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Feedbin

I’m on my third RSS Service within the last twelve months. And in contrast to most other people, I’m not even counting Google Reader.

I retired my Fever server last summer, mostly because eventually I found it too slow and cumbersome to comfortably use it. Sure, it is a cool idea to host your own RSS server, but still1.

At the time, Feed Wrangler seemed to bye most obvious candidate for switching to. After all, it was less expensive than running my own server and third-party app support was available.

And man, the third-party turned out a blessing because Feed Wrangler’s website and the first-party apps are anything else than pretty and I would only use them for administrative tasks.

In principle, Feed Wrangler works as advertised. However, I grew out of it eventually, partially because of the ponderous web-site, and partly because I was looking for a more elegant overall solution.

Enter Feedbin. I have had a look at Feedbin before, but at the time the difference between Feed Wrangler and Feedbin, in terms of elegance, was arguably diminishable.

And it probably wasn’t just me, Macdrifter also had the impression that Feedbin’s early days weren’t much smoother.

In stark contrast to Feed Wrangler, however, Feedbin has come a long way since I switched away from Fever to Feed Wrangler, it has undergone massive improvements that (in my personal impression) completely invalidate any of Gabe’s complaints.

The import of my feeds, for example, went perfect. All feeds made it to Feedbin in perfect shape, no complaints there.

Another thing on Gabe’s list was bad performance. In contrast to that, today’s performance of Feedbin is absolutely top-notch. I am reading feeds in the browser2 enough to qualify for making this statement.

Here’s a list of things that I found (after a period of reading my feeds with Feedbin for about six weeks3) remarkable about Feedbin:

Search in Feedbin is exactly as fast and accurate as you would wish it to be. It is hard to quantify this aspect, but on the other hand, instant results speak for themselves.

Subscribe

Subscriptions can be created using one of the usual bookmark lets or else by e-mail. Yes, e-mail the address of a feed to your specific Feedbin subscription address and there you go.

Browser

The experience in the browser is nuts compared to what both Fever and Feed Wrangler deliver. In fact, reading feeds in the browser is so good that I haven’t touched Readkit4 for a while now and I’m totally able to put my finger on what makes the difference:

  • Footnotes, Bigfoot style. Yes, that’s right. Footnotes are generally rendered as graphical click targets that produce little pop-ups containing the footnote’s text when clicked.
  • Syntax coloring for many programming languages. Who doesn’t read blogs that feature code snippets? Hm?
  • All your browser extensions available. This makes following links a breeze. No need to switch apps or deal with inferior in-app browsers.
  • Customizable experience. Themes for night and day, fonts, resizable columns. You name it.
  • Keyboard navigation. Granted, you can also get this from dedicated reading apps. But having a full-featured keyboard navigation directly in the browser is nothing to turn up one’s nose at.

Tags

You’re either into structuring your sea of feeds or you just ignore this or similar features in other services. Feedbin’s tags work well for me and I’ll leave it at that.

One less compelling aspect is that Readability is the only available mobilizer for Feedbin. It would be nice to have more options for this purpose.

However, this does not destroy the overall impression that Feedbin will make it as my preferred choice for reading feeds for the foreseeable future.

  1. It did not help that the perspectives for significant further development of Fever weren’t so great, according to Fever’s own developer, Shaun Inman.

  2. More on that later.

  3. And counting …

  4. Mind you, Readkit is a blessing for other services that do not deliver such a superior experience in the browser.

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