Some people may find themselves asking, just what is a feed reader and how do they work? A feed reader is a term that is used when talking about RSS technology. After the demise of Google Reader on July 1, 2013 it left RSS readers scrambling to find an alternative.
What Is RSS?
RSS, Rich Site Summary, is referred to as a web content delivery tool. RSS’s purpose is to bring to you web related content such as; blogs, podcast’s, video blogs and new headlines all in one centralized place for you. To be able to do this though we must first subscribe to an RSS Feed Reader. When doing this, we need to decide what method(s) is best for your RSS reading habits.
Best Types Of Feed Readers
Feed readers are broken into three main different types of news aggregators. The three types of feed readers are desktop based, web based, and mobile device based. We will be covering what the best feed reader options for desktop based and mobile device based feed readers.
Good Desktop Feed Readers
Desktop feed readers are one of the two methods are covering for you. A good desktop feed reader will allow you to get the RSS feeds you subscribe to all in one place. The first part of the process in picking out a good desktop feed reader that will accomplish your reading habits. Upon research in developing this tutorial we will be covering three of the most popular RSS feed readers. The first one being a cross platform feed reader RSSOwl. The second feed reader we will introduce you to is Vienna, which is strictly for the Macintosh and ReadKit for the Macintosh.
RSSOwl is one of the better RSS feed readers out there that because it is a fully cross-platform program. What this means to you is that RSSOwl can be ran on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. I really like RSSOwl because it allows you to switch to newspaper view, group specific entries and search specific keywords. RSSOwl also has a great feature that saves you time by allowing you re-use prior searches by saving them. Installing RSSOwl or other RSS feed readers procedure starts with going to RSSOwl’s website and downloading the program onto your computer. See gallery below for visual representations of the instructions.
- Download RSSOwl to your Windows PC
- Follow RSSOwl’s easy set-up wizard that walks you through the installation
- Do the RSSOwl tutorial to get familiarized with RSSOwl.
- RSSOwl is pretty simple to use creating a user friendly experience
- It is easy to check with “off-line” capacity capabilities
- Many sharing options that include via email or social media
- Allows you to set password restrictions on particular feeds that you don’t want others reading
- RSSOwl is open source, which means it’s free and should remain free
- Getting acquainted and setting up RSSOwl could be a little lengthy
Vienna is a RSS feed reader that is a simple, clean UI feed reader for the Mac. Vienna is free software that is compatible for the Mac OS X operating system. Vienna is perfect for those user’s who really would like to stay up-to-date on current news. I really like how quickly Vienna installs and it features a really well managed and easy to use interface for you.
Installing Vienna or other Mac compatible RSS feed readers procedure starts with going to Vienna’s website and downloading the program onto your Mac. See gallery below for visual representations of the instructions.
- Download Vienna RSS onto your Mac OS X computer
- Follow Vienna’s easy set-up wizard that walks you through the installation
- Explore Vienna’s tutorial on how to get started your RSS feed started
- Start exploring Vienna by using the search bar, and saving your feeds for later reading
- Vienna is very stable, doesn’t crash and is found to be very reliable
- Vienna has a very clean and simple user interface
- it’s FREE
- Doesn’t support the ability to read your feeds on your iOS devices
ReadKit for the Mac was voted one of the best Mac App Store Best of 2013. With ReadKit you have the ability to have everything all in one place and that is why it is very popular. The ReadKit application for the Mac, integrates a wide range of RSS Services that inclued; Fever, Feedly, Feedbin, FeedWrangler, and NewsBlur. It also syncs your bookmarks with Instapaper, Pocket, Pinboard, Readability and Delicious articles. ReadKit has the ability to be a one stop app for all. See gallery below for visual screenshots representations.
- Make sure you have OS X 10.6.6 or later
- Go to the Apple Itunes store and buy the ReadKit app for $6.99
- Explore the ReadKit tutorial on how to get started
- Get started exploring the ReadKit interface
- ReadKit is very fast and reliable
- Works well with other RSS services (Feedly, Feedbin, Feedwrangler to name a few)
- Integrates with Instapaper, Pocket, Pinboard, Readability and Delicious articles
- Reliable syncing
- For what ReadKit does being $6.99, is a steal
- No persistent search bar
- ReadKit does not have an app for the iPhone or iPad
- It’s NOT FREE
Even though this tutorial uses three of the best feed readers as examples, you will come to find out that there are many desktop RSS client applications to choose from. What it all boils down to when picking out your desktop RSS feed reader is finding one that suits your reading habits.
Mobile Device Based Feed Readers
Just like with desktop feed readers, there are many choices for you when it comes to mobile device based feed readers. Some of the top rated mobile feed readers are:
- Digg Reader
- RSS Reader
- And many more
For this mobile based feed reader tutorial we will explore, Feedly.
As Feedly is defined: it is a very powerful RSS reader application that is available for Web browser, any mobile device that is running on iOs or Android. Feedly is very a popular RSS reader for your mobile devices because it will automatically sync if you have Feedly on your smartphone or tablet. Feedly saves you so much time with sharing your content on social media and it is very simple to share that content on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Not to mention, Feedly can also integrate with Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote now. Installing Feedly on your mobile device starts with going to Google Play store or the iTunes store and searching for Feedly. See gallery below for visual screenshots representations.
- Locate and download Feedly from the Google Play or iTunes Store
- Once downloaded, open up the Feedly application
- Make Feedly yours by adding your favorite sites
- Or you can sign in with Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft or Evernote
- Feedly is a very clean looking design
- Feedly is designed for 3 different screen sizes (4 inch, 7 inch and 10 inch screen sizes)
- Uses your Facebook and Twitter to display links
- Feedly users can easily tag stories
- Some users don’t like the fact that it requires a Google account
As you can see, there is no need to panic now that the good ol’ Google Reader is now resting in piece. There are so many great alternatives out there for your desktop or mobile devices, you just need to get your hands on them and play!
For more information regarding RSS feed readers, please visit:
- 10 Powerful RSS Readers For Macs – Edudemic
- ReadKit App – Webin
- ReadKit – Mac App Store
- Review: ReadKit for OS X – Geek Beat Tv
- RSSOwl Download – RSSOwl
- After Testing Them All RSSOwl Wins – Softonic
- 8 Google Reader Alternatives For Your PC – CNet
- Feedly Review: Pros and Cons – PC Magazine
- Google Reader Is Shutting Down: Here Are Your Best Alternatives – LifeHacker
- Download Vienna – Download
- Vienna 3 – Vienna RSS Organization