RSS

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You've seen this before.

Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, abbrevivated as RSS is a common web syndication protocol. Atom is another standard that is growing in popularity. The term RSS often refers to web feeds generally regardless of the underlying protocol used. Many websites support RSS/Atom feeds and third party services can provide them where they are not otherwise available.

Most feed readers support both Atom and RSS.

Uses

  • News
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Torrents
  • Forum Threads
  • Search Queries
  • Order Tracking
  • Newsletters*
  • Grades
  • Logs
Warning: Avoid using RSS/Atom to receive sensitive information. Anyone with a link to a feed can read its contents.

Not every service publishes web feeds - which is a real shame. And some web feeds are deliberately truncated in order to entice readers into reading the full articles in their natural, ad-ridden habitat. Fortunately, third party services have popped up to fill this niche by running scrapers to produce customized feeds. However, because they act as middle-men, they raise some questions regarding user privacy. And when they get too popular they are rate-limite rendering them unusable.

To amend these problems, try RSS-bridge.

rss-bridge is a local web feed generator. There are also numerous publicly available instances - however be mindful of the aforementioned issues.

YouTube RSS

YouTube has hidden support for RSS. Identifying a channel's RSS feed can be tricky and may require inspecting the channel page's source. A better alternative is to use replacement feeds provided by Invidious which are not only more convenient but also help insulate you from Google's prying eyes.

Migrating users may wish to export their YouTube subscriptions to an .opml file for import into a feed reader.

Twitter

Twitter supported RSS until around 2013, but this feature was a little inconvenient for their business model so it had to go. Several services which provided RSS feeds for Twitter have come and gone since. nitter is an all around excellent frontend for Twitter with support for RSS feeds. It is analogous to Invidious.

Newsletters

Keep your inbox organized. Services like kill-the-newsletter.com will create dummy inboxes and server new e-mails over RSS.

Recommended Feed Aggregators

  • Thunderbird has bult in support for RSS/Atom with easy and useful filters.
  • Newsboat provides a minimal and scriptable command line RSS/Atom interface. Replaces newsbeuter.
    • To import an .opml file use the -i flag. Ex: newsboat -i feeds.opml
    • Feeds are stored, one per line in ~/.config/newsboat/urls
    • Tip: A simple one-liner for adding RSS feeds to newsboat: echo $1 >> ~/.config/newsboat/urls.
  • TinyTinyRSS (requires web server).
  • spaRSS (mobile)

"But there's no official or unofficial feed for X"

Then let the world know!