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ChrisDolan (2855)

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Journal of ChrisDolan (2855)

Tuesday March 11, 2008
08:28 PM

Feed reading

[ #35890 ]

I switched feed readers this week. This is a big deal to me! In years past, I was a contributor to the Planet project (my only open-source Python work to date; I overhauled the regexp filtering) so I've been using Planet (and later Venus) to aggregate my favorite RSS and Atom news sources for my personal consumption.

I preferred Planet over other readers because it is online. I run the aggregator via cron my my home machine and upload the gzipped results to my webserver. Then I can view the chronological results from any computer in the world. I stop reading when I hit something I remember reading before.

I rejected several competent readers which store results on just one computer (NetNewsWire, Sage, Safari, etc) since it doesn't support my mobile habits. I tried Plagger for a while, but it was so much harder to hack than Planet that I gave up and switched back. But lately, bugs in Planet have gotten the best of me. Planet loses posts left and right and has trouble retaining chronological order (Sam Ruby and I disagree on the latter point: I think it should sort on received date and he thinks it should sort on post date).

Lacking time to delve back into Plagger, I decided to try Google Reader. So far I like it. It works well across multiple computers because the read/unread state is stored online. The interface is attractive and easy to use. Its JIT content loading makes for quick startup.

And now the complaints:

  • It doesn't de-dupe! If the same story appears in Planet Perl, Planet Parrot, and Journals, then it appears three times in Reader. Lame.
  • Google hijacked the "/" keystroke to focus their own search box, taking away Firefox's killer search-as-you-type feature (popularized by Emacs). Lame.

What feed readers do you like, dear journal reader?

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  • I mean, it is, but it synchronizes with NewsGator, which has a mobile version, a web version, a Win32 client, and so on.

    I use NNW.
  • Did you see my post about Perlanet []? It's a lightweight Planet clone written in Perl, which I wrote because I didn't have the time to get to grips with Plagger.

    Alternatively, I use Bloglines [] for my online feed reading. It works a lot like Google Reader, but I find the interface easier to use.

  • Not because I love it a lot, mind – while it’s certainly not horrible, it has a lot of flaws, especially for my use. But it’s the only reader available to me that isn’t fundamentally insufferable.

  • I'm not sure if they're the same or not, but ctrl-F still brings up a great find feature in Firefox. ctrl-G will find next occurrence of what you currently have typed.

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • I like []. It worked better than everything else I tried (and once you get use to something who wants to move all those feeds somewhere else...). I like the tabs and feeds in draggable boxes. It works for my brain, I haven't tried others in a long time.