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Ask HN: RSS Reader that doesn't suck?
9 points by guynamedloren on Feb 5, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments
So apparently I'm a bit late with the whole RSS thing. I've always had a general idea of what they were, but I've never really looked into them before. I thought RSS was only delivered through e-mail =) I had no idea RSS readers existed up until a few minutes ago, when I was setting up RSS for my blog and discovered Google Reader through Feedburner. Conceptually, they are awesome. Visually, they are the ugliest things I have ever seen. Google Reader is messy and cluttered... and apparently it's the best one there is.

They make a lot of sense and I could see myself using one instead of manually checking my favorite blogs. I googled around for a few minutes and couldn't find anything decent. I figured the iPad would probably have something nice, and I was right. Every single one of the RSS readers for iPad look awesome - especially Reeder. Too bad I don't have an iPad. Are there any web-based RSS reader apps like the iPad apps? If not, I might just have to hack something together this weekend. This could drive me crazy.

It depends on what kind of a computer user you are. If you are a pure online person then Google Reader is perfect, if you never want to be bothered by new RSS feeds, and just want to check them whenever then there is NetNewsWire, which will sync with Google Reader, so that if you have multiple computers you won't have to redo your RSS Feeds every time. If you like notifications for whenever new feeds come in, then Sociolite is a good app. If you like everything built in, just in one place. Outlook and Mail.app both have the ability to add RSS Feeds.

If you're using Windows, the closest thing you'll find is Feedly which is a Firefox addon.


Incidentally I am creating a RSS Reader (actually much more than that) which is very similar to Flipboard in terms of the interface. But unfortunately, I probably won't have it ready for at least a few more months. Email me if you're interested in knowing a bit more, or helping out (I could use some help with the coding)

I find it's not so much the reader itself thats the problem with RSS, but the fact that everybody broadcasts their content differently. Some blogs include a full article, some just a few lines before asking you to click though to their site. Some embed images, some even ads.

If you have dreams of sitting down to a nice application and reading people's feeds in an orderly, unified fashion you might be disappointed.

I wouldn't consider myself a design snob by any means, but I will not be using Google Reader because it's just unpleasant to look at and navigate. If I had the choice between visiting blogs manually and reading their feeds via Google Reader, I would visit them manually. Now if you throw iPad Reeder into the mix, I would definitely choose iPad Reeder - it seems pleasant, and that's what I want when I'm reading/browsing. I think I can handle those little imperfections you mentioned. Worse case scenario, I click through to the site.

> If you have dreams of sitting down to a nice application and reading people's feeds in an orderly, unified fashion you might be disappointed.

And I don't think it's as much as a dream as it is a preference. Have you seen the iPad RSS readers? I don't think I'm asking too much, this isn't rocket science.

I personally don't use any of the traditional RSS readers that allow you to browse feeds one by one and look at their headlines. I personally want to see everything in a single overview, on a large canvas.

Therefore, I use the iGoogle homepage. It allows you to add a bunch of feeds and show each feed's latest 3 to 10 headlines, all together on a single page, separated in 3 by N blocks.

I'm using the A1 iGoogle theme for its simplicity, and the User CSS Safari extension to remove any further distraction.

If I may ask without myself attempting to accumulate the history, have you kept up to date on the whole Sage not being maintained, Sage / XSS vulnerability, Sage-Too fork, Sage-Too being abandoned due to feelings in general about freeloaders (or was that Sage?), someone's custom patch........ thing? I checked out of it all year or two ago when I rebuilt the system it was installed on.

If Sage addressed the XSS concern(s) and is being maintained, I'm tempted to reinstall it.

Wow. May/June, 2008. Has it been that long since the topic was current? But, Hasegawa's name definitely looks familiar.

Thanks. I'll give the current version a go. I enjoyed Sage's nice, simple interface. Works well in combination with Scrapbook, too.

Tried it. Unfortunately, it slowed things down to the point of being usuable. In particular, it seemed to cause endless thrashing as (All In One) Sidebar tried to display favicons in the Bookmark Manager and Scrapbook.

There are some user-scripts/extensions for Chrome/Firefox that beautify Google-Reader. I find they help make it suck less. YMMV

Thanks for the tip. I just found Feedly.com (with associated chrome extension) and it's the closest thing I've found to perfect. It's a bit bland, though. I think there could be something better out there.

Netnewswire http://netnewswireapp.com/ for mac or Feeddemon http://www.feeddemon.com/ for windows

I can second the nomination for NetNewsWire if you're on a Mac. It is one of my favorite apps. NNW syncs with Google Reader (which I also despise) if you're away from your own computer and need to look up something in your feeds. I haven't used FeedDemon, but am told it is similar to NetNewsWire in quality. [Protip: I use a script with NetNewsWire to automatically back up my flagged (saved) feeds into DevonThink (http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/index....), and it has saved me a great deal of time on research. The DevonThink AI helps me find connections I might otherwise miss. I have a ridiculous number of feeds I follow, though.]

And I'll second FeedDemon for Windows. I've been using it for probably 3-5 years and it's the definitely a piece of software that I use more and more through the years.

Reeder is also available for Mac: http://madeatgloria.com/brewery/silvio/reeder

It's public beta, but it works pretty well so far.

I would have to add http://www.netvibes.com - i've been using it for years now and it's plain awesome.

I love NewsRob app on my android, it syncs with my Google Reader for offline use.

Reeder for mac is still in Beta but it's pretty good.

im telling you, forget all the other posts, and try www.feews.com -- you will thank me.

Hmmm, well it is simple, clean, and much more intuitive than Google Reader, but still not exactly what I had in mind. My search continues.

guy what are you looking for? they just launched, so there will be more features every week/month but they are focused on maintaining the simple clean intuitive design.

one thing i requested was to group stories from multiple feeds together

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