Friday, 15 March 2013

exiting google reader

Ok, we've whinged,  signed the petitions, and annoyed loved ones by going on and on about it, but big G is killing reader. Fact.

So what to do?

well there's three months yet so procrastination may bring benefits, something may happen, but you always need to have a plan B. In my case doubly so as I plan to be away for part of June.

First things first. Use Google Takeout and save your configuration data - essentially the list of feeds. I saved mine to dropbox so I could move it easily between machines.

Google doesn't give you a single list of feeds but a zip file containing a whole lot of geeky stuff and a feedlist. The file you want is subscriptions.xml.

Some newsfeed readers want a file with an opml extension as opposed to xml. Subscriptions.xml is in fact an opml file so simply copy it to something.opml eg

cp subscriptions.xml myrssfeeds.opml

Then the next thing to do is find some possible substitute applications. If it wasn't for the fact it's not quite there yet, Feedly would look like a good option as it works as a chrome application and has an android client allowing it to be used natively on my tablets.

However Feedly isn't yet bullet proof so I decided to try a couple of desktop applications, Newswire on OS X and Liferea on Linux as an extra backup plan.

Both have the simple three pane 'Outlook' style interface and are both eerily reminiscent of the old Pan usenet new reader. Newswire will sync with your reader account, Liferea wants an opml file. Both work reasonably well, and Newswire has a nice feature to clean out inactive feeds.

I've not yet tried  a windows application. My other thought is to get them to use a common opml file on dropbox for various applications to allow me to hop between platforms but I've not yet tried that.

Last time I changed feed readers it was from Bloglines to google reader and then, as the world was a simpler place in 2007, it was a simple move from one webpage and subscription list to another. Now as we're considerably more multi platform and multi device it's a tad more tricky ...

No comments: