Why and how I setup my feeds

How I use RSS to consume websites, youtube, blogs and Internet things

🗓️ 06 Feb 2021

🏷️ googleless foss linux

Why RSS? 💻 📱

Websites of today are bloated, if you are reading this, you probably know that. If I want to access information from any article, I also have to deal with sidebars full of suggestions, ads and images that I don’t care about, and only try to keep me browsing and wasting my time.

Due to me trying to use the Internet on a more meaningful way, I decided to get most of my text based content, and even videos from Youtube, LBRY or other sites, fetched into a single place that shows me every article I need, this is the biggest strength of the Really Simple Syndication feed.

🗒️ RSS: Really Simple Setup

I have seen a bunch of different ways that people use to sync their feeds, be it with services like Feedly or Inoreader, or just copying and pasting their OPML files. Accordingly, there are a lot of programs and websites that allow you to access your feed, be it minimal, terminal based and with no images, or full featured, offering diverse layouts and customization options.

I have checked many of those programs, but I am going to show you my current choices both for my Android device and my Linux computer

Flym

This is my current choice for android devices. It is completely open source and quite simple to use. It is fairly functional, and I love that it can fetch full websites, even when their RSS are incomplete.

This is how it’s interface looks like, I have the dark AMOLED theme enabled.

Flym Interface

The app allows the creation of groups, which helps to categorize stuff according to your needs. This app has a few caveats tho, since sometimes reloading feeds can be a bit of a chore, but, it mostly works correctly. Flym has the basic exporting and importing features too, so it’s a very nice and tidy application. Time to talk about my desktop feed reader.

Newsboat

The website sums everything up

Newsboat is an RSS/Atom feed reader for the text console. It’s an actively maintained fork of Newsbeuter.

So, it is a fork the now dead Newsbeuter, and it offers a fairly similar functionality. Being a terminal based reader, it is keyboard driven, and its great at that. The config file is fairly customizable, although I haven’t played too much with it.

Newsboat Interface

🔄 RSS: Really Simple to Syncthing

Honestly these puns are kind of cringe. Anyways, Syncthing, is such a wonderful tool. Ever since I figured out how to use it, I really loved it with all my heart. The same goes to KDE Connect, which, despite it’s name, works on my window manager wonderfully.

The only relatively bad thing is that I have to press “Export” e “Import” (or input the command), but the good thing is, that I will know for sure that I will get the latest OPML I saved.

This a little screenshot that hopefully helps you understand how it works. I can go into more detail in a later blog if you so wish.

Syncthing and file manager

Depending on your feed reader of choice, you will have to setup up some things. In my case, I just have an alias for Newsboat in my .bashrc.

alias syncboat="newsboat --export-from-opml /path/to/opml.opml"

And in Flym’s case, well, I can’t do much with it. There are applications that allow you to create shortcuts to certain parts of it. Android has some of this built-in, if you keep pressed the Flym icon on your phone home screen, you can see some shortcuts to open Favorites, Unreads, etc.

Using Nova Launcher, I can have an Activity shortcut, which allows me to do a similar thing, but it is a bit more complicated. Sadly, Flym only has a Main Activity, so no way to import OPMLs from there, I think I can talk about Nova’s Activites later.

As of now, I think it would be nice if the developer added a way to open those files directly from my file manager, be it with the Share menu, or showing up in the Open With options, since I am aware that AntennaPod, a podcast app, shows up there. That way, I can just create a shortcut to the folder, or even the file, and it would be easier to setup.

💭 Wrapping up

This is my second blog, in my #100DaysToOffload challenge. After reading Marc’s post about why he is still using RSS, I decided to do my take on the matter. He goes to different places on his blog, so you should check it out too!

Let me know how do you manage your feeds by @ me on Mastodon, maybe you got a better solution to manage your feeds.

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