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Ask HN: Do you still use RSS?
88 points by zabana on Dec 30, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 120 comments

Yes, I consume:

1. Twitter via Twitter lists using Feedbin: https://feedbin.com/blog/2018/01/11/feedbin-is-the-best-way-...

2. Email newsletters via RSS (also thanks to Feedbin): https://feedbin.com/blog/2016/02/03/subscribe-to-email-newsl...

3. HN via hnrss.org[†]

4. Reddit via subreddit RSS. (Just add .rss after the subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/golang.rss )

5. A small selection of hand-curated blogs and friends' sites.

If the firehose ever seems too overwhelming (>200 new items), I generally just skim the titles for stand-out items and then mark all as read guilt-free.

[†] For example:

- hnrss.org/newest?points=50

- hnrss.org/whoishiring/jobs/?q=React

- hnrss.org/replies/?id=youruserid

Thanks for the hnrss.org examples!

I do the same thing. I subscribed to one private Twitter list in Feedbin and add/remove the relatively few people I want to read reliably.

re: subscribing to the HN firehose on Feedbin. Has anyone else noticed that Feedbin does not seem to handle that well? Right now it says 526 unread items, whereas it in fact should rather be a few thousand items. Is there some lossy aspect to subscriptions on Feedbin, like upper limit of number of items?

I've just started using Feedbin about a month ago, and although my HN firehose feed is at like 1100 something, it definitely limits the rest of the HN feeds. The show and ask feeds are both stuck around 400 something.

I just discovered Feedbin and never paid for a RSS Reader before. Is it really worth paying 5$ ?

I save at least $5/month in time and sanity by using Feedbin instead of twitter directly.

There’s a 14-day free trial so you could try it yourself to see if you get value from it.

> Is it really worth paying 5$ ?

For me, it's worth way more, but I think this mostly depends what $5 is worth to you. Do you occasionally pay $5 for a beer, cocktail, coffee, or glass of wine? It's worth way more than any of those.

Yes. I don't understand how else I'm supposed to receive content without constantly rechecking everything and having to remember where I stopped previously.

What is more, I've got bunch of scripts that do keyword search for topics that interest me on Reddit/Hackernews/GitHub/pinboard and generate private RSS feeds. That way I can quickly skim through them once in a while and stay up to date without having to do manual searches.

P.S. if the website doesn't support RSS, you can still use one of feed generators that basically scrape the website now and then and generate the feed. I've used http://fetchrss.com so far, there are also some open source/selfhosted alternatives like https://github.com/RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge

Of course. Podcasts are the one "hidden" usage of RSS that many people don't know about.

That's actually how it should be. RSS is a "machine talks to another machine" thing.

I have an IRC bot that relays RSS feeds into IRC channels: https://github.com/bhaak/cinchfeed2ircbot

I also have a little static pages generator that fetches RSS feeds and turns them into minimalistic web pages to read through on mobile devices. I have to clean that up somewhat for putting on "Show HN" these days.

Yep, every day. I do notice that it’s getting worse, though. Many websites’ feeds are just broken these days. They’ll randomly refresh after months of inactivity with dozens of new articles from the intervening period; or they’ll re-list a slew of previously listed entries; or it’ll be entirely random whether a new entry shows up when a new item is posted on the website, such that I can only take an entry as a sort of “unread badge reminder” for the website rather than taking each RSS entry in my reader as an individual article I should read.

I think some of this is the fault of bad RSS feeds being generated by bad CMS software that never gets its RSS path tested; but other parts of this are the fault of the RSS feed getting fronted by a CDN like Cloudflare, or the URL pulling the feed in through some sort of PuSH hub with non-compliant retrieval semantics, or etc.

It’s gotten me to feeling that I should be writing software to synthesize my own RSS feeds from these websites using scraping, with the RSS feed itself just being an edge-triggered “no longer fresh” trigger to get the site put back into the scrape queue. Most of the sites I subscribe to have very simple linear indices available somewhere anyway, so scraping that into a feed really shouldn’t be that hard. (I remember when Dapper was trying to do this, but Dapper was trying to solve the problem in full generality for even cases where the site generates “changes” without creating new permalinked entry URLs, which is hardly ever a problem any more.)

Yeah. I currently gate 155 RSS feeds to email using a custom built Perl script. A sieve filter directs them to a "News" folder, which I consume using my phone and laptops IMAP clients. Some of those feeds are very busy, e.g https://news.ycombinator.com/rss so I updated my script to allow me to assign regexes to particular feeds so I only get articles of interest.

Well, they're not really all RSS. 27 of those RSS feeds are actually Twitter streams that I gated to RSS first using this application which I wrote: https://gitlab.com/mikecardwell/functwitter

Oh, and 7 of them are actually just normal web pages which I converted to RSS feeds using https://fetchrss.com/

Just going to plug Tiny Tiny RSS here since no one else has mentioned it: https://tt-rss.org/

It's a PHP-based server-side reader with lots of customizations and great Android support.

Yep, I love TinyRSS. I use it for webcomics, blogs, even YouTube so I don't have to use their shitty web interface. Here are some dockerfiles I made:



Have you found a way to subscribe to youtube channels and view the video embedded insite ttrss? The official youtube feeds appear to be empty or just contain a URL to the video.

Yes, I'm using the https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=CHANNELI... format with af_youtube_embed enabled and it is just showing blank entries on the newest version of ttrs & plugins. Looks like my installation is bugged then, but I don't have the time to investigate at the moment.

No, I just click on them or run them in mpv. I've thought about writing a plugin for TTRss where you can give it a channel name and it will add the RSS feed, plus store the channel's icon instead of the YouTube icon, but I haven't gotten around to looking at that (or seeing if there's a plugin that already does some or all of that).

You can always just use youtube-dl and sync local copies of the channel

I use TT-RSS heavily -- that's how I aggregate various news and information feeds into a single RSS feed that I read.

Of course I still use RSS. RSS offers me the possibility to consume news in the way I want. No algorithms that think they have to decide for me what interests me and what not. No algorithms that withhold news from me. Only the feeds I have subscribed to, all news from these feeds and no advertising between the news. I'm done when I'm done and don't have to look at any more suggested articles. And I have the possibility to save articles for later reading. Miniflux is my favorite RSS reader. And I use the word RSS representatively for RSS, Atom and JSON Feed.

( Posted on https://jlelse.blog/thoughts/2019/12/do-you-still-use-rss/ )

Actually, no.

But I consider it a useful and unexpensive feature so I'll support it on my blog nevertheless.

Kudos. In 00's there was print version, a very convenient feature. They are actually needed mpre today. Not just for printers of course. For the real content, wo banners, ads and crap :

Trying to read some articles, especially without an adblocker, like if I'm on iOS, can be quite annoying. I've found some ways around it, but I use reddit on my phone a lot and anytime I open an article in the app I get frustrated at how horrible the experience is and wonder how many people read articles like that and find it acceptable. I also wonder how the company thinks their website isn't the worst thing to ever exist.

I use RSS daily for all things. Those webpages without an RSS feed are ones I never visit as I don't want to change my habit of 15 years.

> Those webpages without an RSS feed

I'm with you there. If I'm only stopping by a website for a one-off thing, I don't care if it has an RSS feed or not. However, sites that don't are sites that I won't be checking in with on the regular.

I just use a service to create one. Also if they don't have RSS they probably have Twitter. I use queryfeed.net to get an RSS feed of their tweets.

Yes. I'm subscribed to 170 feeds using the Newsblur app. I started using feeds with Google Reader. When it was shutdown, I self-hosted Tiny Tiny RSS for a while, hosted using a cloud provider's free plan. After some time and a server out of disk space disaster, I didn't want to bother with hosting it myself anymore. So I tried other services like Digg Reader, The Old Reader and Feedly. I finally settled on using Newsblur and I have been a subscriber for many years now.

The primary reason for selecting Newsblur is the excellent offline support in the Android app. When commuting to work with metro, cellular reception is spotty. So before I go in the train, I refresh my feeds in the app, then I turn off the WIFI and read the content offline. When I get off the metro, I re-enable the WiFi for the read status to sync up.

Anyone reading, please, please provide a feed for your blog, newsletter, etc. for us to follow your content. And no, posting updates to Twitter is not an alternative.

I wish web browsers had better support for feeds to make them more convenient for everyone to use. Instead they seem to have given up on RSS and removed any support or made it optional through difficult to find and setup add-ons :(

Well, that's what services like Query Feed are for, or any service that converts Twitter to RSS.

Just configured a new RSS setup for myself! I deployed[0] Miniflux[1], and then I:

- Added a couple blogs, of course

- Added a bunch of GitHub releases feeds[2]

- Unsubscribed from all email newsletters and added them via an email-to-RSS conversion service[3]

- Subscribed to high voted HN posts via a custom made RSS feed for those[4]

- Disabled all YouTube notifications to subscribe to channels or playlists via their RSS feeds[5] instead.

[0]: See Kubernetes manifests at https://gitlab.com/underyx/ops/commit/fcc6b3f0bdd3cb393bc0bd...

[1]: https://miniflux.app/

[2]: e.g. https://github.com/miniflux/miniflux/releases.atom

[3]: https://www.kill-the-newsletter.com/

[4]: https://edavis.github.io/hnrss/

[5]: using https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=foo and https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?playlist_id=bar

Tragically, no. After Google killed Reader, I (amazingly) couldn't find another client that didn't have some fatal flaw that didn't make it not worth the bother.

I now use the dumb, low-tech solution of having a few folders of bookmarks of sites in various categories, which I'll occasionally check using "Open in Tabs".


https://feedly.com/ works perfectly as a Google Reader replacement backend (i.e. an “RSS subscription and read-state-tracking” service.)

I don’t like Feedly’s own web-app frontend, but you don’t need to use it; there are many nice, fancy RSS-reader clients implemented as native apps on various OSes, that can use Feedly as their backing service, sort of like a native mail client using IMAP.

Personally, I use Reeder on macOS and iOS, but there are at least a dozen such clients that connect to Feedly.

I should also mention, if it’s the backend features that you have a problem with, that there’s at least one piece of RSS server software, https://feedafever.com/, that all these clients also natively support (or at least supported; the product is dead now, so some clients are sadly removing support.) I mention it because it was a host-it-yourself solution, and therefore, even though it was a closed-source product, it had a clearly-defined client-server protocol and clients supporting Fever servers also necessarily have/had a “server API endpoint URL” field in their Fever service configuration. This means that it’s possible to implement a Fever-protocol server yourself, and any client still supporting the Fever “service” will then sync their subscriptions and read-states against your backend. So you can actually have whatever backend features you can think of, if you really care to.

(Tangent: why has nobody written an RFC for a standard RSS client-to-service sync protocol? Fever’s protocol is pretty crap, honestly; it used very nonstandard names, aggregated events into messages at the wrong levels, etc. There’s no reason that all these RSS sync-backend services need their own custom APIs; they all have exactly the same data model. Though, I guess, when you start to think about it, you realize that there’s no reason that these backends shouldn’t be speaking IMAP to their clients...)

At one point, I was building a service that allowed you to build digests of collections of feeds and presented the articles in a reddit-style view. Additionally, if others had the articles in their digests, it added a comment section. Is this something you would use? I had trouble gaining traction with the service and shuttered it, but I think about starting it again often.

It's an interesting idea, but probably personally I wouldn't use it.

Honestly, I think momentum has shifted, mostly to twitter, w/ people either posting content directly there or linking to medium, and occasionally, personal blogs.

But Twitter is flawed (if for no other reason, than because they are increasingly exercising editorial control). I look forward to whatever replaces it...

After Google killed Reader, I switched to theoldreader.com and then inoreader. Very clean interface, the Android app rocks. I'm still too cheap to go on a paid plan, but even so the only limitation I see is the number of total feeds. Then again, I'm not sure that's a bad thing considering I have way too many feeds as it so having the possibility to add any more would only worsen the problem.

Try The Old Reader: https://www.theoldreader.com/

It's 95% of what Google Reader used to be, your missing 5% may vary.

(For me, my missing 5% is a decent mobile client, but I miss that a lot less than I expected)

I just realized after so many years that the reason I always failed to keep using any other RSS reader is that I miss the per-article popularity scores from Google Reader.

I used to flood myself with headlines there and read the ones with interesting titles or high popularity (I don't even remember what that was based on; number of stars by other Reader users?) Then I'd just mark all as read.

Reddit and HN have replaced this for me somewhat, the only issue is that I don't get to curate the source blogs anymore.

I use inoreader.com and don't miss google reader. There is a free version with 150 subscriptions and you can search your feeds. Also there are apps for android and ios.

Occasionally checking back on things and reskimming is such a huge waste of time. It's well worth grabbing a good old desktop RSS reader just to fix that one problem.

I've had a very good experience with gReader on Android devices.

Who is Google? (if you see what I mean)

Yep. Inoreader. I browse 300-400 items a day through it.

I'm also a Inoreader user. It's one of the few services I pay for (bottom tier). I can't imagine being without an RSS-based content-monitoring/-consumption system.

Using it right now

This is me too!

I love RSS, I used to have an OPML file of hundreds of feeds (mainly blogs/ppl I follow but also various company news feeds and other news content). Don’t know when it happened but for a few years I didn’t have a RSS reader because the sw just got too unmaintained and bad (on macOS / iOS).

But a few months back I finally took the time and set up a reader. Now I again get annoyed by sites that don’t offer feeds of their content. But RSS is still hands down the best eay to be notified and on top of vast amount of new content of various sites all over the Web.

I don't. For me the death of RSS was a gift in disguise. I think it encouraged me to spend too much time obliging myself to read articles and keep up with sources, too much time trying to "curate" my media sources, and so on. I'm very sour on that way of using time now.

Instead I use Twitter, I don't use lists or curate, and I try to liberally follow enough people so that I always see some people that are way outside my bubble, people with very different views from my own. I learn from them, interact with them, try to sympathize with them and get a feel for them. I make friends this way, too. I never made friends reading "the news" however you define it.

I definitely don't want to go back to a "media diet" of stuff that I don't (or can't) interact with. I think this is a poor way of being. We lived in dialogue for thousands of years, all information we got was two-way communication, and then between the printing press and radio we switched to one-way communication, and I'm really happy that Twitter allows us to, at least a little bit, bring back the old way. Use it!

Yes. I can't even imagine using the hundreds of different ways of "subscribing" to things every site feels the need to reinvent for itself. YouTube is a perfect example, using their subscribe method when will you actually know when a subscribed channel posts a new video? Same day? Week later? When it hits a certain view count? That's not up to the user.

Hell yes

I try to put everything in my RSS reader.

Currently I subscribed to 7110 feeds. (YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitter, Instagram, BiliBili, pixiv.net, Facebook, DevianArt, GitHub, News sites, Reddit, ... - there are no limits :D)

Reader of choice: * https://www.inoreader.com because they support filtering of feeds (even RegEx)

Unfortunately not every site offers native RSS support, that's why I use some tools to generate RSS feeds from these sites.

For example: * https://docs.rsshub.app/en/ (as Docker container) * http://createfeed.fivefilters.org/ (self-hosted version) * https://visualping.io/

As soon as I have some time, I will try to convert email archives and discord channels to RSS feeds, too - saw some python projects about this :p

Yes. I use RSS-Bridge and Huginn to automate the mixing of RSS feeds into deduplicated feeds, then put that into wallabag which regenerates an RSS feed with excerpts. It sounds a bit bass ackward, but:

1. Huginn sends me and my partner an email every day about new properties in areas we would like to live so we can better understand the market.

2. Huginn also feeds my social media posting schedule by pulling out content from Reddit and some other places, filtering and deduping. The next step is to add scoring thresholds based on votes at source.

3. I use an RSS notifier to pick up Regulatory News Service (RNS) posts from any stocks I follow.

4. I generate periodic subject-specific summaries of news using Huginn for topics from Infosec to commoddities markets and sports.

Once I have the scoring system set up for the social media feed I'm going to look at integrating threat intel data into the same model using scoring to provide thresholds for digest vs immediate notification.

Yes. Moved to feedly when google reader was closed. It's useful to follow news, blogs, etc. The idea of using social media to replace RSS never worked for me, specially after platforms like Facebook started hiding content from our timelines, so I never stopped using RSS.

I also listen to podcasts and that's all powered by RSS feeds.

Yes. Please don’t ever go away (even more )

Yes, and will continue to use it until support for it dies or someone comes up with a better way to aggregate things I actually care about reading into a simple interface. Hopefully the latter comes first :)

I was sad when Google killed Reader, but Inoreader has been a great alternative for my daily use.

No and I miss it. But I don’t see it as a technology issue anymore. The rise of video and podcasts have greatly reduced the signal to noise ratio. Even if we were to assume the conversations are as interesting and relevant, that content is slower to consume by orders of magnitude.

Yes, I consider it my main source of internet news.

Selfhosted, no additional ads except for those on the sites, no algorithm trying to keep me "in" with noisy influencer clickbait. I rarely add sites but I'm quick to remove them if they become too sensationalist/inaccurate.

Yep. I use my Feedbin[1] account to follow YouTube channels — I use Invidious's[2] RSS feature for that —, interesting Twitter users, Reddit, Hacker News and a bunch of blogs and websites.

Been thinking about moving from Feedbin to a self-hosted and slightly modified version of Miniflux, though. Mostly because I got a cool domain that I want to use and like self-hosting everything.

According to screen time on iOS, reading stuff from my feed is where I spend most of my time after work.

[1] https://feedbin.com

[2] https://www.invidio.us

Yes, reading all my subscriptions through Feedbin is part of my morning routine. So much less stressful than trying to read a social media feed with everyone sharing about whatever outrage of the day is.

Yes. It's still the most convenient way to keep up with news, blogs, product updates, etc. It's also a fantastic way to keep an eye on the competition :)

In a word, yes. I use QuiteRSS as my reader of choice for news articles. As well as monitoring feeds for some of the websites and servers that I run. The reason I like RSS is because it is focused on exactly the information I need with no distractions. No extra popups, menus, offers to subscribe to mailing lists and most of all, no adverts. All in one place in a common format that is easily parsed.

I stopped for a while after Google reader died, but a couple years ago I started feeling like I was missing things and happily picked RSS back up.

Absolutely, saw this post via Hacker News feed. I consume Reuters and BBC news for general news and follow other blogs via feeds. Feeds are still the best and fastest way to easily stay informed.

For the general news I peruse the headlines and read the things that interest me. I have had a TinyTinyRSS installation running since 2012, before that I used GoogleReader and I think it was called Bloglines.

I use RSS for Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, News, HN, and Reddit. It’s my main way of keeping up with goings on these days.

As a plug: I run Pine.blog. A feed reader and blogging app. It’s basically a Social Network built on RSS and Blogging. If anyone is interested, I’d love feedback on it. It hasn’t gotten much HN attention in the past.


Indeed! I use the FeedBro plugin for Firefox, with feeds for my various webcomics, a couple of blogs, a couple of news sites (including HN), a Forum, a couple smaller subreddits, and more recently my favorite YouTubers since Google can't get it together when it comes to notifications of new uploads by creators.

I also use it at work to get notifications of when our Jenkins Builds/Jobs fail.

FeedBro user here too, it also runs well on Chrome. I have nearly 1k subscriptions and the tab consumes less than 2Mb. Highly recommended.

Heavily. Preferably text only, full text. I've just written about it: https://raymii.org/s/articles/Tiny-Tiny-RSS-Readability-plai...

I've got almost a thousand feeds I'm following actively.

Of course yes. Feedly to the rescue after Google Reader shut down.

I even build apps to read more: - https://f43.me to have full content in RSS feeds - https://bandito.re to have GitHub star repo’s release as feed

I use RSS heavily, on a daily basis.

Primarily, I use it to read the day's news from various sources. I also use it to follow podcasts.

Yeah, using NetNewsWire. The original author bought it back somewhat recently and afaik it's a complete rewrite now and open source, go ahead and check it out https://ranchero.com/netnewswire/

Yes. I've read about this thread in selfoss (https://github.com/SSilence/selfoss), "a multipurpose RSS reader and feed aggregation web application."

Yes, I still use the Firefox dynamic bookmarks with the help of an extension that reproduces the classic Firefox behavior.

Livemarks: https://github.com/nt1m/livemarks/

Yes, I use Feedly.

Yes, using rss2email for about 100 items a day, mostly blogs and forum posts. They end up in a RSS folder and are quickly processed with your favourite MUA (mutt in my case).

I make sure that any new sites I build offer RSS and / or Atom feeds.

Yes, as much as I can. And I click through articles to reward sites that provide one. If a site doesn't provide one, I may hit an article or two, but I'm much more likely to just get a summary from social media.

Yes. that's how I follow all the websites I find interesting. I haven't seen the homepage of some of those in years. Added benefit, on Android my reader simplifies the formatting and puts everything in Noght Mode.

Yes. My only web interface to the www. I successfully blocked everything and everyone. VPN, filtering DNS, blacklist - you name it I have it. I live in a text world for a decade and I love it. RSS is how I got this.

Absolute. I'm using the Nextcloud News plugin which works great and keeps in sync between my devices. Actually I even wrote my own Android client. Because I couldn't find the perfect reader app for me.

All the time. I use Feeder from the F-Droid repo on my phone. Just a few tech blogs, slashdot, hn. I've been thinking about branching out to other sources lately, interesting that this question got asked.

Yes, every day, for checking various websites. I realize most people prefer Twitter/Instagram for getting their updates, but RSS gives me only the things I asked for, right when there's an update.

It is my hope, as an RSS junky (Feedly.com) that this post doesn't doom the protocol the way being caught enjoying features seems to lead to their demise so often these days.

Yes, thats the primary way I consume web (including HN). If a website doesn't have an RSS feed (or feedly doesn't have it) then I don't care about that site.

I load up a bunch of selected feeds with a embarassingly simple php script that then shows me the headlines. Easy to visit on any device. koppen.ga for anyone interested.


Also, I wrote https://github.com/urandom/readeef after google shut down reader.

I use self-hosted Feedbin. This ensures the profiling is not done by the third party which hosts the state of sync as a service, and it barely uses resources anyway.

Only started using it last year! (although programming since the 80s) Using RSSOwl, works well. It's been useful for blogs and youtube channels.

I switched to http://www.ighome.com after Google shut down Homepage Feed Reader

Hell yes! Even for my podcasts. One place for everything, no algorithm to mess it up. I'll cry the day a GAFA will use their power to kill it.

Yes. To me that questions is like asking if i still use shoes, you can theoretically survive modern life without them, but why would you?

Absolutely. Reeder for iPad ftw, and FeedWrangler for syncing (although Reeder might do that now, I haven't bothered to look).

Yes, I came across this while browsing theoldreader.com/

I have way too many feeds that I don't really read, but I subscribe to.

Yep. I have my own web-based feed reader that I wrote when they shut down Google Reader and have used daily ever since.

Yes, of course. Over 200 handpicked feeds, plus a few automatically generated ones. It’s sill my primary news intake.

I saw this very post from theoldreader, reading the official RSS feed from ycombinator: news.ycombinator.com/rss

I have several RSS feeds aggregated via my Nextcloud home instance. Works perfectly. Don't want to loose it.

Yes. Watching 20 news/tech/community sites plus torrent announcements for automated download.

Yes, it is the best format to aggregate news to single reader. I use self hosted FreshRSS for that.

Yes. Feedly as my Google Reader replacement and my desktop consumption. Then Reeder on the iPad.

Yes, it's free from all the funny ads even though I know I'm being tracked still.

Yes. In fact, I check hn through hnrss. I filter for posts with more than 75 points.

Yes, I use feedly for many blogs.

I also have many scripts that scrape web page and generate RSS.

Yes, with Feedly.

I wished all my favorite bands had a RSS feed so I could finally ditch FB

Yep, and I probably always will, as long as it continues to exist.

Yes I do, and I'm still annoyed about Google Reader.

Yes. I use feed2imap to follow rarely updated blogs.

Yes. I use Newsblur (commercial website/app)

Yes,actually RSS becomes more powerful today

Yes, I use it for podcast all the time.

More than ever

Yes, using Feedly for many years now.

Yes, daily. Reading this via Feedly.

Yes, that's how I got here.


Yes, to read blogs.

yes- daily - my preferred method of getting info

Yep, all the time.






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