💾 Down the RSS reader rabbit hole

I’ve been rebuilding my RSS reader setup over the last few days and I’m loving it. I was an avid Google Reader user (RIP) back in the day. After its demise I switched over to newsletters, except for a minor flirt with Feedly. Newsletters hardly ever worked for me as I’m not email-oriented at all. Some posts on ✴️ Micro.blog inspired me to check again the state of RSS readers and I’m super excited about what I found. Nowadays, I would call them feed readers - there are more options than RSS and this is amazing - JSON, Atom, email (!), podcasts, and I suppose some custom integrations.

After exploring several options I settled for 🍔 Feedbin. NetNewsWire and Reeder, while refreshingly straightforward, felt insufficient for my needs. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the details anymore after so much digging and comparing. I may still return to them in the future. The last contender was Inoreader. It has a dazzling amount of options, so many as to confuse you in the beginning. Yet, most of the configurability was cruft to me, and the one thing I found useful for viewing didn’t have feature parity on iPad. I can’t stress how much it annoys me when the mobile apps are too crippled vs web.

Here’s a list of the top things I appreciated in 🍔 Feedbin, mixed with my workflow preferences:

  • Aesthetics The app is sleek-looking and current. If I’m to stick with a reader, aesthetics are not a superficial requirement. I’m giving up the curated design of many services. I should like what I look at.
  • Fetching full content Feeds are often truncated. 🍔 Feedbin does a stunning job at fetching the full content. It’s also a persistent setting per feed. So it works seamlessly. E.g. Inoreader required one extra click every time. Added bonus is how all the ads and useless elements get stripped away.
  • Mute I’m an inbox 0 person. Unread counts stress me a lot. For the highest volume feeds, mainly news-type, I just mute the feeds. In any case, I read news on-demand even now. 🍔 Feedbin gives you stats for feed volume which simplifies managing this.
  • Micro.blog integration This is very important to me currently. There is excellent integration - you can even read the whole conversation from within 🍔 Feedbin. One thing that is lacking is a direct link to the conversation for ease of replying. A feature request is on my list.
  • 🍔 Feedbin is not after my data From what I can tell the app is maintained by a small team of 2. There is no magic algorithm, suggestions, ads, i.e. suspicious intelligence. Furthermore, the project is open source, though it’s not recommended to run your own instance. And even then, no one is stopping you - just don’t expect official support.

I’ve been steadily migrating what I follow from a zillion of places to the feed reader - email, bookmarks, Twitter, Medium. It’s been extremely smooth. Only in one case I needed to use a feed generator (FetchRSS), yet to see if this works well enough - but, hey, there is this option for stubborn sites, too.

That’s it for now. Hope someone found something useful. If you have any tips, hit me up 🙏

Connect on Micro.blog

Todor Vlaev @todor