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Tiny Tiny RSS + Readability == The best way to read RSS feeds

Published: 22-12-2019 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article


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Back in 2012, I already wrote about Tiny Tiny RSS. We're now almost eight years later and I still use TT-RSS as my main RSS reader. I'm following almost a thousand feeds (944) and it is my main way of reading and discovering stuff online. All those personal blogs that post once half a year, mainline tech news sites and a bunch more sites. Back in 2012 I had 300 feeds, used the Android app. Nowdays, more feeds, still use the android app, used an iPhone app for a while and the server that it runs on has been migrated and upgraded a few times.

If you like this article, consider sponsoring me by trying out a Digital Ocean VPS. With this link you'll get $100 credit for 60 days). (referral link)

As you might know, I also love plain text. It's the most universal storage format, both durable and small. I don't want your nicely designed website, I want your content. Even worse for Medium.com blogs, or other sites that interrupt you and are reader-hostile. Cookiewalls, newsletter modals, all those annoyances are not possible with plain text.

Which is why on this site, every article is available as plaintext and also via Gopher. Text News is another example of me trying to make plaintext available to more people.

I want to share my Tiny Tiny RSS setup with you, which uses the af_readability plugin. Combined with the Android app, I've got an ideal setup to read just the content.

Readability

Readability is a term used to describe software that extracts the main content from a website. It tries to find the text that is the "article" and ignores all other things like menu's, headers, comments and footers. I use it for Text News and tt-rss has a plugin as well. Or, multiple plugins, there is also FeedIron and a few other readability options. af_readability is built in and shippes with tt-rss and works good enough for me.

Compare this, an article without the readability plugin:

without-readability

with this:

with-readability

The last screenshot has the readability plugin enabled. I don't have to leave the app to read the article, I'm not distracted by any web markup or annoyances, just the content I want.

One annoyance is that you have to enable the plugin on a per-feed setting:

settings

With almost a thousand feeds that is undoable. But, most feeds I read already have full text content in their feed, so not a big deal to manually enable it for a hundred feeds or so.

Another benefit I get is that when I go offline, all the content is synced into the mobile app. This means that when I sync and are offline but want to read feeds, I don't have an incomplete feed that requires me to click trough to the website.

Tags: articles , feeds , php , plaintext , rss , text , tiny-tiny-rss