Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
It's time to head back to RSS? (wired.com)
1501 points by kawera 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 491 comments

The key thing to know about RSS is that most of the real news sources, those that have actual reporters who go out and find news, have RSS feeds. Reuters, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the BBC...

Here's Reuters Top News.[1] Just the news, no ads, no clickbait. Reuters is useful because their RSS feed contains a readable story summary. Many RSS feeds just have a truncated sentence and a link. Both CNN [2] and Fox News [3] are like that. Voice of America is at the other extreme - the whole story is on RSS.[4]

[1] http://feeds.reuters.com/reuters/topNews [2] http://rss.cnn.com/rss/cnn_topstories.rss [3] http://www.foxnews.com/about/rss/ [4] https://www.voanews.com/rssfeeds

Tiny Tiny RSS [0] comes with suite of scraper plugins for populating truncated feeds with their full content, and a simple API for writing new ones.

[0] https://tt-rss.org/

Ah, tt-rss... After Google announced that Google Reader was going the way of the dodo, I spun up my own instance of tt-rss, and used their (paid) Android app too... until I decided to file some bugs on their Redmine bug tracker.

There were a few bugs I had encountered (can't recall if it was on the mobile app, or on the browser UI), and decided to report to them. I opened a few reports (maybe 2 or 3?), and continued on my merry way. Checked in a not long after, and discovered that the developer didn't bother to really read my bug reports, and instead, berated me (if my fuzzy recollection is to be believed, something to the effect of "I don't know what you're talking about" and "you're stupid go away"), followed by closing the bug reports. No effort on his side to try to understand, no further digging for more information if something was unclear.

Being a software developer myself, I'd like to think I'm generally familiar with reporting reasonably useful bugs (repro steps, observed behavior, expected behavior, etc.), and even if I didn't include all information, I'm more than happy to provide more as requested/directed. But being effectively ignored and then berated for trying to help? Ridiculous.

tt-rss worked okay for my needs (lacked polish), but still, no software is perfect, so if I were to continue using tt-rss, I'd undoubtedly run into other bugs. Going by my experience with abrasive/abusive behavior of the developer (I saw similar examples in other bugs in the tracker at the time), I decided to jump ship on the first sign of a reasonable alternative. Thankfully, Feedly came along, and I hopped on for the ride.

Yes, I had a similar experience with the maintainer when trying to contribute back to tt-rss (two pull requests closed with rather rude explanations that suggested my submissions had barely been glanced at).

Still, tt-rss offers killer features for me that other options don't: self-hostable, being able to write my own scraper plugins (the big one in this discussion), and a solid Android app. So I continue to use it and just keep any code improvements to myself.

After Google Reader, I tried a bunch of different ones. Feedly was the best I could find but there were a number of things that just annoyed me. I had an issue with one of my feeds and got very little help from their support.

That was the last straw and I decided to revisit alternatives. I somehow stumbled upon BazQux, and I noticed the same issue with the one feed on that platform as well. The developer was incredibly helpful in pointing out an issue with the way I was generating the feed. That level of support instantly had me hooked (along with how much it functioned like Google Reader). I bought a life time subscription then and there.

You should check it out!

This caught my attention. For those who don't feel like searching for it: https://bazqux.com/

I like that it looks almost identical to (how I remember) Google Reader.

One of the best parts is the ability to add any FB, Instagram, Twitter users as a feed. BazQux automatically converts the user's feed into RSS and serves it up.

No more having to go to FB for updates from various organizations that don't have any other mechanism for publishing announcements! :)

That's the primary reason I don't use tt-rss myself. I switched to Miniflux https://miniflux.net/ and never looked back :D

Pretty much everything has RSS feeds. Random blogs, webcomics, even major sites like YouTube.

If it puts out content on a regular basis, chances are you can subscribe to it via RSS.

I think the OPs point is that there are very valuable first-party sources of information with RSS feeds that you shouldn’t ignore.

Basically, there is gold out there.

Facebook and Twitter both used to have RSS feeds, and stopped supporting RSS to force people to use their ad-heavy client interfaces. But that's not where the good stuff is. While "social" has dropped RSS, it's still doing great for real news.

I wrote a simple Twitter API to RSS script and have been using that to read Twitter (via Feedly) for a few years now. The downside is that you don't get tweets at anything even approaching real time (Feedly seems to hit my RSS once every 6 hours), but I find it just perfect for low volume Twitter feeds (like bands announcing new releases or shows).

There is still the option to make your own client or just buy something like Tweetbot which has no ads.

But I hear you. I find Twitter unusable without 3rd party client, and I think that is affecting my experience in an indirect way as well. I think the fact most people see ML picked tweets has caused fewer people responding to what I share now versus 4 years back.

And for the ones that don't, there is third party services that can monitor a site for changes and create a custom RSS feed from that.

Don't forget to just ask! I usually include a minimal RSS feed example in the email along with some bare basics explaintion. Works surprisingly well. Webmasters care?!

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>

<rss version="2.0">



<description>The takings of drugs</description>



<title>The weed</title>

<description>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.</description>


<pubDate>Sun Apr 01 2018 15:51:07 GMT+0200 (CEST)</pubDate>




<description>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.</description>


<pubDate>Sun Apr 01 2018 14:00:03 GMT+0200 (CEST)</pubDate>




Its just a text file. You can have as many items as you like, all parts speak for themselves except perhaps the time stamp[0]

The pubDate is optional but a lot of rss aggregators don't know what to do without it.

[0] - https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3339

CNN's web site and RSS feed both suck but, fortunately, they have a nice text-only version [0] of the site. It's the only way I read CNN.

[0]: https://lite.cnn.io/en

How can you tolerate CNN’s sophomoric clickbait plastered across their home page?

http://knn.press looks better, and that’s saying something.

Funny, I've set up a RSS reader again just this week.

Prior to that, my main source of information was google feed (when you sweep right on android main screen - for those who don't know it, it's a feed of news curated by google supposed to match our interests). I totally loved it, as it properly detected my interests and shown articles about them even from websites I don't know about.

But lately, I saw more and more posts I wasn't interested in. Well, it always happened, but those made me wondering because they were posts about brands, or very specific products. Was this promoted content? I don't have a clue.

Be it promoted content or not, I realized I was vulnerable: anything could be pushed to me and I would think I see it because I'm interested in it. And I have no way of checking why something appears in my feed.

So I decided to get back to RSS, and realized I could still have the discovery of new sources using... google alerts. I can set a google alerts using the advanced search semantics of google search, and get the result as a RSS feed. This means I discover new sources and I can verify why it appeared (it matches my custom search). Best of both world.

And obviously, I can also subscribe to specific RSS feeds to be sure to not miss something I love.

> it's a feed of news curated by google supposed to match our interests

Really? I've always found it to be awful, majority things I am not interested in.

I just checked, and only 2 in 10 were mildly interesting to me. Three of them were about sports, which is way off the mark for me.

Does it optimise based on my interactions with that application in particular, or is it meant to be linked with the rest of my google account?

Being pro-active about telling it which topics or sources you don't like helps a lot. My only wish is to say that I don't like a specific article. Often I get an article on a topic from a source I generally like but the specific article is junk.

When the last election's campaigns were ramping up, I went into my Google interests sections and made every effort to tell it I was disinterested in politics and the 2 big names. I only started getting MORE political content until it overwhelmed my feed. For a few months I tried swiping it all away whenever I checked, but seemed to get zero response. I then started telling it I'm not interested in any stories from any sources that report anything political. In other words, I blocked the mainstream media. It got significantly better, but it still tries to shoehorn in a few articles on these topics by pulling from obscure local news outlets that are from the other side of the country.

I've tried that with politics and sports, but it seems to be incapable of understanding what you DO NOT want to see.

It seems to be much more concerned about false negatives than false positives, showing you more instead of less simply because some metrics (like regional popularity) indicates you might like it.

Probably because you turn off tracking search history and targetted ads in your Google account's privacy settings

Are you logged in your google account while using google search? Also, do you often search using your phone?

It's been really accurate for me, providing news about things that are not especially "mainstream", like word embeddings, anything related to KDE or updates on games I'm currently playing. I do a lot of searches on my phone, maybe that's the reason.

I also find that it gives me articles of ... Dubious quality

Do you share your computer with other people - kids, significant other, other family members? I find that has really ruined google's ability to consistently suggest me useful things across its products. My 8 year old daughter has especially ruined youtube for me.

I tried autoplay one time then fell asleep. History showed me that it had been playing trump videos for 6 hours. Donald then followed me around for 2 months. (My hypothesis is that youtube is gradually changing all of us into ufologists.)

The trick seems to do some search query then click a lot of videos in the result. That seems to force a new hand.

A lot of people don't seem to be aware of it, but you can "tune" Google News by adding or deleting sources. I've tweaked mine quite a bit and it works well as a lazy news source. It's not as finely granulated as my RSS consumption, and it won't replace my RSS reader, but it's better than I at first thought it would be after adjusting the defaults.

After having to remove "recommended" news sources and articles all the time I decided to "tune" it by deinstalling the Google Search App altogether therefore removing News. I use feedly instead now and am quite happy with the added battery runtime.

Funny story, Google News, the web interface seems to have been abondonned by Google. The normal web interface that is, don't know about mobile. The "Sources" preference on news.google.com has a bug - whenever you try to block a new source, it replaces the old one, so you can only ever block one source at a time :D

Which isn't sufficient as their feed keeps showing material from Daily Mail and similar garbage. Skipping it manually isn't a problem, but it does take the space of meaningful news reports.

Users sent countless bug reports and started many threads on their forums since around June 2017, no reply. Nowadays I just aggregate aljazeera and reuters, way more efficient.

Not true. I just added a random number of blocked sources and none of them were replaced. Currently blocking 5 or 6 different sites. Chrome version 65.0.3325.181.

Heh, I guess they prefer you. Just tested with chromium 65.0.3325.181 and the bug is there. Have you tried leaving and coming back to the preference page?

Yes, I have. Quit and restarted Chrome. There's no bug. I'm afraid there's no way to reproduce the behaviour you describe.

I have Fox News, Daily Mail, CNN, and a number of other sources blocked. No issues whatsoever.

Interesting. So it's only broken for a small subset of people, which explains why they never even bothered answering. I suppose it is tied to my account then, since various laptops and browsers gave me the same behavior.

I've given up on that but haven't sought alternatives. I'm not sure what began influencing my feed, but even after removing sources, choosing what was useful and what I wasn't interested in, it still mainly gives me popular and political news, which were never set in my interests.

Other than that, it gives me information that's a day late, which makes things like one-day sales notifications for not useful.

I've largely switched to podcasts to make up for the content gap but would be interested in a aggregator that didn't try so hard to be smart.

You could also subscribe to superfeedr alerts - that is a paid service though.

definitely not enough "feed" for anyone

I've been a (paying) user of NewsBlur (https://newsblur.com/) since Google Reader shut down and haven't looked back.

p.s: In HN spirit, it also happens to be one developer's side-project-turned-profitable-business, and the "social" features a totally non-intrusive, but there if you want to know what people are sharing and commenting on.

A big plus for me is that NewsBlur is free software (MIT licensed): https://github.com/samuelclay/NewsBlur . It also comes with a nice API that can be used with several clients : https://newsblur.com/api .

I use NewsBlur as well ever since the demise of Google Reader. The native apps are fantastic and it’s been dead reliable. I feel the small amount I pay for it is totally worth it and is definitely one of my most used apps. I don’t think it gets enough love.

After Google Reader went away I was actively looking for a reader where, by giving the creator money, I was ensuring it would stick around. And also where I was the customer rather than the product. There's a free version you can use to try it out but it's limited in the number of feeds. And $24 a year isn't a high price for what I'm getting.

Looks like it's $36/year now.

Still easily worth it. I probably get my $2/month value's worth in a single couch session, throwing my saved YouTube feeds onto the Chromecast.

Newsblur is also YC S12. And it has been worked on ever since with some cool features: you can forward your newsletters to it and turn them into RSS feeds(!) for example.

That's a really awesome feature. Thanks for sharing that.

Yep, been using NewsBlur since almost day 1 and never looked back. The two killer features for me are (1) mouseless operation and (2) the blurblog where I can send favourite stories then make them available via a single RSS feed.

Did their Android app ever get any better? I used it from when Google Reader shut down until a couple of years ago, but always had horrible trouble with Android client (lots of people reported it being fine, but I think the differentiator was number of feeds - I had lots of feeds) getting into weird loops where it would just cycle through the same 10 stories.

I had that issue, yes it's been resolved.

That's good to know; it persisted (yet I persisted)for well over a year before I gave up and looked for other solutions.

I've been using Newsblur for years now. I love it most of the time, but it still has a lot of UI bugs/quirks that are occasionally frustrating. I might have to work up the energy for another round of GitHub issues.

Yes you should do this. I’m about to hire somebody to work on the NewsBlur web issues while I attend grad school. I have a strong feeling that a lot more is about to happen once I start hiring other developers to build it further.

After dropping off of Facebook and trying to cleanse myself of a Reddit addiction, I went to Newsblur for my daily news. It's been really great.

I am also using newsblur, after trying several other services

I was wondering where this would be mentioned - Newsblur is absolutely where I went as well, and I'm a happy paying customer.

Came here to upvote Newsblur + RSS, both are awesome!

Newsblur is great on the Apple TV.

RSS never went away. Podcasting has made careers (e.g. deboarah francis-white, roman mars, andy & helen zaltzman, ollie mann and many others). The technological underpinning of podcasting is entirely RSS. And it ain't going away, or getting embraced and extended any time soon.

Podcasting feels like an alternate reality where none of the massive players took over and everything stayed federated.

Yep. It's perplexing that a YouTube for podcasts (with centralized ad serving and similar profit sharing) hasn't emerged. The space is endearing - maybe that's why it is so vibrant?

I work for a company that tried to do exactly this and we ended up pivoting to enterprise once our technology matured. The money just isn't there, that's why this service doesn't exist. Podcasts are cheap to host and easy enough to produce that nobody is going to invest serious money unless they are a big producer like Gimlet, Slate, NPR, etc. In those cases they have their own resources and technology stacks. There's little need to rely on a third party like us.

Everybody else just used YouTube.

Well, distribution is fairly centralized [ADDED: in practice through iTunes/Google Play/etc.] and the hosting of the actual podcasts is cheap enough that throwing them on S3 or wherever isn't really a burden for most people. And advertising, when it exists at all, tends to be native advertising.

> The space is endearing - maybe that's why it is so vibrant?

That's true but arguably YouTube at least started out that way as well. I suspect that there are a number of factors; no single one I can think of (except maybe the hosting costs and that seems an unsatisfactory explanation by itself) really captures it.

I think it's decentralized partly because itunes doesn't integrate with any other services. So to serve android and IOS many podcasters NEED a single RSS feed that they point iTunes and other services to. Many relatively small services exist to help with hosting, and usually provide a hosted RSS link independent of itunes/whatever.

I really hate that many podcasters are trying to push their own app or their publishers / organizations app (even NPR is doing this). Getting everyone using the same platform is how podcasts will get youtubified.

The biggest thing I was surprised about when I started a podcast is that iTunes doesn't host or distribute podcasts. As an end-user, I thought I was getting iTunes content with podcasts. But in reality it's just an aggregator like reddit or HN: it's full of links, but those links are external and pull content from other places.

I was also surprised by how easy (and free) it is to get a podcast on iTunes, especially compared to getting an app on the App Store.

I suspect that a lot of it's just historical happenstance. Podcasting as we think of it today started ~2003 and was very intertwined with the development of RSS. The click-wheel iPod (which was really the breakout model) wasn't until the next year. And the current era of podcasting didn't really take off until it became easy to sync with smartphones.

So this was a case where Apple sort of came along for the ride and didn't see podcasting as being a big deal--which they were sort of right about; arguably even today it's somewhat mainstream but I'd bet the majority of people in the US have never listened to a podcast and certainly don't listen regularly.

Yeah another thing I'm surprised at, being a relatively new podcaster, is how often I approach people/businesses to interview them and they tell me they either don't listen to podcasts or don't even know what they are.

On a recent trip back home, I had some downtime and my device was broken, so I threw a bunch of podcasts on the Apple TV.

A few weeks later my dad calls to tell me he doesn't know how any of this works, but now he gets amazing content while driving, instead of just listening to the mostly ads that came through his antenna.

So.. just lack of awareness? Just fiddly enough to keep people away?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if tomorrow Apple or Google just subscribed everyone to 99% Invisible and waited, FM radio would be dead in a year.

Probably all of the above. Plus, for a lot of people, radio is mostly background noise that, in the case of news and talk radio, is always current. And there's always NPR to mostly avoid advertising.

Many people don't want to have to deliberately choose content a lot of the time. I've heard people argue that they don't want to always have to use Netflix because they can't just flip on a channel and/or channel surf.

Stitcher, Audible, Spotify, etc. are all trying, by creating walled gardens in the form of subscriptions. The end goal would be to create a youtube-like monolith for Audio media

I think what quickly became entrenched was the apps people used, which happened to be built on the decentralized model.

The directories are pretty centralized though they don't really need to be. I assume an app like Overcast draws from iTunes and/or Google.

Oh, yeah, that's true, but most of the apps have some sort of escape valve, right?

Typically you can always just add a URL manually.

That was what I was alluding to, yeah.

Isn't that what iTunes is? In the beginning, it seemed like the concept of a podcast and iTunes were intertwined.

Stitcher is trying to do this.

I love their UI, but the fact I can't load RSS feeds directly is making me look around for alternatives, so maybe it's a risky bet.

I’m on it: Tiny DataCenter. Lots of live hacking in the last month on my YouTube channel ‘iSpooge Daily’, info in latest post: https://ispooge.com/feed.xml — a 30min show and tell

Interesting you say that, I got into podcasts recently (a bit late I know) and found the space very confusing. It's kind'of all on iTunes, but not really, you can get them from their source sites, but also some apps have a subset. Understanding the model is not easy. I didn't know it was powered by rss until this thread. I am really pro federation, and I am not deterred, but I am an engineer on HN. I wonder why email, being federated as well, is easy for anyone to grok.

The email protocols are hell. Absolute hell. I don’t think anyone truly groks how it works all the way down either.

A big difference is that email has slowly been developed over a period of decades, and so a lot of great software (both libs and GUIs) were built on top of it, and “perfected” over the time.

Maybe what prevented RSS from reaching the same level of development is that RSS is only composed by “creators”, while email has no target audience.

An example: My server sends notification emails to the company automatically. Everyone is using gmail to view their emails.

When there is an update about a previous notification, I send an email with the in-reply-to header. Oh wait, gmail doesn't use that.

Alright, I'll just make sure that the subject line is exactly the same as the original notification (as gmail says to do). This works for a bit, but if someone hits reply-all, suddenly the subject line for the thread is now "Re: <the original subject>" and my followups no longer thread.

I'll just make sure that my followups always have "Re: " in them, so they thread whether or not people have been communicating on the thread. This mostly works, but if the update is a week or two later, gmail just decides they shouldn't thread.

This is on top of the fact that emails with similar subject lines occasionally thread together. This gets really annoying when you send automated emails where the subjects are the same except for an identifier of some sort (specifically to prevent threading).

And there's no way to give feedback to gmail about this. No way to forcefully thread or de-thread emails. You are just given the choice of gmail's threading or no threading at all.

Just don't use the web front end, access them using your favorite mail client using IMAP. Oh wait, google fucked that up too. Luckily most clients worked around the google bullshit over the years.

I very rarely have problems with the threading in Gmail. It seems to handle re: and fwd: correctly nearly all the time.

Some automated emails get threaded together when I'd prefer them separately (error notifications and other alerts) but it's minor enough that I've never even looked into whether there's a workaround.

Well you just need to start using a real MUA like outlook or thunderbird and drop gmail

I dropped both of those in favour of Gmail (and now Inbox) years ago much to my delight. What am I missing?

Features I've found missing from Gmail:

* A decent bulk actions interface.

* Threading

* Filter on email headers

* Apply rules based on message age (e.g. twitch "is now live" messages are irrelevant after 1 day.

Proper threading for starters.

I believe Gmail will thread when the message I'd and/or references reference each other. (Otherwise it's hit or miss, like you said.)


More and more i find myself wondering when it was we allowed Google to take over control of the net...

Good points - so federated email works so well because most of us decided to federate to a single server. Something sad about that.

Email is still pretty simple. It’s the stuff around email that has appeared for source validating and spam prevention that has complicated it...and really that’s not any one persons fault. Just people trying to solve a hard problem.

SPF, DKIM and DMARC seem to be making a real dent here though. DKIM is the most complicated to implement and manage since ideally you want to periodically rotate the keys and it has to be implemented at the sending server level instead of the DNS.

> Maybe what prevented RSS from reaching the same level of development is that RSS is only composed by “creators”, while email has no target audience.

I blame social media. It's basically their agenda to offer everything within there walled garden. And so it was only natural that FB at some point disabled RSS.

Fortunately, wordpress generates RSS per default so many will keep providing rss feeds (without even knowing about it)

Absolute hell is a bit of an understatement ;)

:-) RFC822 mail is fairly simple at its heart - X.400 was a lot more detailed

If you're a new implementor, you'll be shocked at how badly 822 was designed. Extracting even the simplest information from a message---the author's address, for example, or the sending date---is excruciatingly painful. And I see no sign that we'll ever be rid of the horrors of 822 syntax; how can we convince users to convert their old mailboxes to a sensible new format?


Well as some one who used to work on the UK's x.400 ADMD I would agree.

How ever TCP/IP protocols won the standards war which on balance is better - other wise you'd have what your PTT wanted to have sub :-)

"sendmail gets rather confused by bytes between 128 and 159; it uses them for internal macro handling."


That's got to be a sitter of a security hole for something, right?

According to the Wayback machine, that page is at least from the year 2000 or older, and the two example mails he gives are both from 1996. I would assume that any bug in sendmail which would have existed back then will be fixed by now.

Open solutions are always more confusing than centralised ones. End user podcast apps try to hide all the details an make it look like "here's an app with podcasts in it". But behind the scenes it is wonderfully messy. Same with email.

Any time you try to make things work without a single central point it makes the whole thing harder to grasp and explain. Open ID was another example. End-user contact points try to simplify things by "productizing" the offering and hiding the implementation details, with various degrees of success.

Pocket Casts is a nice podcast app.

They also have a nice web interface https://playbeta.pocketcasts.com/web/

There's a native OSX app, too, which has been mostly ok for me, so far. A few bugs occasionally, but it's better than running in browser in my experience.

Some "players" like Stitcher are trying their best to get away from that, though. And they're seeing moderate success, too.

I feel like podcasts have simply been overlooked by big media types, and the day is coming where enough power will concentrate and advertisers will only want to give money to networks instead of individual podcasts.

Enjoy the freedom while it lasts. I think 5 years from now, no individuals will be able to make money from it without joining a "network."

I did Stitcher for a bit. It was kind of ok. But the walled garden felt wrong and at some point I couldn't find a podcast on stitcher I wanted. So I found Downcast (iOS app). While it's not perfect, it does let me access my spaghetti-and-duct-tape BBC radio downloader easily.

True. But it certainly fell from grace. Prior to social media it was (paraphrasing) "Follow me via RSS" than morphed into "Follow me on social." Even site where RSS is baked in (i.e., WordPress) stopped mentioning it.

It never went away, but it certainly (sadly) got a serious demotion.

> andy & helen zaltzman

The Bugle and the Allusionist are tiny rays of light in these dark times. Podcasting is a simple and honest business: I download an MP3 and maybe listen, they get paid to read some ad copy.

I love how the term podcasting outlived dedicated personal music devices. For me it's testament to how solid the idea was.

Guess "box sets" is also doing that now everyone streams TV series.

It is the same in the media industry, RSS is everywhere. It is just that the end users seldom see it..

Could you elaborate on this, please?

What I mean is that it is often used as a transport format for when some component or app will need dynamic and styled text content that update over time. Often in web applications, but not always.

Firefox used to display and RSS icon in the url bar if the site had a feed, allowing you to subscribe you to "live bookmarks" - feeds: http://johnbokma.com/firefox/rss-and-live-bookmarks.html

This is completely hidden from the UI by now.

In Firefox, if you click the hamburger menu and select "Customize...", one of the things you can drag into either the menu or the button bar is an RSS feed indicator/subscribe button.

You wouldn't believe how much it matters what the default is; people don't customize any more.

Alt->Bookmarks->Subscribe to this page

It could be more prominent.

>"The technological underpinning of podcasting is entirely RSS."

Can you elaborate on this? How are they related?

iTunes doesn't host any podcast files. You (as a podcast host) provide them an RSS link and when an end-user subscribes to your podcast, iTunes merely grabs your RSS feed and has the end-user's phone download the latest episode from your servers.

The episodes are stores and distributed from the podcast host's own server. The podcast app is just an RSS feed reader.

Podcasts are audio files syndicated over RSS

I see, I did not know this, I guess I never bothered to look. Thanks.


Podcasts are just RSS feeds with a tag that points to an audio file.

RSS and Podcasting have a lot of common lineage with the guys who invented blogging. As that Wikipedia page states, the enclosure tag was added by Dave Winer, of Scripting News, which is the oldest continuously operated blog...arguably dating back to 1994.

If you haven’t tried RSS as your main mode of information consumption in a while, you should give it a shot. I went all-in on RSS recently and it’s been great. Way more thoughtful, long form content. Smaller dose information sources (Twitter, etc.) are useful in their own way, but I’ve found that the amount of time required to create a unit of media is a pretty good reverse indicator of how likely it is to use the baser emotions to acquire and keep my attention.

I've been using Newsboat (https://github.com/newsboat/newsboat) and Feeder (https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.nononsenseapps.feeder/ ) lately. I feel like I'm able to "cover" so much more news with these. It's just more efficient and focused for me, even though nothing is synced beyond the list of feeds (which I seem to only be adding or two every month). Next I need to re-think my usage of getpocket and newsletters, but the switch to relying more on RSS has been an overdue one.

I've been using Feedly ever since Google Reader died, it's still the first place I look.

I do wish I could have an easier time getting YouTube playlists in there[1], but video is really the only sore spot there.

[1]: Playlists will now only give the top n videos in a playlist, so you basically have to follow a channel feed instead.

As a compromise I’ve used PodSync[1] to feed specific channels into Pocket Casts so I can avoid having to go to YouTube.


> Way more thoughtful, long form content."

Isn't RSS the same content as on the publishers page or site though? Maybe I am misinterpreting you comment?

Yeah, it’s the same content. It’s just that if you switch to consuming it via RSS, you don’t get sucked into all the bite sized media that permeates the web.

I see, yes that makes sense. There's nothing that detracts from the reading experience more than an advertisement placed between two adjacent paragraph in s story. Even the moribund print news media doesn't do this.

You can gaze over (recent) publications from thousands of sources in about the same time it takes to look at a single website.

I've had pretty good results subscribing to a few select Twitter feeds via RSS. Some people do put useful content on Twitter, but the Twitter UI makes it very difficult to identify and extract.

This was a good ad for syndication. I'll definitely give it a new attempt. Thank you!

RSS is awesome. Bring on its resurgence.


It is fundamentally not fit as a Facebook or social media replacement because of it's lack of simple commenting support. It suits some curmudgeonly old farts like me, perhaps. But even I want to feedback sometimes or join in the discussion (hence this comment).

Are there solutions that a content creator can provide, via RSS, without requiring its readers to install particular jiggery pokery? Or is the only option HN / reddit style commenting sites, separate from the content?

I very much look forward to the day when ActivityPub becomes more pervasive in platforms...beyond websites/apps that interact directly with other sites/apps and other use-cases, ActivityPub should be a boon to comment systems. (I myself am in favor of decentralized comment systems...then again I'm biased IN FAVOR of most any decentralized platforms/systems. ;-)

I think HN might be the only place I read the comments. Missing the hell stew of a comments section is a feature as I see it.

Agreed. I was glad when npr.org removed their Disqus comments sections. Disqus comments on news websites tend to be very nasty and stain websites more often than not IMO. Disqus comments on local news sites are an absolute cesspool.

Funny because there was a time where Disqus comments actually improved the quality of commentary.

50% of the time I read the comments before/instead the link !!!

RSS is, fundamentally, just links to web pages. Why would it need to have built-in commenting? Just go to the linked page and comment there.

We don't need it to have comments. But I think the lack of commenting is the big problem of an RSS focused ecosystem.

Shooting comments off into the ether is fine by clicking the page and commenting there. But, if you have a couple of dozen blogs in your RSS feed, and leave a handful of comments a day, clicking back through the specific place to see if you've been responded to is way too much effort. Sites like HN, Reddit, and Facebook, have a central mechanism by which you can be notified.

In the '10s I had a blog with over 1000 readers, I had fewer comments, and less community than the replacement Facebook group has with a fraction of that number.

That may not be a problem for publishers who are purely interested in eyeballs. But that isn't all of them. If the aim is to free content from the walled garden (which I think is an important goal), then it matters.

Any decent commenting system lets you receive reply notifications. If some of them don't, the solution is to fix that, not split the userbase by constructing an entirely new, parallel comment system.

I'm not sure what you mean, sorry.

I've seen email notifications, but to me they are just as bad as subscribing to a lot of sites by email. That's kind of what RSS is for: aggregation. So yes, it means you don't have to click through sites, I accept that, but still not a good user experience. If you mean something else, let me know, I am interested.

I don't know what you mean by splitting the user base or constructing a parallel comment system. I'm just talking about how to provide commenting, as a content publisher. RSS + on-site page by page commenting (even with email notifications) has a fraction of the engagement (in my anecdotal experience) of FB.

Don't most blogging platforms have the option to email replies? In any case, I prefer a bit of friction in the comment process, since it discourages people from "shooting off" without thinking.

Usenet with dial-up was good for this. You'd compose your reply, then look it back up, read over, amend, perhaps delete or send later. It made for more considered responses.

I've noticed with HN it's very swarm-like and transient these days. Comment following is also difficult without some thread control. At a minimum you need collapsible threads. Too much to read, don't bother, say something that's been said already - and add to the noise. Or have a bypassed dangling leaf comment.

HN has collapsible threads nowadays (it's the [-] symbol on the post header).

Oh bloody hell, I never figured that out. Used to use some js for that.

It actually has <comments>

I love RSS, I think its much better than facebook. But having voting or a score on items would be nice.

RSS for headlines and federation of feeds, Disqus for comments.

Wouldn't that just make Disqus the new Facebook?

webmentions and microsub, please. Disqus is just another silo, it has nothing to do with RSS and federation.

Thanks for the pointer. What facility does webmention have to support moderation of comments on my articles?

I use my own RSS reader since around 8 years now. It has evolved quite a lot. Before I was using aKregator.

I started with a simple CherryPy project and a SQLite database. It is now using Flask, SQLAlchemy and React: https://www.newspipe.org/

I have something like 200000 articles in the database. And the oldest article is from February 1995!

Just a heads-up: Tried logging in before I got the confirmation e-mail, typo in error message:

> User is desactivated

Should probably be something like

> User account has not been activated yet. Check your e-mail, etc. etc.

Thanks, fixed. I used "Account not active", because an account can be deactivated later.

Maybe it will be even better to just say something like 'bad login and/or password'. In order to give the minimum of information.

Oh a whim I decided to grab an account. Very cool!

I'll likely use this.

Because I have never really used an RSS reader before I'll likely not have any biases as a user which I think is good.

I think one recommendation is that while Newspipe is pulling in a new feed for a new user, on the home page it should give a message like, "your posts will appear here"

Thanks, I appreciate.

I never thought about this. Good idea. Just updated Newspipe: https://github.com/newspipe/newspipe/commit/9479b9abf4bc3525...

Feel free to open issues on GitHub ;-)

I completely agree. When did RSS go out of style anyway?

The other day I wanted to subscribe to an author's posts on Medium, but I couldn't find a RSS feed anywhere, so I never did. Seems like a loss for the author to me, seeing as gaining influence and credibility is probably the goal of many who write posts. It would also seem as if Medium doesn't want to add RSS as it would take control away in terms of recommending content to people, etc. |

> When did RSS go out of style anyway?

It went away when Google killed Reader. Reader had more or less killed off the independent RSS reader market. When it got shuttered, alternatives weren't well developed and people shifted more or less entirely onto Twitter. The Twitter shift had been happening already but the shutdown kind of forced the issue.

I think you and HN in general vastly overstates the gravitas of the Google Reader shutdown. I loved it too but the demise of RSS happened probably more because of people switching to Twitter, Facebook and others as their "aggregator" than by killing off one RSS-Reader.

The only thing which killed Reader was Google management trying to make Google+ popular. Reader was extremely popular (and well outside of IT circles - I still hear from librarians, scientists, policy wonks, etc. who are bitter about Google taking away their information filter. In DC it was common to see other people on metro in the morning with the popular mobile apps open, just like you now see the Facebook blue) and the social network there was quite active until the day Google shut it down and forced everyone into the alpha-quality Google+.

If Google had just added comments or other social elements to their reader instead of killing it they might not have missed the boat.

Instead they killed their popular Reader and made Orkut and Google Plus.

They did have comments and other social elements [0]. It was possible to follow people and share articles with or without adding your own note to it. They had a bookmarklet that allowed you to share any article, even if it didn't have an RSS feed. Their move to Google+ sharing wasn't exactly an improvement though [1].

I never got why people moved to Twitter, it wasn't, and isn't, as good at consuming or sharing content as Reader was. It's just one more step towards the more centralized web we have today, and hopefully we will move back to a more decentralized experience soon.

[0] http://googlereader.blogspot.se/2009/03/google-reader-is-you... [1] http://googlereader.blogspot.se/2011/10/new-in-reader-fresh-...

The same could kinda be said for YouTube. That is, Goggle had a massive and active community, but it needed some tweaks. Instead they build Google Plus and wait for they to come. We know that outcome :)

I think the problem with RSS was - and still is? - is the data it provides. A social network can harvest MUCH more data (due to the endless number of connections between "the nodes.") RSS is too old school.

Put another way, imagine being hired by Google - while FB and Twitter are taking off - and being told you're going to work on a new & improved RSS reader. That would have triggered a mass exit.

Orkut is older than Reader, and was killed off just a year later. I don't think Google ever really bet on it, it was just a 20% time project that grew organically.

I agree. I never used Reader and I think I hardly heard of it before it was shut down.

I wasn’t a heavy RSS user, but had a few bookmarks in Firefox – and the same thing is doable today.

Those services used to also carry RSS, but they silently removed them not long after Google Reader shut down. That might be unrelated, but still.

Not true at all. Alternatives were already available when Google Reader(GR) closed, i.e. July 2013. Inoreader, which was feature-complete in regards to GR, was launched a month after the announcement in March. That's why Feedly hogged most of the momentum as it was released in 2008 already.

I would say Google Reader's discontinuation actually increased the popularity of RSS. The protocol was big news for a few weeks, and it sparked a lot of new services which made news themselves.

I don't know whether feeds usage was growing but it was not comparable to social media. At that time papers were increasingly adding paywalls and didn't show any signs of embracing feeds any further.

Op's example is a textbook example of what happened to me. I used to have a lot of RSS feeds in Google Reader, when it closed I never moved anywhere else because at the time there wasn't an obvious alternative.

Why not just an RSS aggregator program / app? Like those which preceded and continued after Google Reader. They're no more difficult to use, you just add feeds and the program does the rest. And no login required.

It seems odd to me to take a federated protocol, centralise it in a proprietary system and then shrug and forget RSS when that goes away.

I was on Akgregator for years, then Bamboo in Firefox, now on QuiteRSS now that Quantum has killed Bamboo. All using the same imported OPML file of feeds.

> Why not just <overly simple thing>

Which self hosted RSS aggregator contains an easy to deploy, backup, and maintain ecosystem (easier than Dokuwiki), an Android and iPhone app, that all work synchronized together...

It's overly complicated to set up and maintain the infrastructure needed for most people. Time costs a lot.

Feedly is fantastic. Coupled with Reeder on iOS it more than replaces.

I'm curious about your comment. Why don't you use Feedly by itself? Why/how do you combine Feedly with Reeder?

Feedly's mobile app has pretty bad UX (or at least that's been my experience every time I try installing it on Android).

For example, in the article list view, there's a single basically-identical swipe left/right gesture to...

  * mark single article as read
  * mark single article as unread
  * mark all articles on page as read
  * mark all articles on page as unread
The difference between marking a single article and marking all articles seems to be based on how far you've swiped, but if (for example) you don't release your swipe and keep moving your finger further after it's marked all as read, it suddenly does the opposite and marks all articles as unread. The direction of the swipe (left or right) doesn't seem to control whether you're marking read/unread -- it's (in my experience) been completely arbitrary what it decides to do, regardless of swipe direction. It's ridiculous how painful it is, and it's basically been this way for as long as I can remember.

The app has really poor bulk management of articles, so I just turn to other apps. Currently I'm using News+, which has superior bulk management capabilities... but it hasn't been updated in forever (and is buggy in other ways).

Reeder works with multiple backend providers, Feedly being one of them. I do the same, have had a great experience.

Reeder's app feels less heavy than the feedly equivalent. That said, it's what you feel familiar with! I can parse 200-300 posts in a 20-30 min commute and i think the ux helps focus my attention.

Google Reader wasn't just an RSS client, it was social. you could subscribe to your friends feeds, see what they were interested in etc.

Google Reader was a social network around RSS

(I also think there was in platform commenting too?)

It didn’t had a comment system, but you could share an article with a comment attached to it.

Google shutting down Reader 'killed' RSS and made people move to Twitter? You might want to look outside the cage a bit, the world is a lot bigger. Neither Google Reader nor Twitter 'killed' RSS (a syndication protocol, not a hosted service).

I never used Google Reader nor Twitter but RSS has seen plenty of use here, from following commits to projects to simply following news sources. I currently use the News reader [1] for Nextcloud, sometimes in combination with one of the Android apps compatible with the former. Works fine, no Google nor Twitter needed, no spurious censorship, no centralised data mining.

[1] https://github.com/nextcloud/news

Interesting what would happen if Google were to bring back reader? (given that google+ has flopped completely, they might want to get some following back)

There are numerous alternatives to Reader, and a lot of people are using them.

Medium has had RSS for quite a while, it just didn't link them in a page's metadata. I believe they do now.

For example:

https://medium.com/feed/flockademic (publication)

https://medium.com/feed/@flockademic (user)

The latter also includes responses to stories though, which can be noisy.

Oh wow thanks I didn’t realize there was a comment free version, that’s very handy. I worry though if rss is a secret feature that will get the axe someday since I was never able to find any reference to rss on the sites themselves and only came across the noisy @ version by chance from some other random comment on the internet someplace.

It went out of style for the mainstream because they haven't (yet) figured out how to lace it with ads.

John Gruber (daringfireball.com) charges around $7000 a week for one sponsored RSS article on Sunday and a follow up post thanking the sponsor on Friday. It can be done for small publishers in a tasteful way.

Many websites which rely on paid adds put only the title and first paragraph in the RSS feed with a link to the article. But that notification is pretty convenient, so I'm still willing to use those sites' RSS feeds.

That is a keen observation. I guess rss is a technology from simpler and more explorative times of the internet instead of the current oppressive and commercialized phase we are going through now.

Eh, the surveillance was weaker, but I'm not sure about the commercialization. RSS is from 99/00, the era of Punch The Monkey flash banner ads and dozens of popups and popunders.

From what I can tell, RSS was the equivalent of today's OpenGraph. It was a tool for a company (Netscape) to slurp content into its portal. It's just that AOL then blundered when they bought Netscape and removed support for RSS, which then became a de-facto standard format.

In fact, as RSS popularity wanes, a feed reader that can reader OG tags is probably a good idea.

They provide feeds, but don't show a link anywhere on the UI (which is strange).

[1]: https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/articles/214874118-RSS-feed...

Not that strange, every site on which I've looked for it has RSS/atom feeds where relevant, but hide them (eg this, github, etc).

Interestingly enough, Firefox has a "feeds" section when looking at page info, which will show RSS feeds included in the meta tags (which they all seem to be).

So really, I've never stopped using RSS, not sure how to go "back" to it. I understand the whole thing with Twitter killing it but as a dev I use RSS as todo lists and that still works wonders.

> I use RSS as todo lists and that still works wonders

How as todo lists?

Mostly versions of projects too small to notify you by email (but still important enough to keep up to date).

Edit: To elaborate, gitlab and github have RSS feeds of tags, which devs use as releases. New tag = new release = another item in my RSS feed. Which means there's something for me to do.

That's the actual problem. I don't get why everyone is putting such a strong emphasis on the google reader shutdown. It's the fact that everyone stopped providing RSS feeds. Probably because you can't put 500 tracking pixels and ads and scripts in them, so they hope by shutting them down people will visit the page directly more frequently. Which might actually work out in general.

I have not experienced this. In my experience only niche, self-built websites offer no RSS feed. Plus there are other ways to make your RSS feed "useless" by only providing a title and the opening sentence, that way people will have to visit your site for the full content.

You can't show ads in it. I even asked a few sites to set it up a few years ago but they wouldn't. They wanted the income from the ads to run the site.

To me, RSS and Twitter/FB/etc are very different things. With RSS you are „alone“ while reading it. There’s no one to discuss things with you. I‘m not really qualified to make this statement, but I‘d say RSS feeds don’t have a social component, leaving your limbic system (responsible for social interaction) widely out of the process. You process the info and that’s it.

With Twitter, everything is attached to a social context. If a link is posted by your personal idol, you engage in (pseudo?) social behavior if you read it. You may then feel compelled to discuss it, and you will feel rejected if nobody answers, or very good if you get a lot of likes. So, lots of limbic/social interaction.

Both have their merits.. without Twitter, I would have a content discovery problem, and with (only) Twitter I‘ll live in a bubble, plus my IRL social interactions might be somewhat crowded out by the interactions on Twitter, plus Twitter can make me feel socially miserable for very petty reasons.

Personally I would love a system that combines my personal RSS feed with recommendations resulting from mining Twitter and applying ML to generate relevant results.

Well, one reason Google Reader’s closure was such a loss was because it added a social layer to RSS. And it was a completely optional and non-intrusive social layer. I really wish Google had tried to enhance Reader instead of killing it to promote Google+. Allowing the ability to post short messages in your shared feeds would have made it very Twitter like, only nicer.

They should kill Google Plus and resurrect the Reader.

Agreed. Imagine having an RSS feed for all the posts here on Hackernews and just reading that instead. I come here mainly for the comments - and not usually to debate or discuss even - a lot of times to contextualize the content in question because inevitably someone more knowledgeable will post their thoughts about it. RSS is not a panacea and it is no replacement for social platforms.

Something more sexy than just...


...would be nice.

Such a nerdy website should really publish an OPML for its top tabs.

It would be truly nerdy if they would crawl for available feeds from front page news articles and build an OPML out of that.

Flat lists of feeds works too. Imagine an OPML or a flat list of feeds including everything with more than 100 points from the last 30 days.

Noobs will probably cry about it being larger than 4 items but if it is 100 000 feeds it would truly be an awesome thing that I will worship like a god.

Are you aware of hnrss.org? Not my site but one I find extremely useful.

Have been using https://inoreader.com since the Year Google Reader closed, and imho, it's better than Feedly.

I'm also usually reading HN via my full-text feed. Meaning, I don't have to load a link every time, I focus on the articles first, and I can easily pre-load everything for offline reading on mobile.

I think, in case of RSS such online services are superior to self-hosted solutions - whether server or client - as there is a greater chance someone is already aggregating a feed you might discover only some time in the future.

What makes it better than Feedly? I've been using Feedly since Google Reader closed and I think it pretty much nails this simple tool. How is it even possible to be much better?

The dev has always been really responsive and closely watching the community, while Feedly focuses on premium support and feels more corporate.

Several features are free: Unlimited sources and feeds, entire search for your own feeds, unlimited tags, sharing via inoreader email

There is also: loading of mobilized content via single click/key, better shortcuts, comprehensive tagging management, more settings, better settings placement, contact management, better feeds stats info, save an entry as pdf or print it, more sharing options, better compact theme, more RSS export settings, export the entire profile which includes the content for favorites and save web pages

Free Feedly boards are limited to 3 and have been only introduced last year, while tags in Inoreader are more powerful, free and part of the service since 2013

Now that I'm trying Inoreader, the killer feature for me is being able to open items in background tabs. Too bad that requires a plugin for Firefox.

Are you talking about the keyboard shortcut? If so, there is no need for an addon on Firefox.

When I tried the keyboard shortcut without the addon, it just triggered a popup saying I needed the addon.

Ah, yeah, you're correct. Firefox had changed the permissions for this some time ago.

You can optionally toggle the browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground value in about:config to true, then the v shortcut will open in background.

That said, I find the add-on a must-have. I'm always using it to save web pages. Do not forget to check the HTTPS option in setting, though.

As a reference [1]:

browser.tabs.loadInBackground => when you open a regular link in a new tab using Ctrl+click (or right-click > Open in a New Tab) default = true, do not make the new tab active In the Options dialog/page, this is controlled by the "When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately" setting.

browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground => when you divert a script-generated new window to a new tab using Ctrl+click, or when a page uses the target attribute to launch a link in a new window and you divert it to a new tab default = false, make the new tab active

browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground => when you load a bookmark in a new tab using Ctrl+click (or right-click > Open in a New Tab) default = false, make the new tab active

[1] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1066419

Thanks! That actually fixes my biggest problem with Feedly if this Inoreader trial doesn't work out for me.

You mean a web extension, not a plugin.

Probably, I don't know the difference.

I've been a Feedly user since GoogleReader shutdown and i've recently been working on my own news aggregator / rss reader because i wanted to have my rss feeds and also a GoogleNews-like view of the news of the day in the same app. If you have some time to spare, i'd love to have your feedback!

Major reason why I moved away from Feedly and The Old Reader and now use Inoreader: no limitation of number of feeds for the free version

I dropped Feedly for the most basic reason possible: it didn't display my feeds readably. I read a lot of math blogs and the TeX formulas in them didn't show up in Feedly (and maybe a few did appear but with incorrect spacing). Inoreader renders them just fine.

This was years ago, and back there was already a feature request on Feedly's website asking for this to be fixed. I just took a look at that request it looks exactly the same, so either they haven't done anything about this (most likely) or they fixed it but forgot to close the issue.

I don't read many blogs that have TeX formulas, but that's still a nice feature for when they do pop up.

It's not just nice but necessary. I didn't give up Feedly because it was merely incovenient, but because I often couldn't understand a blog post without the formulas.

I just open the actual site when that happens, which makes the feature a convenience rather than a necessity. I can't remember the last time that happened to me though. If this were affecting me regularly I'd probably feel like you.

Whenever I'm on slow internet I appreciate loading "mobilized content" - it will show you contents of the article right on the site. Also in general it felt a lot faster than feedly (left 2yrs ago though, feedly might've changed).

How do you get "mobilized content" in Inoreader? My experience using both now is that Inoreader cuts off some of my longer feeds at the fold with a link to the site while Feedly displays the entire contents of every article.

I've always had Feedly set to display the full article in the reader. It's been a feature since the day I switched from Google Reader. Is "mobilized content" different from that?

Not sure what Full article means since I wasn't on feedly for so long but I guess you mean only what the feed exposes to you (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/rss there's always only Comments link). But if I say mobilized content in inoreader it downloads the website, parses it and shows it to me https://i.imgur.com/b09hh6Y.png

Oh, I prefer just having the content and not all the other garbage the site includes.

I also tried out Feedly and about 5 different readers when I needed to switch. Inoreader had the best UI and was free.

My question was what makes the UI better. I guess I'll just have to try it and see.

I've continued using RSS for years, even when it was a "dying" technology. It certainly never died for me, and is super useful. It's probably the first app I reach for in the morning. I use a few apps not mentioned here. Each is for a Unix/Linux platform: Newsbeuter is a console RSS feeder that's a dream if you prefer keyboard driven software. You can update one feed or all of them, search across all feeds for key words, export to OPML, etc. I also used curn, a java app that can email you your custom feed update whenever you run it with cron. Lastly, rawdog updates feeds and publishes a custom web page. I use it on a VPS running a webserver, and visit it from wherever I like. RSS has been a good way for me to stay in touch with individual bloggers etc who publish sporadically. And I inherently distrust any software that wants to customize a feed for me based on my interests, etc. I always suspect they are more focused on pushing to me what others have paid them to push, than showing me what they think I'll like. How can any paid company ever keep straight those two inherently different things? ("Here, I think you'd like this because I earn money if you do").

> RSS has been a good way for me to stay in touch with individual bloggers etc who publish sporadically.


This has to be the main selling point.

The second would be to NOT use a web service but to run your own desktop feed aggregator. Everyone should stop using walled gardens for things you can easily do yourself:

YOU should be responsible for what you publish - no one else.

YOU should be responsible for what you read - no one else.

It doesn't work any other way. I'm not able to decide what you can and cant write on your blog. I'm also not able to decide what you can and cant read.

If your crap ends up on my webserver in whatever way I will be responsible for it(!)

Someone once said: When you grow up you have to be your own mum. It might sound like a lame joke but if you want lame nothing can beat a formula where one ends up responsible for what other people publish. Any amount of needless centralization will have the usual suspects pressure that entity into censorship.

What is legal in one country will land you in prison in the next.

Employers, government, border and airport security etc cant "ask" you for access to your home desktop computer.

But more importantly: Without RSS you cant read small websites that rarely publish. This also means you don't have to make your own website anymore in 2018 because no one reads it.

I've tried Feedly but my goodness, the corporate language is such a turn off. I just want a feed reader, I don't want to "Fuel your team's success," "Enrich articles with unique insights," "Automate your content workflows," "Reinforce your digital brand". These features may be cool and useful, but the way they're sold makes me gag.

I used my ad blocker to remove the "Well done!" that appears when everything is marked as read, it's so patronising.

Now I use rrss (https://github.com/pmarinov/rrss) because it just reads feeds and doesn't constantly promote itself with management garbage.

I think it was Feedly that has sent me a survey asking what I want them to work on. My reply was that it does its job just fine. Reduce the team to a skeleton crew and slip into maintenance mode.

It seems dangerous to keep expanding the feature set because you are just expanding your future maintenance budget.

I don't think I've ever shared a single thing from my news reader. I don't want people sending me stuff so it only seems right that I don't spam them.

This. Sadly though VC money doesn’t really align with a reasonable rate of return. Seems Feedly did take on a $1M round a little while back - that said they’ve been around since 2006...

I use it everyday, one of my favourite apps — hope they’ll keep the product around in its present form for a long while yet.

To me inoreader.com is the perfect Google reader like feed reader. I don't get all the fuzz about feedly, there are better alternatives. just my $0.02

Agreed. I switched to Inoreader after several weeks of looking for an alternative to Google Reader and I haven't looked back since. I've had a great experience; their Android app is very good and they seem to have a reasonable business model.

The UIs on Feedly and Newsblur didn't suit me at all. As I recall Feedly made it very difficult to even read the articles. Inoreader has the nice two-column view Google Reader and mail apps like Fastmail use.

Tried first The Old Reader but at some point of time switched to Inoreader for a reason I can't remember anymore but Inoreader has been really awesome all the way <3

I went the same route, but The Old Reader at one day announced shutting down for all users that came after Google Reader's end.

They reverted this a few days later but by then I was on an alternative already (could have been tt-rss then)

When Google Reader died Feedly was the easiest alternative to switch to.

For a few years I continued to use third party clients for reading, as most of them transparently supported Feedly the same way as Google Reader.

Lately I've just started using Feedly directly, and I don't have too much of an issue with it.

I should note, I rarely use the web interface. Since around 2009 I've used mobile apps for my news feeds.

I switched from Feedly for inoreader. They have good iOS app as well.

I had the same issue with Feedly's "features". I've maintained a stylish extension for Feedly that I keep adding to. Every time they add something that I don't want to see, I hide it via css. Thanks for the prompt, I just hid the patronising "Well done" that's been annoying me.

If anyone else wants to try to strip feedly back, they can try my css here: https://gist.github.com/wvl/4cd7d7d314fe9a544f2851296db61bb9

All I wanted from Feedly was to scroll properly. The way it scrolls killed RSS feeds for me.

Maybe that's too harsh, in reality it was a shared effort between Google Reader being killed off and Feedly's scroll thing but I've not used RSS feeds for anything but podcasts since.

I would love to go back to RSS feeds but my word would it take an absolute diamond of a service to pull me back

I’m viewing RSS on feedly.com for years. I just checked the features in Feedly Pro. It says that the free tier is limited to 100 sources, while Pro gets you unlimited sources. What does this mean? I’ve already added over 500 sources and it seems to work fine.

You had the account before they put the limit in place.

As for the parent comment, read my two posts here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16721859

Indeed. I just tried Feedly on Android and it just gets in the way. It's awful. Suggestions are disgustingly location aware (why am I getting only feeds from my mother language?).

I need folders and a panel to read my rss feeds, everything else is fancy SPAM.

Agree but use feedly as a backend and reeder as the front.

I had the same problem with Feedly. Just the other day I set up a server on NearlyFreeSpeech and threw Miniflux (a PHP RSS reader) on there. It's not polished but it is nice to be in control.

I never actually left NetNewsWire. It's kinda crappy in a lot of ways, but it's also "good enough," at least for my purposes.

I selfhost FreshRSS, it's awesome and uses an SQLite DB.

Oh my goodness is that an inane complaint.

Eh, I dunno. The light gamification of every. single. thing. I interact with definitely gets old. Some times I just want a tool to be a tool, not an interactive "experience" that tells me "good job!" or gives me a Gold Star after I perform random task X.

If given the choice between a service that just does its job, and one that 'engages me as a user', I'd tend to choose the former most of the time -- doubly so for something like a reader.

> THE MODERN WEB contains no shortage of horrors, from ubiquitous ad trackers

This is from a page that connects to (excerpt):


Yeah, but to be fair, the journalist who wrote this has little to no influence over the analytics choices made by the web developers who run wired.com.

Sure. Couldn't help to notice the irony though :)

Well, you gotta write about what you know! /s

Hot take: we should revive ATOM instead.

RSS and ATOM are both nearly always machine generated and machine read so this may seem trivial to argue, but for those who are interesting in seeing the difference, this is a good article http://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/Rss20AndAtom10Compared


When I wrote a forum software a while back, it was trivial to not only add a feed for new threads but also for new comments (per thread and board-wide). Made it very easy to monitor updates on all my devices. Most wikis have RSS/ATOM feeds for recent changes which is a great power feature for admins.

Mastodon is atom-based, I believe. Early twitter supported RSS / ATOM feeds which arguably made it easier to follow hashtags or news accounts.

Another benefit of RSS/ATOM is that you can plug them into chatbots or use them to mirror content. I would love to see syndication come back to the spotlight!

This brings back memories of the syndication-format wars.

And not good ones, either. RSS 0.9x versus RSS 1.0 versus RSS 2.0 versus Atom versus CDF versus whatever else people came up with, and which formats are relatively self-contained versus which ones had to go borrow elements from other XML namespaces and whether you should "helpfully" supplement your feed (or even your XHTML!) with stuff pulled from Dublin Core, which formats have associated publishing protocols that actually work, the mess of trying to fit arbitrary content formats into feeds and bumping into XML arcana along the way and encouraging people to put autodiscovery links in their sites and...

Thankfully, for many years now I've published only an Atom feed, and it works, and that's that. And for reading I use Reeder, with a paid service that tracks my subscriptions and read/unread status, and it seems to just work. That wasn't always the case.

I wrote tweets2rss[1] and use it to turn my private lists into RSS feeds. For example, I have a feed in my RSS reader for interesting people (Bill Gates, Elon Musk, etc) and a list for interesting companies.

  [1]: https://github.com/dannysu/tweets2rss

Hey, this seems neat; I think I'll check it out. Thanks for contributing this!

intertwingly.net! Now that brings back memories! Sam Ruby, Dave Winer, Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, Tim Bray, Mark Pilgrim, Joe Clark. XML, DTDs, XML Schema, Relax NG, XSL, XSLT, FOP, CSS and XHTML! WaSP, micro formats (and XML-RPC, SOAP, and WSDL (pre-WS-Death Star). Oh, heady days!

Apologies for the pedantry, but a nit: It's Atom, not ATOM. It's not an acronym like RSS.

Once upon a time in the days of my youth, Sam linked to something I wrote, and seemed to approve or at least not completely think I was wrong. Made my entire month.

I miss those crazy idealistic days.

That comparison article is great! Is there anything that also compares JSON Feed too? https://jsonfeed.org/

As far as Twitter goes, I use TwitRSS to generate RSS feeds from of a couple of users. https://twitrss.me/

Very much agreed. Chris Wellons has a good description of why Atom supersedes RSS: http://nullprogram.com/blog/2013/09/23/

Adding Atom support to anything is trivial even without using a library, and there is a good schema for validating feeds: http://cweiske.de/tagebuch/atom-validation.htm

That server's not responding, at the moment.



Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact