Friday, March 15, 2013

Web Feed Reader Wish List - My Must Have/Should Have/Would Be Nice Feature List

With Google Reader and my client reader of choice both dead, and given my complete reliance on consuming feeds, I, like so many of you, have started shopping for a replacement. This is my thinking out loud list of stuff I must have/should have/would be nice if it had feature list.

First off, I'm an edge case. Probably close to a worse case edge case. I subscribe to, as of this morning, 2,536 feeds. Many of these feeds are aggregate feeds, like, etc. While many of those feeds might not be active (my philosophy has been, when in doubt subscribe) many are. I scan 4k+ posts a day. This list is with all that in mind.

Must Have

  • Must support thousands of feeds
  • Must support folders
  • Must be server/cloud based
  • Must support fast scanning (i.e visual review of title)
  • Must have HTML5 interface
  • Must support OPML import
  • Must support OMPL export
  • Must support large OPML Import (> 500k file size)
  • Must have well performing UI
  • Must allow for scanning/marking as read by folder
  • Must honor my privacy, be private by default
  • Must be able to handle wonky feeds
  • Must not be a vector for web based infection
  • Must check for updated feeds at least every 30 minutes
  • Must be able to handle very active feeds (or at least have option to "turn on" highly active feed support)
  • Must support RSS 1+ and ATOM
  • Must have a solid business plan/revenue stream

Should Have

  • Should have a two way API (not just pull from client, but push back, such as read status, as well)
  • Should have Folder filtering to show only those folder with unread articles
  • Should be smart enough that feeds use single instance storage, but read status is personal (i.e. if two or more people subscribe to the same feed, it's only grabbed from the given site and stored once, using the same update period)
  • Should provide bandwidth limited features (even when using HTML5 version). I use a hotspot on my train ride to/from work, I don't want a bandwidth hog site/service. So option to filter out images/video/etc
  • Should work in IE
  • List/title view by All/Folder
  • Bulk option settings. I want to apply a view setting for all feeds, feeds by folder, etc. For example, change to a List/Title View for ALL folders, not have to do so, folder by folder.
  • Should have a clean and simple UI

Would Be Nice If

  • Windows Desktop/Windows Phone 8/Windows RT (in that order) client
  • Staring/favoriting/saving posts
  • Would be nice if the service were to somehow allow of better post providing tracking, i.e. support individual recoding/reporting to the producer of the feed. So if two people subscribe to the same feed, instead of being a single consumer, the producing site would see it as two.
  • Statics

Things I don't currently care about

  • Sharing articles
  • Social service integration
  • Magazine views


That's enough for now... Will update as more come to mind. :)


Elvis Rowe said...

The two best options I've found for my 150+ feeds are NewsBlur and Tiny Tiny RSS.

The first is a web service similar to Google Reader and it seems to be working well considering the recent flood of ex-Reader users. Only disadvantage is the minimum $12/annually to have more than 64 feeds.

The second is a solution you put on your own web server. I got it up and running on my Hostgator hosting account without too much trouble.

I'm still testing both to see which I'm going to go with permanently. I like Tiny Tiny RSS because I host it on MY server and have ultimately have control of how long I want to use it. With NewsBlur I have to worry about their business plan and them keeping the lights on.

Not sure how well these meet your requirements, but thought I'd point you in a direction.

Greg Duncan said...

@Elvis Rowe; I've heard Tiny Tiny RSS mentioned a number of times recently but it didn't connect with me mentally until you described it. In my mind I thought it was some kind of client. NOW I get it and now I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks! :)

Greg Duncan said...

@Elvis Rowe; And as for paying, I don't mind that at all (especially at that price). I'd almost rather pay and thereby give the company a revenue stream to improve the product than use something free. Now $499 is WAY to much, but 12 a year? If they fit my bill, then that's an easy sell... Thanks again

Anonymous said...

@Elvis Rowe. FYI newsblur is open source, and you can download and install a version yourself.