Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The State of RSS on the Mac

Philipp (via Dave Winer, Hacker News):

There are not that many great feed readers for macOS right now that work with the Fever API and have the Look & Feel of a native Mac app and I’m hoping that I missed one that matches my criteria:

  • Support for the Fever API
  • Native Mac app, no Electron
  • Not ugly
  • Optional: Bonus points if there’s also an app for iOS

What mostly sparked my blog post was that the two apps which looked most promising seem to have been abandoned or buggy to the degree that they are unusable. There's a big selection of very polished and feature-rich apps for iOS but the counterpart for macOS seems to be missing.

I’m currently using ReadKit, and fortunately it is not crashing for me the way it is for him. It does seem to be neglected, though.

Evergreen and News Explorer are both promising newcomers, and there is always Vienna—but I don’t think any of these supports the Fever API (which I also use via Tiny Tiny RSS).

Update (2018-07-25): See also: Leaf and NewsLife (alas, neither syncs with Fever).

Update (2018-07-26): Catalin Cimpanu (via Hacker News):

Mozilla engineers are preparing to remove one of the Firefox browser’s oldest features —its built-in support for RSS and Atom feeds, and inherently, the “Live Bookmarks” feature.


Not sure if you know RiverNews also a newcomer.

20 Comments RSS · Twitter

Don’t forget Reeder - http://reederapp.com


@Andrew @Marco The original post addresses Reeder.

Thanks for the post—I hadn't heard of Brent Simmons' Evergreen effort before and I like what I see so far. I built ToT (master b7575c6) and found that it supports Mojave's Dark Mode very well, even in web views. (The current posted binary doesn't have Dark Mode support and ToT looks better than the last status: https://twitter.com/evergreen_mac/status/1020402064428433409)

I've been using ReadKit for years, and while it does crash sometimes, its pretty rare for me. It is a bit neglected though.

maybe some of the good abandobed ones could be open sourced?

I use feedly in Safari. I used to use a newsreader app, but the links end up on the web, so it made no sense to me to start anywhere but in the browser.

The author does address Reeder in the original post, but the argument that he makes is a very weak one. Reeder has existed almost since the App Store has existed and it has been updated to make sure that it continues to function. You'd be lucky to receive annual updates, but Reeder is the solution that he is describing.

I like the Leaf app for the Mac. It is quite simple and clean. There‘s no iOS pendant though.

Forget what I said. Just checked and Leaf doesn’t support Fever (just the other popular hosts).

Since I heard about the planned framework to bring iOS apps more easily onto the Mac, I've thought that RSS readers could really be an area that would benefit. There certainly seem to be more good ones for iOS than for macOS, and working on a Mac version might appeal to one of the iOS developers if the codebase could be substantially the same...

Let's be honest: Native software on the Mac desktop is dying. Software means more and more Software a a Service (SaaS), Feedbin is a great example in the RSS space. On mobile plattforms, native software is important, however, it mostly serves as a bridge to SaaS (and social media). I am already happy that Reeder has not been fully abondoned yet on iOS …

I love Elfeed, however I’m an Emacs user and I suppose not all will find it as useful as I.

I agree with regard to the comments about Reeder. I’ve emailed the developer at least three times over the last 4 years and never received a reply or acknowledgement about the bugs I was reporting. And years (and several releases) later, those bugs are still present. At this point, I’d put it in the abanonware pile.

I read RSS exclusively on iOS these days (the iPad is the most perfect device for this consumption, IMO), and I can vouch that News Explorer is very, very good. And I'm very, very picky when it comes to feedreaders, going way back to NetNewsWire on the Mac at the dawn of RSS. I don't believe News Explorer supports Fever API. But a critical thing to note is News Explorer does not use any web aggregator services. It downloads direct to your device, and optionally will sync with other devices via iCloud. It's much faster than I expected. I dumped Feed Wrangler to go this route and no regrets so far. (Fever support would be cool, but Inman isn't selling/supporting that service any longer, so I wouldn't hold my breath—unless I missed some news on this front.)

@Brian Inman is not supporting Fever, but there are other services that use the Fever API.

Kind of disappointing that Reeder and Read Kit are the only real apps left standing and neither is exactly getting regular updates. I use both but in some ways the Blog marketplace never really recovered from the end of Google Reader and the rise of Facebook. As someone who hates Facebook I wish blogs would make a comeback.

While its true that Fever is no longer being sold, there is a healthy ecosystem surrounding it in the self-hosted aggregator sphere. Tt-rss offers support (via plugin) as do Miniflux, FreshRSS and others. These can then be accessed using ReadKit or Reeder, or using Unread or Reeder &c on ios. NewsExplorer looks nice, but as someone who's been burned continually by SaaS like NewsExplorer, that's not a path I'm going to tread again.

@daniel, @michael —
I see. I'd missed that. Cool.

@daniel —

News Explorer isn't SaaS. It's local software that downloads feeds direct to your device (optionally syncs them across devices with iCloud) for a one time fee of $5.

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