML IMPORT: not only import, but also “subscribe to OPML”, so you can subscribe to Planet GNOME’s OPML file and new feeds will be added automatically to your reader
    SUBSCRIBE FROM BROWSER: Works with Firefox
    NICE BUT NOT MANDATORY:

    LIBRE: Open Source
    IF LIBRE: they have regular releases, development snapshots, etc.
    WEB-BASED: desktop-based, but offers synchronization over a web service
    REMEMBERS READ/UNREAD: available, with the web service also across multiple boxes
    BONUS KILLER FEATURE:

    feature I haven’t seen anywhere1 : I want to be able to mark a feed as a ‘meme source’, and not read it directly, but have the URLs it links to tracked, and if multiple meme sources start linking to the same URL, I want to see that URL. Sort of like techmeme, but with a personalized source list.

    There is a built-in memetracker: http://www.blogbridge.com/products-services/blogbridge/visual-tour/built-in-meme-tracker/

  18. Luis > Liferea should do all you want. Simply put the feeds in one folder (that you can “collapse”) and use the “non-read” meta folder.

    With a single click, you can flag items. Flagged items appear in the meta-folder “important”.

    It’s very quick, very easy and I use shortcut keys extensively.

    The only point you will have to investigate is the fonts stuff (mine use Gnome fonts)

    (And you can subscribe to new feeds with D-Bus, which is a breeze with Epiphany.)

  19. Lars: very interesting; unfortunately, when I import my feeds it tells me I need a ‘new service level’ because I have more than 300 feeds. Bzzzzt. FAIL.

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