Organising my RSS feeds

2023-06-02 14:00:00 +0700 by Mark Smith

One of the items that's been on my todo list for a couple of weeks now is to organise my RSS feeds. I've been tidying them up best I can in short bursts here and there, but I'm struggling, feels like I'm walking up an escalator that's going the other way. It never feels like I'm making much progress.

Feedly has been my app of choice for many years now. The interface is pretty good, there are some nice features. I have the iOS app, and it works quite well, but the one thing it doesn't do well, or at all, is offline. When I'm offline, the app opens but it's just an empty screen, no way to do anything. I find the best time to catchup on RSS feeds is when offline so that's not very practical.

I had a bit of a look for some feed readers in the App Store and found one called Newsify. It's quite good, even offers to login using my feedly account so I was up an running quite quickly, no need to export and re-import feeds. I configured it so the articles appear in a compact way, and the reading experience is relatively good.

All the articles get re-formatted so they all look the same no matter which website you are reading. That's sort of annoying. I know it probably saves a bunch of bandwidth, but I really like to read from the website in question. Striping out all the styling kind of ruins the vibe.

Couldn't there be an option to fetch the actual published web page and store it similar to how Safari Reading Lists work? Surely in this day and age that would be possible. Looks like I'm able to re-organise my feeds in Newsify, though I haven't tried that yet.

I think though what I'd like to be able todo is to manage my feeds in the same way I manage my blog, linkblog, podcast and newsletter data. I just want to add a feeds folder in my data repo and have a markdown file for each feed. Then I could build one or several OPML subscription list files which I would host on my website. I'd like to be able to import that into whichever feed reader I was using. That way I can easily try out new readers. Maybe even try using the feeds in some app I could build myself sometime in the future.

The biggest show stoppers:

  1. Feed readers only seem to support OPML files for bulk import, not for dynamically getting the list of feeds
  2. The OPML file would need to be public, or if basic auth could be supported by the reader app, how do I add authentication to the static files I host on Netlify?

Maybe these are solvable issues, but figured I'd write a blog post about it. If you know any solutions that could help, please email me, I'll write up the setup if I manage to get it working :)

Btw, here's an example OPML file that lists the feeds on this website.

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