Infinite Wishes 🏳️‍⚧️🚀

Is a weblog by Emma Humphries

03 Apr 2023 » Web Based Feed Readers That Don't Bust Unions

There’s something cursed, it would seem, about RSS readers. Google kills Reader. Feedly decides to market themselves as a commercial surveillance platform. I’m not happy with Feedly promoting their service as a tool to thwart worker democracy (oh, hai, Foley & Lardner LLP.) But the news has gotten people talking about RSS readers, which provide a way for you to manage your news feeds.

Managing what feeds you follow is a great way to avoid the doomscroll nature of feeds tuned by someone else’s methodology.

I’m going to talk about a couple of browser-based feed readers I use. Both of these provide ways for you to follow non-RSS sources including Instagram and Twitter (so you can get a feed of your friends, instead of Elon’s ego.)

Both of these import and export OPML files, the standard format for sharing lists of sites to follow in a feed reader, so it’s easy to import your feeds to try one, and export to move to another.

Fraidycat

Fraidycat is a desktop browser extension for Firefox and Chrome, as well as an app for Windows and MacOS.

It runs in your browser or desktop app without a central service. Besides RSS and Atom, it will also let you follow Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch accounts.

Unlike Feedly and other RSS readers, it doesn’t do a “river of news” format, but provides a list of recent items from a site or social media follow. You’ll click into the site to read the item.

Fraidycat main screen with a category tab selected and a list of sites and current stories

You can switch between a line of headlines or a list of headlines.

Detail of Fraidycat showing a list of articles for a site

You can organize the feeds into categories and frequency you want to look at them.

Kicks Condor created the project and maintains it. Fraidycat is free as in beer.

There’s no mobile web or app version of Fraidycat, but the other reader I’m covering here works on desktop and mobile browsers.

1Feed

1Feed, like Fraidycat, doesn’t display whole articles. For each site you follow in a category, it shows the title and link to the most recent post.

Mobile Web view of 1Feed

As I mentioned before, it works great on mobile browsers, and you can save it as a “app button” on your phone so you can open it from your home screen instead of opening a bookmark on your browser.

It supports follows for Twitter as well as sites using RSS and Atom.

The site is free to use, but limits the number of custom categories you can create. There’s a monthly and yearly subscription option so you can create unlimited categories.

What to use

If you exclusively read feeds on your desktop, Fraidycat would be my choice, as long as you’re fine with clicking into sites to read the item.

If you plan to use a phone or tablet, 1Feed works great on those.

Both are web-based readers, so they can update and fix bugs without gate-keeping by an app store. I hope you give one or both a try.

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