Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


New RSS Reader
May 21, 2013 8:14 AM   Subscribe

In the wake of the impending loss of google reader on July 1 (Previously) it was perhaps inevitable that someone would come up with a suitible and bloat free replacement, meet CommaFeed

It is open source, available in hosted as well as self-hosted formats, and has the ability to import directly from google reader. Enjoy!
posted by Blasdelb (150 comments total) 108 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you for posting this! I was hoping that someone would do this. It looks good. I'm going to sign up now and give it a whirl.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:20 AM on May 21, 2013


I like this. I've been using feedly but have been frustrated because it's a plugin so I can only access it from my personal machine.
posted by Think_Long at 8:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I coughed up the dough for a premium account at NewsBlur a few weeks ago and have been quite happy. I know paying for a service doesn't guarantee its survival and continued development, but it helps.
posted by gwint at 8:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


On the other hand, before that I briefly considered just not migrating to any new service and seeing what I'd do with all that newly freed up time. But then I was like, "Therein lies madness."
posted by gwint at 8:23 AM on May 21, 2013 [16 favorites]


Oh, man, that is the stuff. And there's an API? That anybody can plug into? Perfect.

Eff you, Google.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:24 AM on May 21, 2013


NewsBlur just rolled out a redesign last night, too. There are several MeFites that use it and share stories there.
posted by zsazsa at 8:27 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Me likey. Thanks for posting. Does it work well on iOS?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:28 AM on May 21, 2013


I opted for a low tech solution. I moved my feeds to Blogtrottr, a free RSS to email service, and now use Gmail as my reader...
posted by jim in austin at 8:28 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Google has apparently dropped Jabber support from Talk/ Hangout today.
posted by boo_radley at 8:30 AM on May 21, 2013


Well, it doesn't appear to work in IE8, much like The Old Reader and NewsBlur (as of today). This really blows for we poor, unfortunate souls working for organizations that don't allow us to install alternate browsers or update the existing browsers.

In conclusion, nuts to you, Commafeed. We coulda had something beautiful.
posted by joelhunt at 8:31 AM on May 21, 2013


Awesome. Anyone know if this imports your starred items? I suspect it doesn't.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:36 AM on May 21, 2013


I have been using Netvibes and putting up with the annoyances (firstly, that sometimes it will decide that I really should read a very old article from one blog or another; secondly, that the keyboard scrolling is ridiculously finicky and will sometimes speed-scroll allllll the way down to the next article rather than just, like, a couple paragraphs) because so far Netvibes has had the nicest-looking UI (I found feedly to be too busy, and oldreader to be too low-contrast). Commafeed looks very nice so far!
posted by muddgirl at 8:38 AM on May 21, 2013


So You're Saying These Are Pants?: Awesome. Anyone know if this imports your starred items? I suspect it doesn't.

It does not.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:44 AM on May 21, 2013


(Can they make a replacement for the recently pastured Google Cloud Connect, now? My backups and document management are still in chaos.)
posted by LucretiusJones at 8:47 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are people who don't use LiveJournal as their RSS reader? wtf?
posted by Eideteker at 8:47 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just started running tt-rss. This looks smoother. But tt-rss has an android client and is way customizable. Hmm.
posted by edheil at 8:48 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


So... uh... when does this update feeds? Google Reader informed me of this post almost right after it was posted and I signed up, pulled the last 10 items from all my feeds but nothing since...
posted by yellowbinder at 8:51 AM on May 21, 2013


Hmm. Google Reader has a function where nothing gets displayed in the left nav bar unless it's got updated items... I find it too overwhelming to have to scroll through my whole list of subscriptions to find what's got a (#) next to it. Can't figure out how to do it here. Has anyone else found a way?
posted by olinerd at 8:52 AM on May 21, 2013


Yeah the interface is just one piece, the other is the backend. I'm finding with various RSS services that none compare with Google - slow feed updates, feeds that don't update at all, feeds that miss 50% of the posts, etc..
posted by stbalbach at 8:53 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


olinerd: Can't figure out how to do it here. Has anyone else found a way?

In Settings (the gear icon at the top) there is a check box for "Show feeds with no unread items". Uncheck it to hide "empty" feeds from your list.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:56 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


yellowbinder: So... uh... when does this update feeds? Google Reader informed me of this post almost right after it was posted and I signed up, pulled the last 10 items from all my feeds but nothing since...

Yeah, hasn't updated any of my feeds since it first pulled them almost a half hour ago...
posted by Rock Steady at 8:58 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh! Thanks, Rock Steady! I tried going to the dropdown arrow next to the gear and didn't fully grok that the gear itself was an entirely separate button. Too much time on Google, I guess.
posted by olinerd at 8:58 AM on May 21, 2013




joelhunt: "Well, it doesn't appear to work in IE8, much like The Old Reader and NewsBlur (as of today). This really blows for we poor, unfortunate souls working for organizations that don't allow us to install alternate browsers or update the existing browsers.

In conclusion, nuts to you, Commafeed. We coulda had something beautiful.
"

I could have sworn that there used to be a version of firefox that you could run off of a thumb drive without installing on your machine. I don't work for a Fortune 500 company anymore, so that's no longer a problem for me. You might want to look into that to see if it still exists.

(I'm not responsible for your boss or IT department freaking out.)
posted by double block and bleed at 9:00 AM on May 21, 2013


I've really been trying to give Feedly all the slack it deserves, as they are making a huge play to try to bring in the Google Reader refugees. But MAN CommaFeed is looking like the One True Replacement.

Paraphrased from another MeFi thread on RSS Readers a while back: An RSS reader needs to be a good and efficent index, and only an index. The RSS reader should not be a magazine.

Even though Feedly has made a lot of efforts to give users an (optional) index-style interface, it can't fully shake the we-want-to-present-you-a-dynamic-magazine mentality that most of these RSS readers are mistakenly trying to present.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:04 AM on May 21, 2013 [20 favorites]


Looks good, especially since my free FeedHQ account expired and they're now asking me to pay to keep it going. (Yes, I am part of the problem.)
posted by asnider at 9:06 AM on May 21, 2013


Yo if you have a few bucks to spare please hit that donate button for the developer and throw a few bones their way.
posted by hellojed at 9:07 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am also not getting any updates. Possibly that's impact from the userbase growing? Or they just don't have resources to scrape very often (said resources being part of what gave Google a big advantage in the first place).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:07 AM on May 21, 2013


Settings, Custom CSS:
#feed-accordion .entry-body-content {
max-width: 100%;
}

Aaaaand it's perfect. Thanks!
posted by msbutah at 9:08 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is great! Will it be as fast to update as Google Reader?

I was using feedly but also was having issues with the whole plugin thing. Also, it shrank Diesel Sweeties comics for no reason I understand.
posted by NoraReed at 9:18 AM on May 21, 2013


July is going to be so much more of a pain in the backside than people realize. After the initial shock, a lot of people were blithely smug, saying Reader's complacency had held the "industry" back and that there would be plenty of startups to fill the gap, even going so far as to wish it good riddance. They've got no idea.

I did a lot of reading in the days after the shutdown announcement, from current and former Googlers and developers who worked with RSS, including mathowie (who flirted with the idea of making his own clone). Reader is like an iceberg, the vast scale and utility of which is hidden behind its deceptively minimalist, even outdated homepage.

It's not just the interface and UI, which is pretty easy to clone. It's the staggering infrastructure that powers it -- the sophisticated search crawlers scouring the web and delivering near-real-time updates, the industrial-scale server farms that store untold petabytes of searchable text and images relevant to you (much of it from long-vanished sources), the ubiquitous Google name that makes the service a popular platform for innumerable third-party apps, scripts, and extensions.

It's possible to code up something that looks and feels a lot like Reader in three months, with the same view types and shortcuts. But to replicate its core functionality -- fast updates, archive search, stability, universal access, wide interoperability -- takes Google-scale engineering I doubt anybody short of Micosoft/Yahoo can emulate. It was very nearly a public service, and its going to be frustrating trying to downsize expectations for such a core web service to what a startup -- even a subscription-backed one -- can accomplish.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:19 AM on May 21, 2013 [66 favorites]


double block and bleed: "I could have sworn that there used to be a version of firefox that you could run off of a thumb drive without installing on your machine. I don't work for a Fortune 500 company anymore, so that's no longer a problem for me. You might want to look into that to see if it still exists."

How about PortableApps? They seem to have a portable version of Firefox and Chrome.
posted by jgaiser at 9:22 AM on May 21, 2013


. . . so it's been an hour and it still hasn't updated any feeds. Do we know what the refresh rate is? (1/hr?)
posted by Think_Long at 9:22 AM on May 21, 2013


My plan is to wait until the last possible minute, and even that may be too soon to properly evaluate the options. I think a lot of the services, even the paid ones, aren't going to last.

An open source option is very nice to have though. There are lots of tricky bits with dealing with malformed feeds, and crowdsourcing is a pretty good way to deal with that.
posted by smackfu at 9:22 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been happy with The Old Reader, though I've been a little worried about its ability to stay afloat. For me, it'll probably come down to which one gets an Android app soonest.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:23 AM on May 21, 2013


Saw Reader2000 mentioned on Twitter, might be another option.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2013


Very pretty, but without the ability to filter feeds it's a bust for me. Obviously Reader didn't have that functionality, either. But neither do any of these new, pretty pretty readers. I'm sticking with the clunky old NetNewsWire.
posted by not_the_water at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2013


. . . so it's been an hour and it still hasn't updated any feeds. Do we know what the refresh rate is? (1/hr?)

When you aren't Google, "refresh rate" can get a little fuzzy as a concept. Like when it starts taking over an hour to just fetch all the feeds...
posted by smackfu at 9:26 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I switched to The Old Reader and am only marginally pleased with it. All I want is, as someone said above, an index. I don't want to share stuff with people, and I don't want a browser plugin. I just want something to show me new posts.

I don't need it to be instantaneous, but I do want it to be reliable, which TOR doesn't seem to be, since it misses a lot of updates and just straight up can't seem to deal with some feeds at all. (There are also a few feeds where every now and then it seems to go, "Oh what the hell, here are the last 10 entries.")
posted by Legomancer at 9:28 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are people who don't use LiveJournal as their RSS reader? wtf?

There are people who still use LiveJournal?

/runs away ;)

posted by Celsius1414 at 9:32 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Am running this (CommaFeed) in side-by-side tabs with Google Reader, just to compare. First load worked great, and I like the interface. After a few minutes I reloaded both, though, and Google Reader has 10 new items and CommaFeed has none. What accounts for that lag?
posted by Framer at 9:37 AM on May 21, 2013


For those of us who do have a lot of access to servers, is there a good replacement I can host myself?
posted by melissam at 9:38 AM on May 21, 2013


Framer, see Rhaomi's answer above. Google searches the web in near real-time. Almost nobody else on earth can do that.
posted by bonehead at 9:42 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm noticing that CommaFeed is overly picky about XML parsing, which is causing some of my feeds to fail to load.
(It's probably the fault of the feed maintainers, ultimately.. but I can't get them to fix their code)
posted by jozxyqk at 9:43 AM on May 21, 2013


Hmm. Signup page is a little light on detail - are they going to run this as a hosted service and do it from donations? I'm interested in a self-hosted service eventually, but is it also going to be hosted?
posted by Happy Dave at 9:44 AM on May 21, 2013


[Legomancer:] All I want is, as someone said above, an index. I don’t want to share stuff with people, and I don’t want a browser plugin. I just want something to show me new posts.
You might be looking for Feed Wrangler if you want a simple list-y interface.

I have been running Feed Wrangler and Feedbin side-by-side for the last couple of weeks and I personally prefer the more ‘slick’ interface offered by the latter.

As far as refresh times Feedbin tries to keep it under half an hour, the last official number is every 25 minutes.

I might start running CommaFeed as well but I trust these paid services more.
posted by Martijn at 9:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yahoo! needs to swoop in and make an awesome RSS reader. Suck on that, Google. It'd be awesome.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:53 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


Celsius1414: "There are people who still use LiveJournal?"

да.
posted by boo_radley at 9:58 AM on May 21, 2013 [15 favorites]


Yes! I was intrigued by the Tumblr/Flickr announcements this week and would be thrilled if Yahoo stepped in to save RSS. And Marissa Mayer was actually the Google executive who originally approved Reader in the first place (though on the condition the team remove social features, which seems pretty shortsighted even for 2005).
posted by Rhaomi at 10:00 AM on May 21, 2013


Hmm, this is very close to what I am looking for. I had just blogged about replacements to Google Reader and was saying Old Reader was the best for my needs. May need to update that post...
posted by MeatheadBrokeMyChair at 10:06 AM on May 21, 2013


THIS online service will NEVER stop working. FOR SURE this time.

I see a way to get "the source" but without accompany documentation on what to setup and how, that's kind of useless.
posted by DU at 10:13 AM on May 21, 2013


It's not quite ready for primetime yet, but I've been working on a Google Reader replacement Firefox extension. If you're brave, you can try it out here:

Rsstler

Keep in mind that it hasn't yet been reviewed. I think I've handled all the security concerns correctly, but I could be wrong, so use at your own peril.

There are some features -- particularly synchronization across multiple computers -- that aren't quite working yet. But as a single-computer RSS reader it works fairly well.

The interface is completely customizable (you can provide your own CSS) but out of the box should be intuitive to anyone used to Google Reader.
posted by srt19170 at 10:14 AM on May 21, 2013


Okay, I want to hire someone on this thread. Really.

I am an academic who researches entrepreneurship, and I have been really fascinated with the way in which the sunsetting of Reader is creating an opportunity for new ventures. Rhaomi is dead-on in that the Reader is a complicated tool, so it is unlikely that there will be a clear One True Solution for everyone. Observing what pops up, and when, and what business models they follow, will be both interesting and help us answer some important questions about how new players enter the market and how markets are segmented.

So, I want to hire a couple MeFiers who would want to help me put together a list of companies/products in the space, when they enter, what features they have, etc. and to track the space through the fall. I have a budget to pay people for work, but it is research assistant pay. I've hired research assistants through MeFi before, and it worked really well. Link is above.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:15 AM on May 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


I use my RSS reader all day long for work, so it's kind of a big deal for me. I tried out a few services but I have been happiest with TheOldReader.com which - as the name suggests - mimics the Google Reader interface as closely as possible.

My favorite thing is that on your landing page, they have linked quick tutorials on all the topics you probably want, in the order you probably want them. "Only show updated feeds" is just a tick box in your settings tab, and to move a feed into a folder you just click and drag it.

Very welcome - and free.
posted by ErikaB at 10:15 AM on May 21, 2013


I coughed up the $20 for NewsBlur a few months ago and while it was a little rocky early on as he got hit with a big wave of unexpected traffic, it's been pretty good for the last month or so. I haven't had to revert back to Reader once since I started using NewsBlur.
posted by octothorpe at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2013


I've tried Feedbin for a short time, but I dislike the tablet-like display with the 3 bars. I wanted to click on the individual feeds alone without having to load the entire list up each time.

So far, I haven't found a replacement that updates almost as fast as G-reader yet.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 10:39 AM on May 21, 2013


It's possible to code up something that looks and feels a lot like Reader in three months, with the same view types and shortcuts. But to replicate its core functionality -- fast updates, archive search, stability, universal access, wide interoperability -- takes Google-scale engineering I doubt anybody short of Micosoft/Yahoo can emulate. It was very nearly a public service, and its going to be frustrating trying to downsize expectations for such a core web service to what a startup -- even a subscription-backed one -- can accomplish.

I also read a lot of those articles when the shutdown was first announced and thought "Well, I guess that's the end." It's why I waited awhile before choosing a new service-- I wanted to see if one pulled ahead of the pack and actually delivered what I needed. I think in the end, the doom and gloom is overrated. Aside from archive search, which I never used (I generally found myself just using a general Google search if I needed to find something) Newsblur seems to be handling the rest of your list OK:
- fast updates: Seems to update more often than I check it, which is multiple times a day. The premium service promises updates "10 times" as often as the free one.
- stability: Since I joined after the "holy shit Reader is closing" stampede, I haven't noticed any slowdowns.
- universal access: Does this mean multiplatform? They've got iOS and Android apps.
- wide interoperability: They've got an API.

I'm not trying to be a shill for Newsblur, just casting some doubts about the "Oh noes, if Google can't do it, nobody can" meme.
posted by gwint at 10:42 AM on May 21, 2013


I clicked on "Demo" and it gave me a feed that included Lisp in the Summer. I'm sold.
posted by alms at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2013


After a couple of weeks of trying alternatives, and a couple of weeks testing the one I liked the best to make sure, made the switch last week completely over to Inoreader. It's almost 100% exactly what I wanted and works the exact way I want it to. Commareader looks close, but I'm sold already.
posted by General Malaise at 10:49 AM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Did anyone else notice this is written in Java?
posted by smackfu at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


One more to check out. I'm convinced I will switch about June 30.
posted by immlass at 10:59 AM on May 21, 2013


I love Newsblur, but I really wish that they had some sort of mechanism for bubbling up popular/relevant stuff up to the top of my feed.
posted by schmod at 11:02 AM on May 21, 2013


Wow, Commareader's demo list of feeds is... colorful. And pretty NSFW.
posted by sutt at 11:09 AM on May 21, 2013


In my new ideal hypothetical scenario, when Google shuts down Reader they lug this big black box out to a dumpster with a bright but tattered Google Reader sticker on it....and then Yahoo! swoops in freegans that thing off the curb and starts up Yahoo! Reader and pays a billion dollars to scavenge all the original Reader developers and all the developers of these replacement attempts and suddenly in one seismic shift we are all transported back to the halcyon days of the late-mid-90s and we hustle to remember our Yahoo logins and buy taller monitors to fit lots of Yahoo toolbars to repay the favor....
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:11 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ugh, I'm currently juggling between four different services including CommaFeed, and they all have major problems.

•CommaFeed and Old Reader are both fantastic, except they take forever to refresh, and sometimes run hours behind when the news comes in.
•NewsBlur is fast, and you can still easily get a free account, but there's no search.
•Feedly is super fast, but has no search of old articles, and will only have the left navigation permanently expanded if I stretch the window to full width, which I'm not a huge fan of.

Really frustrating, this whole thing.
posted by themadthinker at 11:14 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love Newsblur, but I really wish that they had some sort of mechanism for bubbling up popular/relevant stuff up to the top of my feed.

You mean break the RSS protocl? I'd be less excited by that "feature".
posted by DU at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder how loudly I'll have to shout "INSTALL A LOCAL RSS READER" before anyone can hear it. (If you must share between devices/locations, INSTALL AN RSS READER ON AN INTERNET-CONNECTED MACHINE YOU CONTROL. HOSTING COSTS LIKE $20/YEAR.)
posted by DU at 11:16 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


"It was very nearly a public service, and its going to be frustrating trying to downsize expectations for such a core web service to what a startup -- even a subscription-backed one -- can accomplish."

In my socialist fantasy for America, the government runs a simple RSS aggregator as a public service.
posted by klangklangston at 11:18 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


Maybe if you use all caps AND bold font.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


DU: "You mean break the RSS protocl? I'd be less excited by that "feature"."

How does that break RSS? I just want a way to sort things by "Interestingness" rather than the date.

NewsBlur already has a similar feature, but it needs a little more "magic" before it'll be useful for me.

Fever is a self-hosted RSS aggregator that claims to be able to do this. I've been contemplating giving it a try...

Oh, yeah. And if you're technically-minded, it's amazing how cheap you can get a VPS these days.
posted by schmod at 11:19 AM on May 21, 2013


Hmm. Three hours later, it has updated one item in one feed.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are certainly advantages to having a local RSS Reader. You don't have to worry about your service being suddenly dropped, or be bothered with intrusive advertising. If you're technically savvy, you can probably also adapt the reader to fit your exact reading needs. You can also update your feeds as fast as you'd like (I typically have Rsstler set to update every few minutes while I'm actively reading.)

However, there are also some disadvantages.

If you don't stay logged in all the time and caught up on your reading, it's likely that your local reader won't have the sort of extensive archive of RSS feed items that Google Reader, etc. can provide. This may not be a huge problem for you, but it's something to think about.

Synchronization between multiple computers is also an issue. As DU suggests, you can get a hosted machine, etc., but for many people that's probably more work than they'd like.
posted by srt19170 at 11:22 AM on May 21, 2013


Oh right, Reader is going away in a month or so. I keep forgetting that I need to *do* something about that but I've been in denial.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:33 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder how loudly I'll have to shout "INSTALL A LOCAL RSS READER" before anyone can hear it.

I can hear it, but I have no interest in that. Maybe when I was in college that kind of time wasting was fun, but nowadays I'd much rather pay someone else to maintain services for me. I've just grown weary of "oh, my RSS feeds aren't updating, guess I better figure out what went wrong."
posted by smackfu at 11:45 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Three hours later, it has updated one item in one feed.

At least you got one. I have some pretty standard feeds in my list (Mashable, Wired, etc.) and nothing has been updated in the past 6 hours. There have been at least 20+ stories on each of those sites.

The Old Reader seems better so far, though I do like the idea.

Feedly is super fast

Feedly is still just running on top of Google Reader, isn't it? It remains to be seen whether or not they can clone the Reader API.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe when I was in college that kind of time wasting was fun, but nowadays I'd much rather pay someone else to maintain services for me. I've just grown weary of "oh, my RSS feeds aren't updating, guess I better figure out what went wrong.

Took me about....10 minutes? One time?

Meanwhile in about a month your Google Reader RSS feeds won't be updating and you'll have to figure out some solution.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on May 21, 2013


Six hours later, one updated article. Out of a hundred or so feeds. Meanwhile my self-hosted copy of tt-rss, with the same feed list, has updated dozens of items. Urgh. Not looking good for commafeed. :( I'll stop by tomorrow and see how things go but sheesh. This is really looking kinda bad.
posted by edheil at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2013


Google has apparently dropped Jabber support from Talk/ Hangout today.

WHAT
posted by JHarris at 11:59 AM on May 21, 2013


I Googled it, and feedly has their own backend now and is working to import its users Google Reader stuff to the new system.

Still, TT-RSS looks pretty good. When I get some spare time, I might have to try installing it on my Raspberry Pi.
posted by MuppetNavy at 12:02 PM on May 21, 2013


mrgrimm: Feedly is still just running on top of Google Reader, isn't it? It remains to be seen whether or not they can clone the Reader API.

If they were smart, they would transition to Normandy early and then announce it only after the fact, to prove that the transition was seamless. Not sure if that is technically feasible, with login credentials and whatnot, but it would be a PR homerun. Let's face it, if they announce the transition ahead of time, there are going to be people who whine about how much slower it is post-Normandy, even if it isn't slower in reality.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:03 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


MuppetNavy: "I Googled it"

IRONY
posted by Chrysostom at 12:08 PM on May 21, 2013


For those of us who do have a lot of access to servers, is there a good replacement I can host myself?

If you're a comfy linux admin, Newsblur's entire codebase is on github under the liberally open MIT licence. Combination python, postgresql and mongodb (nosql), and you can obviously update your feeds as often as you like.

Alternatively, if you fancy something a little more LAMPy, there's tt-rss which is php based and a bit more clean/plain in looks, and under the GPL.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2013


I wonder how loudly I'll have to shout "INSTALL A LOCAL RSS READER" before anyone can hear it.

That's great for one device but how would that sync between my home laptop, my work laptop, my Nexus 7 and my phone?
posted by octothorpe at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


All I'm saying is I'm following this closely, so thanks everyone for speaking up.

I've been using Reader regularly since December, and the July changeover's gonna cause Deep Hurting unless I find a good substitute. The situation has gotten so critical that I'm willing to pay for it.

So far, I've got Old Reader and Netvibes running concurrently, but as people have noted above, they have issues. I had Feedly up, but I didn't like that they hide the panel on the left that lists the blogs and the number of unread posts. Bad hidey hidey!

All the other candidates mentioned here have gone into my bookmarks folder and I'll be looking at them as well, so thanks again.
posted by Bill Peschel at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2013


And of course commafeed is also available for self-hosting, source on github. Apache licence, based on java/jboss and postgresql/mysql. But we all know that, because it's in the summary. Obviously. Ahem.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's great for one device but how would that sync between my home laptop, my work laptop, my Nexus 7 and my phone?

Those sound suspiciously like devices made for you by someone else.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


octothorpe: I believe that was covered by the next sentence, "INSTALL AN RSS READER ON AN INTERNET-CONNECTED MACHINE YOU CONTROL."
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2013


I had Feedly up, but I didn't like that they hide the panel on the left that lists the blogs and the number of unread posts. Bad hidey hidey!

I had that problem. Turns out it's tied to your window width. If you expand it to full 1280 wide, the left panel should remain in place. Annoying, but doable.
posted by themadthinker at 12:20 PM on May 21, 2013


People don't maximize the browser window?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:24 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Took me about....10 minutes? One time?

I understand you like the do-it-yourself solution. I guess you have better luck with tech than I do. It would definitely take me way more than 10 minutes just to evaluate the options, and then fight with installing it and dependencies and junk, and then have to deal with bugs, and I just don't want the hassle. If that means I need to switch RSS readers every few years, I guess that's the price to pay. Same reason I don't build my own computers any more.

And it's kind of a silly thing to bring to this thread in the first place, since this software is open source and available for you to self-host if you wish. It's like fighting with an enemy who isn't even there, just because.
posted by smackfu at 12:25 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


CommaFeed hasn't updated since I signed up hours ago, so I popped over to NewsBlur but GAH!!! Make it stop!!! Even with animations turned off there's so much stuff on the screen and WHY ARE THE MENUS YELLING?
posted by ceiba at 12:29 PM on May 21, 2013


Yeah, I popped back over to NewsBlur from Feedly to check out the new design... and... it's mostly just a recolor?

After some interface tweaking, Feedly is perfect for my needs. A simple, uncluttered index of feed entries. As noted, it's also the only of the new readers which updates promptly across even unpopular feeds. Yes, that's because it's still just a front-end to Reader.

I'm hoping their switch to Normandy will be as seamless as they claim, but even if it is I suspect the update frequency will go down to the level of their competitors. It would be expensive to match Google at, you know, scraping the Internet.
posted by gilrain at 12:35 PM on May 21, 2013


I see a way to get "the source" but without accompany documentation on what to setup and how, that's kind of useless.

All three I linked above have detailed setup instructions; you'll want a linux server of some sort, so it's not the sort of thing your gran can do, but it's not that hard to host your own stuff any more. Amazon offer an EC2 ubuntu server, mysql db, S3 bulk storage and various ancillary services free for a year, or there's standard VPS service through dreamhost or the like. If you have a machine you can run all the time at home, it's pretty easy to chuck ubuntu server on it directly, or put together a virtual linux machine or two running on virtualbox, esxi or hyperV (all free).

If running your own full server is not for you, then there's a whole ton of 'platform as a service' providers these days that are free or cheap for small scale web-app hosting, such as heroku, redhat's openshift, amazon EB, microsoft's azure; even google is getting into it with app engine.

There's never been a better or easier time to self-host your own applications for free or cheap. If one goes tits-up, you move your app and data to another.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:38 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ooo, Feedly, you're so clean and pretty! And you have an iPhone app!
posted by ceiba at 12:58 PM on May 21, 2013


Well, it doesn't appear to work in IE8, much like The Old Reader and NewsBlur (as of today). This really blows for we poor, unfortunate souls working for organizations that don't allow us to install alternate browsers or update the existing browsers.

IE8 is 4 years old, and its support of current web standards is very half-arsed. The only reason you'd not have switched to IE9 - with much better html5 support - is if you're stuck on XP, which has less than a year left before it stops getting security patches. Many web frameworks have been dropping support for IE8 and older because the crufty code to support it can literally double the size of the code base - and since a lot of devs use such frameworks rather than reinvent the wheel (or more like the rubber, ore and processing factories to reinvent the stuff to build the wheel) more and more sites are consequently dropping IE8 support, just like they dropped IE7.

You either need to
a) put a boot in the arse - via senior management - in your sysadmin*/deployment team, because if they're not full throttle on getting rid of XP & IE8 by now, they're not doing their job or are desperately underfunded.
or b) install chrome or run portable firefox, both of which install/run just fine as a non-admin account with restricted privileges, because you need a secure, i.e. up to date and patched browser for your job.

I assume you need a feed reader for your job, right?

*I am in fact a sysadmin. And yes, we're now replacing the last handful of machines (that are barely used) that cannot upgrade to win 7 + IE10. But everyone has already had firefox for years, and now chrome also.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:07 PM on May 21, 2013


The little note in the upper right hand corner of CommaFeed just changed to " Working on refresh rate, stay tuned." Cool. I will stay tuned. :)
posted by edheil at 1:37 PM on May 21, 2013


edheil: The little note in the upper right hand corner of CommaFeed just changed to " Working on refresh rate, stay tuned."

I feel bad for all these upstart feed readers that spend months throwing office parties for every 100 new users and then wake up one morning to "20,000 New Users! Your backend = BORKED" status.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:41 PM on May 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


what do you use, DU?
posted by Zed at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2013


There is a recurring problem with all these Google Reader replacements.

1) Create Google Reader replacement.
2) 90,000 people suddenly rush to try out your replacement.
3) Slows to a crawl, crashes, feeds refuse to import or update, bugs come to the surface.
4) Everyone thinks your app sucks and runs off to try the next replacement.

A few days ago, Commafeed was not like this - they had a fixed demo app you could log into, and their offered it as a Java web app you could install on your own server. Then, given the massive interest in it (and lack of knowledge of how to go install a Java app on a server), it looks like they opened the doors.

It's pretty good but it sure has its problems - the "Configuration" spanner doesn't work anywhere when I click it. I can't re-order feeds. Feed updates are slow. At the moment, I still think I prefer The Old Reader, I just hope it can survive.
posted by Jimbob at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love to move to feedly, really. But I can't get the "Saved" articles to sort correctly by date - it mixes 4 hours with 17 hours and with 1 day. If they would fix that, I would be a fine replacement. But nope. I get anxiety tightness in my chest just thinking about July 1...
posted by gemmy at 2:12 PM on May 21, 2013


I'm curious (and desperate): having road-tested a couple of Reader replacements, is anyone aware of one that will allow you to import starred items as well as your feed subscriptions from Reader? Is that even something that's going to be possible?
posted by hydatius at 2:24 PM on May 21, 2013


There is a lot of pr0n in the demo online . . .
posted by nostrada at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2013


I might be wrong about this, but it seems to me that a fair bit of infrastructure problems are solved if you just take care of subscription, saved post, and perhaps a bit of social network data, and push the job of fetching and rendering feeds to the client. In other words, use the Metafilter-Client approach implemented by FeedDemon, NetNewsWire, and RSS Owl rather than a Metfailter-Middleman-Client approach. However, I don't think you can do that in a browser frame without breaking the same-origin security rule.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:35 PM on May 21, 2013


For those of us who do have a lot of access to servers, is there a good replacement I can host myself?
posted by melissam at 12:38 PM on May 21 [+] [!]


I've had pretty good luck with tinytinyrss. I'm not sure besides the sharing features what it's missing that reader had, as I'd never used it. Pretty simple setup, looks like a usenet reader with a css theme, works pretty good for pretty much everything I need it for. The only two hiccups I had were a few stubborn feeds that didn't import properly from rssowl and I had to go through and do some detective work on, and getting the auto-update working (my fault assuming that php was symlinked to the latest version.)
posted by mcrandello at 2:38 PM on May 21, 2013


Firs: I know nothing whatsoever about any of this tech stuff. I had used google...I now use NewsBlur and Feedly--and will add the one here being discussed. In my know nothing life I figure more will be better because more chances of getting what I want.
posted by Postroad at 2:38 PM on May 21, 2013


re: starred articles, Feedly says "we will automatically upgrade ALL your feeds, your category/folder structure and up to 250 starred articles."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:43 PM on May 21, 2013


Thanks, CheeseDigestsAll. A quick back-of-napkin count tells me I've got just north of 500. Fuck. Those poor stars: the Great Winnowing of June '13 is upon them.
posted by hydatius at 3:41 PM on May 21, 2013


Inoreader is very intriguing. They have a clean interface, the ability to share articles, and a good mobile website.
posted by reenum at 3:49 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


-- takes Google-scale engineering I doubt anybody short of Micosoft/Yahoo can emulate.

I wonder if Apache Solr & Nutch would help here...
posted by Stu-Pendous at 4:03 PM on May 21, 2013


Don't forget you can go to Google Takeout to extract your data from Reader. If it doesn't get automatically loaded elsewhere, you'll at least still have the raw links.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:05 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Signed up and got this:
fail to allocate internal resource to execute the target task
AND
An unexpected error occured
400 Bad Request { "error" : "invalid_grant" }
*sigh*
posted by unliteral at 4:54 PM on May 21, 2013


Wouldn't mind but they can't spell occurred, really?
posted by unliteral at 4:58 PM on May 21, 2013


It's only for iOS, but Newsify will sync your starred items. I've been using it on my 3GS in whatever the list view option is and it looks great. it's not a desktop solution, but it's something.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:29 PM on May 21, 2013


So far I have tried:

- Feedly: I like it well enough, but until I know for sure how Normandy works, I am not trusting it.
- Feed Wrangler: I think I could have been happy here, especially with how it handled Instapaper, but it does not import current Reader folders. That was a deal breaker.
- Newsblur: This is where I am staying for now. It updates quickly, and I like the iOS apps well enough. I wish that it had a Mac client or better yet, all of the Reeder apps worked with it.

I would like to try:

Fever: I worry that the dev won't be attentive, and rightly so considering his current situation.
Feedbin: The lack of Reeder support on the iPad is a deal breaker. If it ever gains Reeder support across platforms, I would give it a go.

In case you can't tell, I love Reeder.
posted by Silvertree at 8:17 PM on May 21, 2013


InstaReader syncs Google Reader starred items to Instapaper (from there I presume you could transfer your items from InstaReader to Pocket or another service).

Google Reader All Starred for Greasemonkey

Tutorial on converting starred items from Google Takeout into bookmarks in Firefox and Chrome, or sending them to Evernote (warning: latter requires python)

Importing Starred Items into Any RSS Reader and again as browser bookmarks also.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:42 PM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Personally I've started using Pocket in the instances where I used to use Starred items and I find I don't let items languish as long, because I would forget to check my starred items.

If you are still starring items in Google Reader, there are plenty of If This Then That recipes to send new starred items to various services of your choice. I don't think any of them work for previously-starred items, though.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:46 PM on May 21, 2013


What I really need isn't for someone to mimic Reader's front end, but its back end. The great thing about the Google dominance right now is that every RSS reader out there on every platform supports that one service. You can choose apps that render the content differently, but it's trivial to switch between them because your feed list's API is available to all. I don't need one solution for RSS consumption in my desktop web browser, I need one solution for RSS delivery to multiple programs across platforms.

Blargh.
posted by Corinth at 9:37 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Finding Newsbeuter (aka The Mutt of RSS feed readers) helped me through my grief over Reader's impending demise.
posted by Jenga at 11:29 PM on May 21, 2013


I've been running the self-hosted fever for the past month, and so far have not missed google reader for a moment.

It's a little slower than Google's soon-to-end service, however it's more or less exactly what I wanted.

The Good:
1. RSS on a website, means no need to sync what's been read between devices.
2. Pretty outstanding web interface, for both desktop and mobile
3. It's self hosted, so I am one step further away from the all seeing eye of Google
4. Reeder for iPhone integration
5. Really easy "Feedlet" link to quickly add a page/feed to Fever. Even with the Chrome RSS 'extension', I've never found it this easy to add a feed to GR.

The Ugly:
1. No Reeder for Mac or iPad integration (yet)
2. The future of the product is uncertain - one poor dev with his hands very, very full. Might be a problem in the future, however today it's working just fine..
posted by channey at 12:49 AM on May 22, 2013


Another Inoreader user here, as mentiones on ask recently
Tried Commafeed, but either the load is currently to high ór it's just too slow for me (>1500 feeds); will try again in a couple of days.

Inoreader is fast & bloat free, the developer is very fast to respond to new suggestions & bugs. He's working on the few remaining issues (feed in multiple folders & tag-support, API).
posted by Akeem at 2:33 AM on May 22, 2013


hydatius - Inoreader imported my starred items from Google Reader (it even brought over items that GR cached from sites that don't exist anymore). I did it by importing from the Takeout file.
posted by General Malaise at 5:49 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ino reader is importing everything now, including the starred items, from the regular Reader Import option, too. I'm getting a feed update warning but the message says they're looking into it but I can't tell that there's an error anyway.

So far it looks great, although I'd really like to be able to drag and drop the list of feeds in any order, but I can get used to that change.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:01 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I just found the drag and drop option under the Subscription options triangle thingy.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:07 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the Commafeed guys got whatever was blocking their refresh rate to go away. I'm seeing the same stories in Reader and CF now, including the Portland fluoridation story that went up on the blue ten minutes ago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:11 AM on May 22, 2013


Eideteker: There are people who don't use LiveJournal as their RSS reader? wtf?

After LiveJournal, I never could get used to any other feed reader. I still use it and Dreamwidth (because I can add feeds for free on Dreamwidth) as feed readers even though they take forever to post feed updates, but it's not like I need to know what's going on everywhere immediately. I tried using Google Reader, but I wound up with too many feeds and it felt like a goddamn chore going through everything.
posted by Redfield at 8:44 AM on May 22, 2013


They seem to have overcompensated with the refresh rate now. It's super-noticeable on my slowish computer, which is having to pause everything every thirty seconds or so while commafeed refreshes. If its refreshes are going to stay this intrusive, I'd actually prefer it to update at my command, with a button-push or something, rather than on its own schedule.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 11:44 AM on May 22, 2013


octothorpe: "I wonder how loudly I'll have to shout "INSTALL A LOCAL RSS READER" before anyone can hear it.

That's great for one device but how would that sync between my home laptop, my work laptop, my Nexus 7 and my phone?
"

I use local RSS readers and I used Google to sync them.

Now what am I supposed to do?
posted by Samizdata at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


@gilrain
> As noted, [Feedly is] also the only of the new readers which updates promptly across even unpopular feeds. Yes, that's because it's still just a front-end to Reader.

FWIW: I switched to NewsBlur (premium) about a week ago, and I find it updating one important feed (to which I am the only subscriber) _way more often_ than Google Reader used to. Where GR missed items, giving me a new bunch ~once a day, NewsBlur gives me new items several times a day.

I think that premium bit makes a big difference. I've got a bunch of feeds passed through Yahoo Pipes or otherwise massaged such that I'm the only subscriber to that particular feed in the world, and NewsBlur (premium) updates them super fast.
posted by arantius at 7:05 AM on May 23, 2013


I have several feed readers up and running at the moment and am just waiting it out for the next couple weeks to see which one will suit me best and be running speedily once the rush of new users wanes. It's creating this funny loop of making sure that the one I clicked on has no unread items before I leave and then clearing out the others so that I won't be re-seeing the updates.

I don't know what I'm going to do June 1st though...IFTTT will no longer be working with Feedly, I imagine. The prospect of adding things to Pinboard manually terrifies me (I really like the magic of clicking the bookmark in the feed reader and having the item appear at the other end. Cheap thrills, what you gonna do?)
posted by iamkimiam at 8:01 AM on May 23, 2013


ArkhanJG: "Newsblur's entire codebase is on github "

Thank goodness it's not on google code: A Change to Google Code Download Service
posted by boo_radley at 1:13 PM on May 23, 2013


Thank goodness it's not on google code: A Change to Google Code Download Service

That's regarding file downloads, which GitHub also discontinued last December.
posted by zsazsa at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2013


Commafeed now comes with added 502 error. Bad Gateway, indeed.
posted by Fezboy! at 9:37 AM on May 24, 2013


Yeah, I just found it 502'd. Kind of a shaky start, but they figured out their refresh problem so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt for the gateway thing.
posted by Think_Long at 9:39 AM on May 24, 2013


Digg announces Digg Reader is on schedule for June release.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:46 AM on May 24, 2013


Me too. Just kvetching because I don't have my full compliment of distractions on a Friday afternoon before the long holiday weekend.
posted by Fezboy! at 9:46 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


New InoReader user here. I think its a great replacement.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:49 PM on May 26, 2013


I'm currently using netvibes and find it barely OK. With just Ask.metafilter.com I get lots of duplicate entries, plus for a lot of sites I get year old articles appearing as new. Needs some work.

Just checked InoReader and on their front page:

Warning! In order to preserve the quality of service for our users new registrations are temporary suspended. Please check back in a day. Sorry about that.

So I think I'll stick with netvibes until July or so when (hopefully) the dust has settled.
posted by Admira at 12:41 AM on May 27, 2013


New InoReader user here. I think its a great replacement.

Been testing The Old Reader, Comma Feed, and Ino thoroughly, and Ino is my winner so far.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:34 PM on May 28, 2013


I'd like to test out the "connections" feature of InoReader, but I don't know anyone who uses it. Any MeFite Ino Readers care to get linked? I'm listed by my real name (David Provost).
posted by Rock Steady at 5:37 AM on May 30, 2013


Looks like inoreader is allowing new users again -- the cessation was only for 3 days.
posted by Zed at 8:11 AM on May 30, 2013


If anyone else signed up for InoReader (which is really rather nice), I'm angelchrys if you want to connect.
posted by angelchrys at 9:55 AM on May 30, 2013


I've moved over to Bazqux and ponied up the few dollars for a yearly sub. It's been great so far, including letting you see comments as well as posts onsite.
posted by Ilira at 7:21 AM on June 5, 2013


Metatalk
posted by roll truck roll at 11:51 AM on June 5, 2013


Feedly has announced that the apps Newsify, Reeder, Press, Nextgen Reader and gReader will be working with Feedly before Google Reader shuts down.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:09 PM on June 5, 2013


Why Reader got the axe.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:52 AM on June 7, 2013


I saw Yoleo recommended over on the Accordion Guy blog. Might be worth poking around with.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:19 PM on June 8, 2013


Yoleo doesn't seem to allow importing the XML from Reader. I don't want to give out Google access willy nilly ...
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2013


I get that it's the new hotness and all, but I'm unwilling to have my mail or my feeds exist only on a server somewhere. I spend too much time in dodgy connectivity situations to have no local copies, and I'm really used to being able to tell my laptop, phone, or tablet to load up on updates before I get on a plane, say. (Plus, I have yet to see a web app that could come close to the speed and utility of a native app.) This DQ's a whole bunch of web-only RSS solutions.

NewsBlur *looked* interesting for about 10 minutes to me, until it turned out he doesn't maintain the unread state on items over 2 weeks old. They'll just get silently marked "read". That's a giant WTF for me, seriously, and a total dealbreaker. Also, I remain baffled by the need everyone seems to have to staple social features on otherwise unrelated activities. I have a blog, I'm on Twitter, and I grudgingly use Facebook; if I need to share stuff, I have plenty of options without needing to add another one.

I looked at Feedly, too, but it seems way more interesting in being pretty, or giving me a magazine-like interface, than anything else. It's too fiddly and too slow on my iPad, so I gave it a pass, too.

Feedbin is what the oh-so-silent, allergic-to-support-queries author of the nevertheless excellent Reeder app is porting to, but with 19 days to go only his iPhone app works with Feedbin; neither the Mac nor the iPad app are ready to roll. I'll use this when I can use Reeder on all three platforms, but I guess at this point I'm stuck using New News Wire on my Mac at the end of the month, because I have absolutely ZERO expectation he'll make the deadline.
posted by uberchet at 1:43 PM on June 11, 2013


I guess at this point I'm stuck using New News Wire on my Mac at the end of the month

This is pretty much where I am. What I'll end up losing is the ability to read feeds on the run. On the upside, I'll be loading/reading more stuff into Instapaper, I suppose, since that's what I'll be able to get to on my phone and my iPad.
posted by immlass at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2013


Hive looks kind of interesting. It's in closed beta, let me know if you want an invite.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:53 PM on June 19, 2013


Feedly now has a web based reader, and I've now replaced netvibes with it and I'm very happy.
posted by Admira at 12:02 AM on June 21, 2013


« Older In 2011, the CIA reportedly hired a doctor in Paki...   |   How to Convince People WiFi Is... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments