RSS reader

Lazyweb, what is your favorite RSS reader app for iOS?

I switch back and forth between Feedly, Newsify and Reeder and I kind of dislike them all.

I want the ability to go to the next article using either my left or right hand. I want to be able to do this using a tap gesture, not with a fucking horizontal swipe that constantly gets confused with a vertical scroll. And since "next" is the most important command to the point that it is nearly the only command, I want the click target to not be itty bitty.

Why is this hard?

Previously.

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72 Responses:

  1. adam says:

    I prefer feedly. Set default view to "all", and it should just present you with a nice list on open. Swipe up through pages of stories, tap to open, swipe right to close and return to list.

    • jwz says:

      Did you miss the part where I said I used Feedly, and swiping is bullshit?

      Also I basically never want to return to the list. I just want to move on to the next thing.

  2. I use and endorse NewsBlur, and it has a nice big "next" button conveniently located on the lower right hand quadrant of every article view. It's maybe not ideally placed for ambidextrous navigation, but it's there and it's decently sized.

    • At least on my iPhone 6-sized device, I can tap the NEXT button in NewsBlur with either thumb pretty comfortably. Then again, I've never had swiping and scrolling get confused either - so either I'm weird or NewsBlur does it better?

      Disclaimer: I work on the NewsBlur iOS app, though am not paid in that capacity (it's open source).

    • matt says:

      +1 for NewsBlur. I've got no connection to them (him?) but I jumped to them/him immediately after Google announced they were dumping Reader. I feel like this fits your criteria.

  3. Sam says:

    Can't tell from your description if you are for or against the vertical scroll.

    that being said.

    I use Unread, which is all about the vertical scroll for viewing articles, with a preview of any image, and the first paragraph or so of text, a tap brings up the full article, then swipe left brings me back to the list.

    It also is not perfect, to view an article on the web, you either have to stretch your finger up to the headline for the simple one tap option, or, swipe left again and select view on web from a menu that comes up. I find this mildly irritating, but not a deal breaker irritation compared to other RSS readers I have used.

    • Sam says:

      Oh, and when viewing articles, not the summary, a vertical scroll will take you to the next article without going back to the article listing.

      • jwz says:

        "Don't make me scroll all the way to the bottom of a 10 page article I was done reading by page 2 in order to hit next" is another peeve.

        • Sam says:

          Yeah, I do wish for some sort of a next gesture when viewing an article.

          I like their summary/list view compared to all the others I have used, so going back one step and scrolling is not too bad for my reading habits.

  4. jens says:

    I use tiny tiny rss https://tt-rss.org/gitlab/fox/tt-rss/wikis/home but I don't use iOS

    • Joe Crawford says:

      I use Tiny Tiny RSS (which appears to have the most hostile primary maintainer of a piece of software I've ever encountered) and like it well enough.

      I'm still resentful enough of Google for shutting down Google Reader that I'll whine here for the nth time.

      The reason I'm daring to post this is because there's an iOS app called tiny Reader RSS that you can see from their 3rd featured screenshot has persistent "next" article icon on the reading page that you don't have to scroll to.

      I will say though, that the mandate to require Tiny Tiny RSS yourself may make this a nonstarter.

      • Jeroen says:

        Yeah, I've experienced that hostility. I had the crazy idea to host a single user instance on sqlite, which he finds completely ludicrous. This is only supported because he's using standard libraries. Seems to work well enough though.

        Anyway, on the iPhone I tend to use the app, it works, but can be improved quite a lot. On other devices I tend to use the web interface directly, which is pretty good.

        • pjz says:

          If you get tired of TTRSS (or PHP), commafeed is a great alternative and is much easier (IMO) to install/setup/run/maintain than TTRSS.

          • someguy says:

            I'm not sure if Java can be considered better than PHP with a straight face, but still nice to know of another TTRSS alternative.

            • PJ says:

              The advantages of Java over PHP that I found are:
              1. Easier deployment: single .jar vs the incredible mess that is tyres
              2. Easier deployment: self-running jar server to localhost-proxy to vs setting up PHP support on your web server

              And yah, neither would be my first choice, but at least commanders is a lot more self contained, making it easier to upgrade.

          • Jeroen says:

            TTRSS is written in PHP, Commafeed is in Java.
            I feel tainted just having to choose between the two.

      • MattyJ says:

        I'm glad someone else brought it up. I didn't want to be 'that guy'. But since the subject has been broached ...

        I use the iOS app and I like it. It's no frills and does what it should. The previous/next arrows, which function just as one would expect, are on the left side, though. I have big hands and an iphone 7 and I can reach it from both sides no problem but Tom Cruise-sized people might have a problem reaching it with their right hands.

        One thing I also like is that the swipey functions on the list view can be set to be left-to-right or right-to-left, depending on the mood my hands are in that month.

        And it has the all-important 'mark all as read' button on individual feeds.

        Yeah, you have to set up your own TTRSS server. I like that, personally, because it keeps my feeds up to date no matter what device I'm reading from, but is a non-starter for some people. I happened to host my own mail server in AWS already so it was a snap to piggyback that on there.

  5. Bret says:

    I haven't found anything better than Reeder. No issues with it personally. Are you aware you can pull down to the next story? Newsblur is good too.

    • jwz says:

      If by "pull down" you mean "scroll toward top", that goes to the previous article. If you are all hthe way at the bottom, scrolling again does "next", but that sucks too.

      • Bret says:

        Yeah natural scrolling (e.g. scroll scroll scroll ... rubber band... keep scrolling => next/prev story) requires a min of at least 2 swipes in the same direction.

        You also have the prev/next buttons in the bottom, easily accessable from both left and right hands, which seems like what you would want. I guess you would prefer more of a iBooks/Kindle page turning between stories feature?

  6. Dan says:

    NewsBlur ++. I think it hits all the high points

    • jwz says:

      Doesn't interface with Feedly like literally every other modern RSS reader, free version only supports 64 feeds (FFS!) and non-free is $24 per year. Nnnnnnnoooooooope.

      • Michael says:

        All the software is available, so if you want you can run your own for free.

        • jwz says:

          If I wanted to write my own RSS reader, I'd have done so a long time ago. I just want an appliance that works.

          • Michael says:

            No need to write it, install it. I don't so I am happy to pay the money for them to maintain it.

      • db48x says:

        Yea, Newsblur is a pretty good app, if you're already subscribed to the Newsblur service. Newsblur is open source, and apparently not too difficult to host yourself, but I decided that $24/yr wasn't so bad compared to the cost of my time to set it up locally. Not to mention the annoyance of doing all that ops stuff from time to time.

        What I ought to do is free up a week or two where I can mash Newsblur together with Sandstorm (https://sandstorm.io/). That would eliminate a lot of the annoyance, if not the time cost.

      • Gabriel says:

        Just to be clear, the Newsblur app is not an RSS reader app. It's an interface to the Newsblur RSS reading service. It doesn't integrate with Feedly because the Newsblur backend (what your $24 is paying for) does that part.

        Basically you asked for a new e-mail client, and someone suggested you simply switch your mail provider to Gmail so you can use their web interface.

        • jwz says:

          The Feedly backend is basically the same thing, but every other RSS reader out there had the sense to implement Feedly's API instead of rolling their own. I gather Feedly has some "pro version" that keeps the lights on, but the "free" version is actually functional.

  7. ajslater says:

    Reeder + Inoreader.com

    - Former developer at Bloglines

    • J. Peterson says:

      Huge +1 for Inoreader. They offer iOS/Android/Web apps, all well designed.

      In retrospect, Google Reader going away was a good thing mainly because that cleared the path for this product.

  8. Alex says:

    I use Mr Reader on iPad (I haven't tried it on iPhone), which seems to tick your boxes. It's not entirely swipe-free but the article view has next/previous buttons permanently on the side. The buttons look small but there's about an inch of clickable area. It's a one-off purchase and it supports Feedly accounts.

  9. Rick says:

    Mr Reader definitely on iPad. Not sure it's being actively updated but I hate swiping too and Mr Reader does the job reliably.

  10. Sinonymous says:

    tinytinyrss here too, together with reeder on ios using the feeder extension of ttrss. Most work happens on the server and media is preloaded, very slick imo.

  11. I use Feedly on Android since Google Reader demise. I also use it one handed, usually in right hand, resting the Note 4 on my fingers and flicking next article with my thumb. I almost never miss the flick (getting vertical scroll instead). Since, I can do the thumb horiz flick reliably, I do like that the whole Note 4 screen is the target zone for the horiz flick.

    I wonder how differently you are holding/using your phone that makes it hard to do the horizontal flick/swipe.

    Regarding the tap vs flick UI, I really like Kindle reader implementation. Both tap and flick works. Flick from left (previous page), flick from right (next page), whole screen is target. Tap left half of screen (previous page), tap right half of screen (next page). I haven't noticed an RSS reader with similar UI though.

    • jwz says:

      I mostly use an iPad, and sometimes I hold it in my right hand and sometimes in my left. All of these RSS readers are completely useless when holding an iPad one handed in your left hand.

      And with all of them, with either hand, a "horizontal swipe" gesture with my thumb is interpreted as "vertical scroll" at least 20% of the time.

  12. Miguel says:

    I use Feedly on both iPhone (useful on the subway) and iPad, and the actual Feedly site on my Mac, and I'm a Feedly Pro subscriber.

    While I personally prefer to use the swipe, and for whatever reason it never gets confused for me with vertical scrolls for me, the Feedly iOS apps can be configured to use taps for next story. Go to the bottom of the feed list, Settings -> Gestures -> Tap Edge to Next/Prev Story. Taps on the right edge will go to the next story, taps on the left edge will go to the previous.

    Note: I actually dislike that setting because the way I hold the devices it will sometimes interpret my fingers holding onto the edge as a tap and lose my place in the current story. Also, I can swipe with my either thumb to go back or forward while using their respective grips, but I can't tap the opposite edge one handed. I can (and do, daily) scroll through hundreds of stories with swipes with very little effort.

    • jwz says:

      Yes, I know about this, and it's useless because if you're holding an iPad left handed you can only use "tap" to go to "previous", not to "next".

  13. how about that approach where you choose small tools, each one for one single function?

    So I'm using rss2email to fetch feeds, save them to local maildirs, display using mutt and access via ssh (so on Android using irssiConnectBot)

    works pretty well for me.

    • jwz says:

      How about no.

      • yeah, i know… it sounds pretty unusable

        but the fun thing about such stuff is, that you can exchange parts of the setup however you like.

        So it pretty much boils down to "use a mail client" and there are many out there that would fit your description on how you want to read mails.

      • choncan says:

        (I can't be the only one who laughed out loud at the good doctor's advice for our gracious host...)

  14. Kevin Lyda says:

    I use tt-rss. It's a pile of php poo, but some kind soul packaged it well enough: https://github.com/clue/docker-ttrss . I created the postgres and ttrss containers a few years ago and that was it. I "manage" it with two shell scripts that are a combined 28 lines.

    Oh, and the main developer is a dick from exchanges I've read. But it works well enough and meets my "read just with my keyboard" requirement. And on the phone you can just swipe left. You can also use the volume buttons (optional). One nice feature is that if you read an article recently but now it's (obviously) not in your unread free - but is in your "recently read" feed.

    Anyway, I'm guessing you'll hate this idea, but it works for me. I can share the scripts if you'd like them. I can also give you an account on my instance - but note it runs on my home server which is connected to the internets via a wet piece of string.

  15. Chrishawn says:

    Mr. Reader on iPad

  16. foo says:

    I switched to Inoreader when Google pulled the plug on Google Reader, and I'm quite happy with it. I use Android though, so can't comment on their iOS app.

  17. valgonzarp says:

    What about Reeder next/prev tab bar buttons? Or they'd be fine if not for the pull-to-next screwing the experience?

    • valgonzarp says:

      …asking because you can disable pull to next/prev article in Reeder's settings. Just sayin.

  18. Ricky Morse says:

    I use Mr. Reader on my iPad. There are buttons that can be on lower left or right for moving to next or previous, but it has a "swipe in from the edge" controller that works fairly well. I know you said that swipes are anathema, but as this swipe is one that starts off the edge of the screen, I've never had it mistaken for a vertical move.

    Caveat: I haven't yet updated to iOS 10, so I don't know if that changes anything.

  19. Cowmix says:

    I'm just thrilled people are still using RSS readers.

  20. CJ says:

    Anyone who is recommending Mr. Reader: it's not available anymore. The developer posted this on his site:
    "September 2016: I stopped iOS development and removed all apps from the App Store."

  21. Spook, The Imaginative Fake Name says:

    I use FeeddlerPro, hooked up to an Inoreader account (don't know if that part is pertinent, but Feeddler does support switching between multiple accounts.)

    It has a small fixed pane at the bottom of the screen containing buttons that do various actions, including "next", "previous", "favorite", "mark unread", "walk the dog", etc. No scrolling required to go to the next article.

    Is that what you're looking for? Am I missing something here?

    There's a free version, which I used initially, but decided to upgrade. I don't remember what the delta is between the free and paid versions is.

    • Spook, The Imaginative Fake Name says:

      FWIW, I've had no trouble hitting the "next" button while reading on an iPad one-handed with either hand. Although I think it might be slightly easier with the left hand.

    • saxmaniac says:

      This. Feeddler Pro. Well worth the few bucks.

  22. Bernd says:

    It's a bit off-topic, but what I dislike about RSS readers is, that you end up going to the original site quite often. There are lots of feeds that do only provide the first paragraph "embedded" in the RSS item. To read the rest, some internal browser comes into play. So in my dream world, there would be something like plucker/sitescooper (originally developed for the palm handheld) run in between my RSS viewer and the original site. Maybe I download everything in advance, or this is done even on demand only. Do you know if such things already exist in an more up-to-date fashion than plucker? The minimum shippable product could also be something, where the internal browser has activated something like the reader-view constantly. Also, do you know how to integrate social media streams, so that I have only one "hub" where i have all the stuff of interest in one place? Do I have to setup something like TinyTinyRSS/selfoss myself?

  23. Edwin says:

    Hi Jamie,
    This is Edwin from feedly. You mentioned this feature request a couple of years ago I think so we implemented it as a preference knob (both on iOS and Android). See https://www.dropbox.com/s/ib6t240phgly83n/Slack%20for%20iOS%20Upload-4.jpg?dl=0 If it does not work as advertised, please let me know at edwin@feedly.com
    Have a good week end!
    -Edwin

    • Edwin says:

      Just to be clear, the preference knob is called Tap Edge Previous / Next Story. The way it works is that once you have opened a story, you can transition to the next story in the list by tapping on the right edge (48px I believe). You can also transition to the previous story by tapping on the left edge.

      • jwz says:

        Right, I get that, the problem is that if I'm holding an iPad one handed in my left hand, there's no easy way to go to the next story with a tap (rather than a swipe). My thumb would have to be 7" long to reach the right edge.

        • Edwin says:

          I see...I am curious, what would the ideal experience look like? May be we can alter the experience on the iPad which has a bigger screen and more margins. -Edwin

          • jwz says:

            My ideal layout for the clickable regions would look something like this:

            Prev
            Next
            iOS Share Button
            Open in Safari
            Prev
            Next

            Also it would be great to omit the blank margins on the left and right: if I'm looking at an article that has a 100% width image in it, that image should go all the way to the edge of the glass, instead of only taking up 80% of my screen horizontally.

          • jwz says:

            Well, damn, why didn't that work...

          • jwz says:

            Ok, fixed my drawing, I think! CSS: still mysterious after all these years.

            • Edwin says:

              Thanks for the drawing. Will pass it the dev team. We are going to push an update in 2 weeks. I will try to see if we can squeeze prev / next part of this in.