A New RSS Reader For Me

6/22/2022 10:21 pm |

I have, for over a year now, scanned and read tens of thousands of items from RSS feeds through my FreshRSS installation. As of this writing, I am subscribed to 114 different feeds which I break into eight different categories. Though, the truth is, I don't use the category organization nearly at all. And part of that is because, it isn't relevant to my consuming the feed, the categories are there for me to manage my feed.

I will check my reader several times throughout the day, usually seeing between 50 and 200 posts when I do. And I don't bother going site by site or anything. I just use hotkeys and quickly jump to each entry, scanning through them for interesting stuff. I'd wager 80% of the links I post here originate in my RSS feed now. I love it.

That said, I've had a germinating idea for a new RSS reader-esque site/tool sitting in my head for weeks now. I had a few different pieces and ideas, and today's blog post by Dave Winer stirred it back up for me.

Within an hour, I had a list of features & ideas jotted down. The original idea was something more akin to a Tweetdeck style multi-column layout social bookmarking site.

But Dave's post caused me to reframe the idea and repurpose the UI. I do think this idea is more than just an RSS feed reader. I think of it more as a personal information hub. I'd integrate other API services, such as social platforms (pulling tweets in?), sports, weather updates, etc. Maybe even email.

The screen layout is in columns, though I don't yet have sizing or design concepts really in mind. I think there are two main columns and the ability to add more.

The main (to me, that means left, but we'll see how it ends up) column of this is the "Fast Lane" (working title) - which would be the most recent unread feed of stuff sorted chronologically. It's the firehouse of information.

I think the next column becomes a "Queue" list. You can flag content in the fast lane, and it gets pulled to the right so you have more time to peruse it. But the stuff in that column has an expiration. I've toyed with this idea when I was using Glowbug's draft post functionality as a quasi "to read" list. I didn't want to get to overwhelmed with things, so I was instituting a 48 hour timeout for this column, after that time it got dropped, assuming that since the item was not worth the effort to read in that time, that it was no longer important. If I really wanted to read something, I'd either read it immediately, or save it more permanently to come back to. I think that same idea would go into effect on the Queue. Though you'd customize the timeout time.

As I said, you would also have the ability to make different lanes. Maybe you want to filter on keywords, or a lane just filled with specific data sources. Or if it does integrate email, then you have a dedicated email inbox. That should be doable.

Now, also as above, sometimes I will just want to save things for a longer term purpose. Maybe it's a future blog post or maybe it's another project. That's when things get parked. And Parking is the more full "let's archive it, tag it, categorize it, etc." Save snapshots of the page, etc.

That's the core of the idea.

All of that could be just for an RSS reader style implementation. But I think this idea could also be more of a central hub. As someone who hungrily consumes information and data, this structure would really appeal to me. And it would allow me to combine my RSS reader and my Wallabag/Pocket content. You could come across a page or article outside of it, and then immediately queue or park it. The focused reading would need to be aces, optimized for ease and comfort of reading across devices.

And who knows what else there would be. Lots of integration ideas to play with and this is already quickly becoming a behemoth project. But... I'm not intimidated. I'm excited. God help me.

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