Yesterday I learned that Bloglines will close down in less than a month. I have been using Bloglines for almost five years and despite its shortcomings, it never failed to deliver my daily dose of distractions. I will miss the familiar blue interface but I’m also excited about moving on to a new, more intelligent feed reader.
Today, I set out to find a replacement. I looked at a few readers that run on the desktop and I quickly decided I had to rule them out for two reasons. First, missing feed updates when my laptop isn’t connected to the internet or powered off. Second, taking the feed reader out of the browser means I have to switch context to open browser tabs, bookmark items, select text/right-click/search, etc.
I thought that the first problem could be solved by a desktop feed reader that fetches aggregated feed updates from a central server. BlogBridge seemed like a good candidate but it was unclear whether their service fetched feed updates or just kept a list of subscriptions and saved items. Even with a central server for fetching feeds, the second problem remains. I want to interact with a feed reader within the browser.
I have gone through a few lists of web-based readers and it’s amazing how many are defunct now. It seems like everyone decided to close shop after Google got in the game. Newsgator shut down their web-based feed reader last summer and pointed users to Google Reader. Along with Bloglines, these two were the biggest Google Reader competitors.
I don’t like Google Reader for a variety of reasons, a good one being that I subscribe to almost 500 feeds and Google purges posts more than a month old. That means I would be missing a lot of news I want to read later. Google Reader is out.
A few people recommended Feedingo and Good Noows on this HN thread. Feedingo looks promising and it’s only $10/month for 500 feeds. Good Noows doesn’t look that interesting. Netvibes is a fairly popular one but just doesn’t cut it as a feed reader. There’s a few more small web-based readers that I wouldn’t trust to fetch my feeds.
Nothing good so far but fortunately there are plenty of open source, web-based feed readers. Unfortunately most are either abandoned, incomplete, immature or a combination thereof. The following are the best I found after an extensive search.
Fever is commercial but only costs $30 and you get the full source code. It looks seriously sexy and comes with an array of nice features. TT-RSS looks pretty good and does some cool things like deduplication and filtering, however the main selling point seems to be the active community. rssLounge and Lilina are kind of nice but it seems I would have to build a lot of features myself.
I’ll be switching to either Fever or Tiny Tiny in the next couple of weeks. I will have to look more at Tiny’s source code first. I also really like the idea of letting someone else fetch my feeds, Superfeedr looks like the best service but there’s also Spinn3r and 80legs. I’ll be writing a follow-up post when I finally make the switch, stay tuned.