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Universal RSS Revisited

AJB1971

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 23, 2011
215
171
For some reason, I found myself with a bit of spare time recently so I decided to look again at RSS. I discovered a couple of interesting things which I thought I’d share.

If you don’t know what RSS is, you might want to watch the following video. Think of it like a personalised magazine where the content is brought to you rather than you going to it -

A bit of background information, I became disillusioned with RSS a few years ago when feeds started disappearing and some websites started offering a general feed where they had previously offered specific ones. I don’t think the situation was helped by the emergence of Apple’s and Google’s News apps, which I find offer an underwhelming experience in comparison.

Hidden Feeds
IMPORTANT - When trying to find feeds, don’t use Safari as by default it will ask: ‘Do you want to allow this page to open “News”?’, the only options being to cancel or allow. I ended up using Chrome, which would generate the web address that I needed for my reader.

I found the following articles which explained how to find feeds that might otherwise not be apparent. A lot of websites no longer display links for RSS feeds -
https://www.howtogeek.com/318401/how-to-find-or-create-an-rss-feed-for-any-website/
https://rss.com/blog/find-rss-feed/

For example, there are no details of RSS feeds that I can find on www.the-race.com. My RSS reader shows feeds available for either all of their content or Formula 1, but if I just want Esports coverage, no feed is shown. If I go to their Esports homepage, click on the web address and type feed at the end of it, a list of code is displayed which indicates that there is a separate feed. I then copy that address into my RSS reader.

Also, if you’re viewing the page source to find a feed, as mentioned in one of the articles above, try searching for the Atom or JSON formats as these are alternatives to RSS.

Filtering Feeds
There are ways of creating your own feeds, such as using the feed creator at http://createfeed.fivefilters.org. I was able to get this to work, but it is quite technical to set up and I found it unreliable at listing titles. The free version will list the last five articles of a feed.

If you want to try it, I found the following video which explains how to use it -

An alternative is https://rss.app, but that’s a paid service and their pricing isn’t transparent so I didn’t even try it.

The option I went with is https://siftrss.com. I’ve only been using it for a few days, but so far it has worked flawlessly. It’s free to use and I found it easy to setup. (Ironically the website went down for a short period of time whilst I was typing this!)

For example, one website I was having difficulty with was Engadget. They do have a general RSS feed, but I only wanted to read the reviews. Using SiftRSS, I was able to filter the general feed so that only articles containing the word review in either the title or the link would be displayed in my reader.


I use Feedly to manage my feeds. They also have their own app, but I prefer using the Fiery Feeds app to view them. I find the web mode works well for viewing articles - it allows ads in a way that I find tolerable.

RSS is still an excellent way of viewing articles on the web, but it really shouldn’t be this difficult to set things up.
 

bogdanw

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2009
1,050
543
I use Feedly to manage my feeds. They also have their own app, but I prefer using the Fiery Feeds app to view them.
After the demise of Google Reader, I moved some of my feeds to Feedly and some to The Old Reader. I noticed that Feedly doesn't update feeds with few subscribers as often, so news from some small local news websites appear with a significant delay.
I use Reeder 3, but I don't recommend buying it. The developer has the habit of launching a new version and removing the previous one from the App Store to force users to pay again. I own Reeder 2 and Reeder 3, both now removed from App Store, although the last one works on a supported iOS version - 12.4.6.
 

AJB1971

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 23, 2011
215
171
After the demise of Google Reader, I moved some of my feeds to Feedly and some to The Old Reader. I noticed that Feedly doesn't update feeds with few subscribers as often, so news from some small local news websites appear with a significant delay.
I use Reeder 3, but I don't recommend buying it. The developer has the habit of launching a new version and removing the previous one from the App Store to force users to pay again. I own Reeder 2 and Reeder 3, both now removed from App Store, although the last one works on a supported iOS version - 12.4.6.
I had looked at Reeder 4 but noticed that the developer replaced apps on a regular basis so I figured that I would wait until Reeder 5 was released.

I also looked at Unread 2, which does look really good, but it’s currently £18.99 per year. I don’t think it offers enough to justify that sort of price and past experience suggests that developers can stop supporting apps at any time -

Whilst there is a premium version of Fiery Feeds, I’ve stuck with the free one. The ads in the web mode are discrete enough, and they do help support the content creators, so I don’t begrudge them.

I used to use Mr. Reader, which was a good app, although not the most intuitive.

I’ve briefly tried NetNewsWire 5, but the article view options aren’t as good as Fiery Feeds. For example, it won’t display review scores in either of the viewing options, which means that I then have to open the article in Safari. It does sound like a good project, though -

My main reason for going back to RSS is to cut down on information overload. So far, things are going well, although I will be editing my feed list over the next few days.
 
Last edited:

cambookpro

macrumors 604
Feb 3, 2010
6,885
2,626
United Kingdom
Have been using Reeder for years - since version 1. I switched to Feedly from Google Reader when the latter closed. Very happy with it, still think it’s the best way to read news. I don’t mind Reeder’s model of replacing apps - it’s better than a subscription, as if you don’t want to upgrade you don’t have to pay. The old versions don’t suddenly stop working. Developers have got to charge money for their apps somehow, and it’s a reasonable price.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,904
10,691
California
I am a big RSS user and run ReadKit on macOS and lire on iOS.

I use Feedly to sync with the Pro version that has really good filtering.
 

bogdanw

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2009
1,050
543
I don’t mind Reeder’s model of replacing apps - it’s better than a subscription, as if you don’t want to upgrade you don’t have to pay.
I perfectly understand that a developer can not provide perpetual updates, but that's not a reason to remove the app from the App Store. I know that I can go to the Purchased section and search for Reeder 3, but some people don't and see that only Reeder 4 is available.
On macOS I paid 5$ for Fluid https://fluidapp.com and turned Feedly into an app. I like that I can set some feeds to Title-only and some to Magazine view.
 

cambookpro

macrumors 604
Feb 3, 2010
6,885
2,626
United Kingdom
I perfectly understand that a developer can not provide perpetual updates, but that's not a reason to remove the app from the App Store. I know that I can go to the Purchased section and search for Reeder 3, but some people don't and see that only Reeder 4 is available.
On macOS I paid 5$ for Fluid https://fluidapp.com and turned Feedly into an app. I like that I can set some feeds to Title-only and some to Magazine view.
I'd blame Apple for not allowing upgrade pricing in the App Store - the only option is to have ads, make it a subscription or remove old versions and replace with new ones to fund continued development. Removing the old ones makes the most sense I think - you wouldn't want new customers accidentally purchasing old versions. In any case, it's my personal favourite RSS reader, but there are quite a few good ones out there. Benefits of competition.
 

AJB1971

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 23, 2011
215
171
That reminds me of my first feed reader, Pulse. They launched version 3.0 back in 2012, but it wasn’t well received and they continued to offer the older version alongside it.

Another of my favourite apps that's no longer available is Zite. I regarded it as a content discovery app and still haven’t found a suitable replacement for it.

Zite used algorithms to find articles based on your interests and it felt far more curated than, say, Apple News or Flipboard, who subsequently purchased the company and, supposedly, integrated the technology into their own app. It still looks good today -
 
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