Being Sad: Trying A Couple RSS Options

Dealing with being sad in a post-Google Reader world has led me to try a couple of RSS feed readers.

When looking around, I automatically excluded readers which depended on the Google Reader back-end to do their data storage and feed management.  I may try them after Google Reader is shut down, but right now there's no point in finding something I like only to be let down again when they don't update to another back end (either immediately or, as is the case for some iOS apps, ever).

On the iPad, I've been using Feedly.  Feedly uses the Google Reader back-end, which yes should disqualify it.  But they claim to be building their own back-end to replace it so that the transition will be invisible to end users.  Initially I was turned off by its magazine-style flipboard which shows only a few articles per page; however I've played with the options, and a recent rebuild of the app added a mode which seems to display more stories per "page".

Feedly is painful to use in a desktop browser, though.  I'm highly suspicious of these Chrome plug-in things, and Feedly wants to be one of those -- I suspect it is trying to manage a local cache of all my feeds rather than having me hit a central server for them.  (Which makes me wonder how the iPad app actually works.)  The real killer, though, is that Feedly seems to be littered with duplicate articles.  The sorting seems haphazard, and there just isn't the same article flow that was in Reader.

So for the browser, I've set up an instance of Tiny Tiny RSS on my private server.  And for a private instance it isn't too bad.  And as a side-effect, I've pruned my RSS subscription list down from more than 300 to just a hair over 200 -- a few broken feeds that I decided I don't care about, feeds with no updates since 2011 (or earlier in some cases), or just plain 404-ing feeds.  It works OK in the browser, and I've come to grips with the configuration options that are presented.

It'll do a number on the bandwidth usage that my server uses, though.  We'll just have to wait a couple weeks to see how running the updater twice an hour will impact my data transfer numbers.

But on the iPad, the mobile interface is just plain painful.  Or at least, on my iPad.  There's a ton of hesitation and reloading and spit-you-back-to-the-default-page-load that makes it almost unusable.  And since a non-trivial percentage of my feed reading is done on the iPad, this is a problem.  And running it in the iPad Chrome browser is an order of magnitude worse than that.

Oh, I'm also a bit put off by the TTR dev's attitudes which seems to be "we're not changing TTR to be like Google Reader, so piss off".  Which is fine if you like where the boat is going.  And normally I would agree with them, it is just their attitude is lacking.  I do think that expecting end-users to do their updates with git, claiming "the trunk is usually stable and usable," smacks a little bit of not caring about how others see your tool.  The install is the first time a lot of people see your tool, if the install is rough they are more likely to give up on it and be less tolerant of other rough edges.

Downsides: I thought that I could deal with seeing articles in both TTR and Feedly, but I'm less happy with that than I thought.  And there's the whole problem of managing RSS subscriptions in two places -- there's no trivial way for me to duplicate my feed trimming in Feedly from TTR.

I've been trying hard to not go back to Google Reader, since that won't be an option in the future.

I'm not sure what I'll end up doing in the long term.  But I'm not exactly thrilled with how things are going right now.