Capn Design

Entries tagged feed readers

How to Open Feeds in NetNewsWire with Google Chrome

Posted June 4, 2010

Recently, I switched to Chrome. In general, I prefer it to Firefox, but there are some differences that bug me. The biggest is the inability to auto-discover feeds and load them in NetNewsWire (or your desktop feed reader of choice). The RSS Subscription Extension got me close, but I had to figure out the rest. Here are step by step instructions.

  1. Go to the extension page and install the RSS Subscription Extension.
  2. Navigate to any page that has a discoverable feed set up and click on the feed icon in the location bar.
  3. 20100604feed1.pngClick on the dropdown that defaults to ‘Google Reader’ and click on ‘Manage…’.
  4. Click the ‘Add…’ button.
  5. Enter ‘NetNewsWire’ (or whatever) as the description and the following code as the URL: javascript:var url=decodeURIComponent('%s');var feedWindow = window.open('feed://' + url.substr(7)); feedWindow.close();
  6. Go back to your blog of choice, click on the feed icon and, NetNewsWire now being your default, click the ‘Subscribe Now’ button.
  7. PROFIT.

I won’t go into boring detail, but we need to use javascript because %s writes out an encoded version of the feed URL. So we’re copying the URL, decoding it, opening a window with the feed protocol, then closing the window.

As I noted before, this isn’t just for NetNewsWire, but for any desktop feed reader. If you want to know how to set your feed reader to be the default for the feed protocol, just ask Google (but you’ll need to use another browser).

My Top Feature Request for All Feed Readers

Posted January 24, 2008

20080124nnwstyle.jpgAfter putting together Simply Structured and years of hearing people gripe about the dearth of style in feed readers, I've realized my biggest request for NetNewsWire, or any reader for that matter, is customized styles for each feed. Even more, I don't just want the end-user to be able to customize styles, but for the author to be able to push styles alongside their content.

Styles on a feed-by-feed basis isn't a huge stretch, especially in NNW where style packages already exist, but pushing styles with your feed is something RSS and Atom don't support. But so what? In the early days of HTML, Netscape Navigator went beyond the HTML spec and added unsupported styles that developers wanted and the web is a better place for it. I'm not advocating for every feed reader to require its own custom flavor of RSS, but if they could add one line that was easily ignored by other RSS parsers, it would make for a fantastic experience. If we're already designing custom versions of sites for our iPhones and other mobile platforms, why not feed readers too?

You could argue custom styles unnecessarily complicate a feed reader, but I don't think it effects how most people consume feeds. The primary benefit of feed readers is having a device that notifies you when there is new content. The second largest benefit is having all the content in one place. Individual styles don't diminish these facts and help bring some individuality back to the web. In a time when we all have custom homepages and visit fewer and fewer sites, it'd be nice to inject a bit more personality into our daily lives.

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