RSS and atom feeds are new love for me, just like how a teenager newly discovers Instagram.
I discovered using RSS and atom feeds only some months ago, so the concept is very new to me. But, being immersed in Linux and related technologies, I quickly caught up using them.
(Indians: it's not that RSS you thinking about 🤪)
Coming to know about minimal web and feeds
What did I use earlier?
Although i used to read articles on Internet very much earlier; but my workflow for them was not very organised. Some of them came up when I searched for something on search engines, or some of them Google News suggested me.
Google News suggested a lot of normie articles to me, so I had to keep scrolling to find good articles. Finding articles to read through search engines was also limiting as I would be limiting my reading material to what I search only.
How are feeds better?
RSS and atom feeds provide a way to me check new articles on diverse websites in a single way. The website may be a minimal website, or a bloated website. Even YouTube and Reddit have hidden working RSS feeds. While Youtube or Reddit may not show you all the stuff you have subscribed to, feeds provide you all the entries without any algorithm. So you can subscribe to content that way and never miss some updates. Also this way, I don't need to use the bloated websites, or even check for my favourite stuff on multiple different websites, and can see them all in one place.
Feeds are a minimal concept
Coming to collaboration of minimal websites and feeds; Feeds are the best combination with minimal websites, as they themselves are minimal delivery mechanism for updates. However big or complex a site is, feeds are standardised and most sites would follow the same standards, either atom (RSSv1) or RSS (RSSv2) feeds. The standards are quite minimal and satisfactorily complete at the same time: providing basic entries like uploaded date, modified date, unique ID, author, language, brief description, external link, etc.
How to receive feeds?
You need to use some specialised program to interact feeds. There can be multiple solutions for that:
- Some programs or browsers like Thuderbird, Vivaldi may come with an inbuilt feeds reader.
- There are multiple websites, like Feedly, available; providing you web apps for a feed reader, along with a mobile app for syncing.
- There are multiple CLI programs, like Newsboat that you can use to receive feeds.
- Also there are multiple native GUI apps for feeds, like Liferea, NewsFlash, etc.
- There are also multiple self hosted solutions like TinyRSS, FresRSS, miniflux. They all come with an adaptive website, so you can view feeds on all your devices, and sync your read and favourites history. These self hosted solutions also come with open API's and numerous open source apps can connect with those to provide a native experience. All the apps on all your devices would connect to same instance to sync the data, but you would still be using native apps. For example, miniflux can be connected with newsboat (a CLI feed reader), Newsflash (a Libadwaita based GUi feed reader, supporting multiple hosted solutions), Miniflutt (a minimal android feed reader, designed to work with Miniflux), ReadYou (a new in-develoment Material You android app supporting multiple hosted solutions)
Love for feeds and minimal web
Using feeds give me the same vibes as how an Indian teenager (or any other teenager) recently discovers vast world of social media, particularly Instagram. Though we may despise Instagram due to privacy issues and stuff, I still remember the first time I started using Instagram: it was a new kind of excitement, discovering something new on Internet. The same excitement I get through using feeds and minimal web. Whenever I come across some interesting profile (be it GitHub, LinkedIn, YouTube channel, Mastodon profile), I always search for a personal website. Many of them contain blogs and I always look for a feed link, and add it it immediately to miniflux . Whenever I get a new update, whenever I check my feeds daily in the Newsflash or Miniflutt app, I get excited to read the newly available article. Being master of what I read and control it fully is a liberating experience.
So all the Linux and tech people, please have a personal website (it need not be hosted on your own domain) and atleast write something. It would improve your writing, and communication skills, while also creating content for yourself, which would fill your website and make it look like atleast you have done somethinga and you know something in your field. In case you are looking for feed link from my website: it is https://hemish.net/posts/atom.xml