Goodbye Google Reader and Hello Tiny Tiny RSS

Right before I started typing this post I removed the Google Reader bookmark in my bookmark bar. And my life.

When you use something for 7 years and filter through 210,000 pieces of content using it, it really becomes part of your life. I used Google Reader more than any other single piece of web technology. I’ve been using Gmail since July 2005 because it is the best. I was using Reader because it was the best at aggregating content and dumping it in one easy to consume place. None of that mattered once Google announced they were shutting it down. This felt like a long term girlfriend breaking up with me and saying “it’s not you, it’s me”.

Feedly and The Old Reader came out as initial front runners, but:

  • Feedly – Nope, interface sucked, couldn’t consume fast enough, mobile app restarted and lost your state if you clicked out to an article in browser
  • The Old Reader – Great concept and have their heart in the right place, but not ready for primetime, interface and speed issues, longevity questionable without revenue and high server costs

After The Old Reader finally imported my feeds so I could at least pilot the service, I saw this post on Lifehacker: How to Build Your Own Syncing RSS Reader with Tiny Tiny RSS and Kick Google Reader to the Curb. It looked promising from the get-go and I was no stranger to hosting my own web apps like I do with WordPress. It was very promising indeed.

I fired Tiny Tiny RSS up on my shared host and got my feeds imported. It was just as fast and easy to use as Google Reader. It is more customizable than Reader and there’s a ton of potential for it to grow. Want to add some functionality, plugins. Want to change the look and feel, custom CSS. I’ve already taken CSS tweaks from other users and adapted them to my own taste. This is my feed reader how I want it. It’s awesome.

So my search for a Google Reader replacement is over. Tiny Tiny RSS will be serving up my RSS feeds until the Internet figures out a way to make RSS obsolete. Plus the $2 Android app is really good.

If you want to try it out let me know and I can give you access to my install.

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23 thoughts on “Goodbye Google Reader and Hello Tiny Tiny RSS”

  1. I’ll have to check out some of the CSS stuff. Wasn’t super impressed by the default layout. The android app sounds good though…that’s a drawback to theoldreader…no mobile access.

  2. I can send you my customizations. Gets it real close to Reader. Also added a video plugin so YouTube embeds show correctly.

  3. Be sure to click “show additional options”, then turn on Combined view and turn off automatically expand articles.

  4. There’s an option in the android app too. It’s a good feeling to see that left bar empty…like I’m all caught up with the world, haha.

  5. Android app is flat out awesome…like it more than the web version. Cranked the text up one size. Feed counts update better than the actual google reader app. Will try on the tablet.

  6. The “embed_original” plugin is pretty nice. Shortcut accessible with “a e” and displays nicely.

    Also, my custom stylesheet, andrew.css, is available to everyone to use. Mostly small tweaks to the headers and limiting content width like Reader did. Made some tweaks last night to make it play nice with “embed_original” so that iframe uses the full width.

  7. What didn’t you like about Feedly? I think the interface is fine.
    I don’t use a mobile app to look at my RSS feeds, but I’m sure that will change if I ever pick up a tablet.

  8. Their update this week added list views which helped, but for some reason that view is wider than the other pages and constantly slides the right side of the page in and out as I navigate around. Pretty annoying and distracting.

    Being a Chrome extension only is kind of lame coming from a web app developer perspective.

    The mobile app was a little slow and hard to navigate when I tried it. Just a wrapped up HTML5 app that loses state as soon as you jump out. As long as I don’t manually kill the app or power down my device, it should drop me right back where I was.

    That said I might pop on it every now and then to check progress and discover new feeds.

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