Feed Wrangler: A New RSS Reader With Smart Streams, Filters, Read Later Integration

Feed Wrangler: A New RSS Reader With Smart Streams, Filters, Read Later Integration

Feed Wrangler: A New RSS Reader With Smart Streams, Filters, Read Later Integration
“I wanted to take a barely different take on the concept of what an RSS platform should do”, David Smith, impartial developer and podcaster, advised me about his new product, Feed Wrangler.

Soon after Google revealed they could discontinue their RSS provider Reader this July, a slew of corporations were short to announce their current news reading apps might either assist “uploading” functions to let Google Reader customers speedy migrate or, in some instances, be updated with APIs cloning the unofficial Reader one, permitting other builders to tweak their RSS clients for new API endpoints. This is what apps and services like Flipboard, Zite, Digg, and Feedly are doing. Instead, David Smith did some thing exceptional: he announced he’d be launching a completely new RSS syncing provider, known as Feed Wrangler, for an annual charge:

I consider the purpose that Google grew to become its again on Reader and left its users hanging is they have been users no longer customers. I’m now not inquisitive about constructing a platform designed to draw as many customers as viable and then workout how to sustain it later. I want to alternatively build something this is sustainable from Day 1. I want my customers to sense assured that they could assume this to be around long into the destiny. I need to construct a courting with them and make some thing they surely, sincerely love.

Feed Wrangler, open to the public these days, comes with a website, a suite of local apps, and a $19 annual subscription.

“My personal use of RSS is primarily based round speedy triaging the information into things I either want to ship to Instapaper, skim speedy, or ignore”, Smith delivered in our email verbal exchange, “and Feed Wrangler is constructed to make this workflow as frictionless as feasible”. After having tried Feed Wrangler for a month, I agree: whilst similar to Google Reader (there’s a list of Unread, All, and Starred feeds), Feed Wrangler is particular inside the way it lets you prepare subscriptions and sift via items posted on a day by day basis.

As a Google Reader refugee, I changed into curious to see how Feed Wrangler could deal with the migration process. I’m constantly a little scared to lose the set of subscriptions I’ve been constructing through the years, or, worse, my hundreds of starred gadgets that comprise precious hyperlinks and posts I’d want to constantly keep on hand. There are three fundamental ways to add feeds in Feed Wrangler: you can manually paste a internet site’s URL; you could add an OPML record with your feed list; or, the exceptional option, you may furnish Feed Wrangler get admission to on your Google Reader account so it’ll fetch all your subscriptions and starred items for you. The latter changed into, through far, my favored: it efficiently imported all valid RSS feeds, and it displayed people who had old URLs (I had a few).

The Feed Wrangler website is easy and easy, relatively paying homage to Smith’s previous iOS layout & development paintings, Check the Weather. On the left aspect of the screen, there’s a sidebar list Feeds at the pinnacle (Unread, All, Starred) and, without delay below them, the first precise function of Feed Wrangler: Smart Streams.

Rene Ritchie wrote that RSS is “the filesystem of the net”, and I assume the outline is becoming in case you take into account that folders have been Google Reader’s organizational backbone. Following that analogy, Feed Wrangler’s Smart Streams are like clever folders – a greater bendy manner to mix objects from a everyday filesystem with extra standards inclusive of seek terms and statuses.

Right now, Smart Streams can create streams of RSS items primarily based on three regulations: search filters, unread reputation, and feed. You can build a Smart Stream that honestly incorporates all posts out of your preferred Apple-associated websites – what would be the ordinary “Apple” folder in Google Reader – or you may do extra advanced filtering along with all unread objects that contain “WWDC keynote”, or each object that consists of “iOS automation” from five unique sources.

On the Feed Wrangler website, Smith explains that “one brilliant use for that is to create a circulation of only your Must Check that you could then fast study”, and I agree. In my account, I even have created a “Fellow Nerds” circulation with all items from buddies like Shawn and Stephen; I have an “Apple Sites” circulation for all the Apple information blogs I am subscribed to; and then I have seek-based streams for things like WWDC, iOS 7, and Nintendo. I have a tendency to subscribe to a whole lot of feeds, and I accept as true with Smart Streams provide a extra logical manner of organizing feeds in subsets that are not based totally on a one-to-one relationship, but that alternatively integrate the conventional factors of folders with searches to create extra flexible streams of content.

Smart Streams ought to do lots extra. Imagine being able to create streams for starred objects in a specific month containing a particular key-word (“starred items with WWDC in June 2013”), objects that comprise a keyword and are “from the beyond week”, or, for advanced users, RSS entries that healthy regular expressions. Smith told me that he has “quite a few features and capability inside the pipeline” to keep to enhance Feed Wrangler, and I think the highest capability is honestly in extending the Smart Streams’ talents.

In terms of presentation, Feed Wrangler’s UI chrome is saved to a naked minimum with a focal point on speedy skimming headlines and expanding objects that capture your interest. Items are displayed vertically with title, web site name, a relative timestamp, and buttons to mark as starred, open inside the browser, and examine later.

Another feature of Feed Wrangler is, in reality, its direct integration with Pocket and Instapaper to keep gadgets for later with out relying on bookmarklets or third-party plugins. When you have no Unread feeds, Feed Wrangler will display a link for your read later inbox.

If you’ve already saved an item for later but you didn’t mark it as examine in Feed Wrangler, the provider can periodically question Pocket or Instapaper and show a checkmark (as opposed to a study later button) subsequent to the ones objects to your feeds; this is a subtle feature, however it indicates the type of current method to RSS intake that Smith desires to have with Feed Wrangler.

Feed Wrangler comes with filters to automatically mark items matching certain keywords as examine. This can be especially beneficial if you want to simplify control of feeds which could contain objects you don’t care approximately, however I’d want to see extra options in a destiny update. It’d be best if you want to create filters for precise web sites, filters for keywords handiest displayed within the title of an item, or filters for key phrases that also appear in the content fetched by using Feed Wrangler.

Overall, the Feed Wrangler internet site is a great 1.Zero with some omissions that would be fixed quick without compromising Smith’s authentic imaginative and prescient. While I understand the focal point on quick skimming headlines, an choice to reveal a 2–3 line inline preview could be quality to get a higher concept of an object on your feed list; I leave out having car-refresh with an unread badge in my browser’s tab; and I accept as true with there should be options to prompt a bigger view (right now the feed list is compact, and long titles can be reduce off) and control font sizes.

The official Feed Wrangler apps for iPhone and iPad are truthful, with a few quality touches. When putting in the app for the primary time, the login screen will show a 1Password button to quickly open AgileBits’ app and search for a Feed Wrangler login; or, while including man or woman feeds the use of a website or RSS URL, you can faucet a clipboard button to stick textual content from the device clipboard while not having to carry up the default iOS faucet & maintain popup menu. When analyzing a piece of writing, you may tap the website’s name to jump to a view listing all the modern day RSS entries from that supply.

The app’s main screen is, essentially, a replication of the website’s sidebar: Unread, All Feeds, and Starred shortcuts are listed on the top; Smart Streams are placed without delay beneath them; as opposed to being grouped inner a “Manage Feeds” segment (like at the website), man or woman feeds are listed of the bottom, and you can faucet on them to get a listing of a website’s ultra-modern gadgets. Like feedwrangler.Net, you may seek throughout all objects in your account, create Smart Streams, and log into Pocket or Instapaper to configure your study later carrier of desire.

In the iOS apps, “Mark All Read” is replaced by means of a Wrangle button that can be used to selectively mark gadgets as study or send them to Pocket/Instapaper, mark all as examine, or test which objects have already been saved for later. In phrases of sharing options, Feed Wrangler 1.0 comes with an obvious set of Mail, Message, Twitter, Facebook, and Copy URL buttons.

Compared to current Google Reader clients inclusive of Reeder and Mr. Reader, Feed Wrangler for iOS is restrained – perhaps too much. But David Smith is aware about the restrictions of his initial launch: “The suite of 1st-birthday celebration packages I consist of with the carrier are intended to serve most effective as a place to begin”, Smith stated, “and I sit up for seeing the methods developers build upon the platform each aesthetically and functionally”.

In the next “few weeks”, an legit API may be released to permit 1/3-birthday party developers create Feed Wrangler clients, and I suppose in an effort to be a key aspect for scaling the provider’s adoption fee to accommodate extraordinary forms of users and packages. While the platform is strong and reliable, it lacks the lovely interface polish of Google Reader apps like Reeder, or the energy-consumer capability of Mr. Reader’s services menu. The respectable internet site and apps ought to serve as an example of what Feed Wrangler can do, but it’ll be up to third-party clients to prove Feed Wrangler’s flexibility.

Last week, I stopped checking Google Reader, removed Reeder from my iPhone’s Home display and OS X dock, moved Mr. Reader on my iPad’s 2d page, and started out the usage of Feed Wrangler complete-time as my foremost RSS reader.

The transition from effective apps that I had been using for years to new apps that lack a variety of capabilities has been difficult, however, in the end, I assume it’ll be really worth it. Google Reader is going away in two months, and I choose getting used to a Reader-free world now, rather than after WWDC. I agree with David, and I realize that 1/3-birthday celebration developers will remember Feed Wrangler’s API once it’s released. I were enjoying Feed Wrangler’s Smart Streams as a way to skim via feeds with a mixture of seek and individual sites; I actually have discovered the examine later integrations to be convenient and beneficial.

Of all of the Google Reader alternatives I’ve been trying, Feed Wrangler struck me as the only with a clear vision, a few specific capabilities, a reliable engine, and a simple business version as a way to encourage the creation of third-celebration apps with more effective, versatile function sets. David Smith says he’s already operating on a laptop customer and an iOS podcast app so one can use Feed Wrangler’s backend for syncing, and I look forward to seeing how person remarks will pressure Feed Wrangler’s destiny versions.

Feed Wrangler is available with a $19 annual subscription, processed via Stripe; the iOS app is to be had on the App Store, with an In-App Purchase to release the equal subscription using your iTunes account.

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