My Feed Reader

If you want something done right….
Monday, January 16, 2006

The old adage goes, “if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.” Being the maniacally demanding perfectionist that I am, that is not an unusual sentiment for me. This time, my attention turned to feed readers. For some reason I decided I actually needed to start keeping up with what is happening in the world – or at least what is happening in the world that I might be interested in knowing about. As it happens, that doesn’t mean “news” at all, in the traditional sense; it is more like technology, music, food, random things. Since I have a lot of friends who blog, I decided that I could use them as a filter so that I wouldn’t have to read everything myself. And I picked a few other news sources that I felt would have interesting articles but not totally overwhelm me.

Now, I could have put all of these feeds into one of the zillions of feed readers that exist out there on the web, but I could not find (and I tried a ton) one of them that met my needs. All I wanted was a listing of the articles sorted by date, not by feed. (Recently I read that this style of feed reader is called “river of news” and has been advocated by Dave Winer, a big shot in the scripting/blogging world.) Since I couldn’t find anything I wanted, I decided to see what I could put together myself. So, a little internet research and three days of hacking with Python and CSS later, I wound up with this. It is updated four times a day (any more would be a total waste of processor and bandwidth) and the feeds that I use are hard-coded. There is nothing dynamic about it, but it does the trick very well. I’ve thought of many improvements that I can make, all that would be interesting to build in. But there is another adage that says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”