?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
RSS Reader Guide For the Procrastinators 
29th-Jun-2013 12:43 pm
mail.app
If you've put off migrating from Google Reader until this weekend, you're running out of time to pick a replacement. First, be sure to export your feed list with Google Takeout.

Google Reader had a lot of subtle bits that I really liked, and none of the replacement options perfectly replicate that experience. They have, however, had feature development in the last three years, so it's not all a wash of bummed-out nostalgia. Some options, with pros and cons from my perspective follow. Slashdot has some pointers and there are plenty of other lists floating around. Also note that you can set up a LiveJournal "user" for RSS feeds (if one doesn't exist for the feed you like) and read it on your friends page. This would probably be overwhelming for something like Slashdot or Boing Boing, though.
Feedly seems to be the majority choice.
Feedly started as a new UI on top of your Google Reader data. Prior to Reader's notice of impending doom they'd started a project to replace the Reader API on AppEngine. This API means there are several apps you can use which will all work from the same feed list and read/unread state. They've got a very modern web/app design, so if you're a crusty old hacker you might not like it. Sharing happens through any of a dozen or so popular web services, and Feedly tends to replace the original URL with its own shortened one.
Pros: Per-feed settings for post order and layout. Feeds can be in multiple groups and sorted arbitrarily. Algorithmic picks for interesting posts in each category. Magazine layout with article snippet for picking what to read. Good Android client, including quick reading of original article. Android client has a button to read the title text on XKCD.
Cons: They don't have a business model yet, so they might not be sustainable. There's no "full screen" mode on the web, which I liked for APOD and other large photos. They don't have an import/export UI yet, so keep your Reader zip file around and migrate by Monday.
NewsBlur is also fairly good.
NewsBlur is open source, with one guy doing most of the work. The service is free for up to 64 feeds and pretty cheap if you've got more. There are some features available only to premium users; unfortunately "arrow keys work like every other web page" is one of them. NewsBlur's key distinctive features are reading posts in "original" mode, with styling more like the blog's site, and a training-based article recommendation algorithm. It's got a lot of keystrokes, making feed consumption pretty efficient. Unfortunately, I've found a lot of the UI confusing and awkward. It's unclear to me how the training system works (which may be partly a UI issue), so I haven't used it much. If I like cat memes and dislike dog memes will it show me more cat memes, or will it just be confused about whether I like I Can Haz Cheezburger? NewsBlur has an official Android app with some warts and it's got some third-party clients as well. NewsBlur users can comment and share within the app; you can see other NewsBlur user comments under posts or you can limit it to just designated friends.
Pros: You can pay money for it; you can also use it for free. Good interaction for "read everything" mode. Lots of keyboard shortcuts. Reasonable Android app.
Cons: Awkward UI. Android client has some issues like trouble playing YouTube videos and sometimes missing posts. Training system is unclear, may take a while to be effective. Can't put feeds in multiple folders or sort items arbitrarily.
The Old Reader is kind of like Google Reader was circa 2009.
The Old Reader totally collapsed under the migration load of Google shutting down a service because it didn't get enough use. They've got more server power now, but I didn't spend much time with their app since it took a couple weeks to import my feeds. Their web UI is straightforward and familiar to Reader users. They've got in-app sharing, so if all your friends want to use it too, it's a good choice. They don't have an Android app yet.
BazQux also has a familiar Reader UI.
It's named for metasyntactic variables and is written in Haskell, which tells you something about their team. Its unique features include showing the blog's comments and easy subscription to people and pages on Facebook and Google+. As far as I can tell, they don't have any mobile apps yet. If you're really into blog comments, this would be a good choice. There's a 30-day free trial, after which you have to pay. In the first month of "OMG, gotta replace Reader," BazQux didn't stand out enough to warrant paying.
GoodNoows has a 2D card UI and a focus on news sources.
GoodNoows had the best source discovery of any of the apps I tried. I didn't use it much, though, because my brain still can't handle blocks of non-linear text on the web. Also, I don't like the new Google+ UI.
Digg and AOL have late entries into the fray.
Somehow, it seems both companies didn't realize that Google Reader was on life support, so they probably banged these apps out in three months. I haven't tried either. They might be good; they've probably got a team roughly the size of Feedly's working on them.

Any good RSS readers I've missed? My requirements: Read from a web browser on several computers and an Android tablet.
Comments 
29th-Jun-2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
I'm not a procrastinator, I'm just really picky...until I get desperate, that is.
3rd-Jul-2013 04:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link to Old Reader! I had migrated to Feedly, but didn't love it, so I gave OR a shot as well, and it seems much better suited to me.
This page was loaded May 21st 2018, 12:52 am GMT.