RSS? Call it Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, but RSS works by bringing website headlines and article summaries directly to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Instead of wading through a gazillion bookmarks and clicking until your develop repetitive stress syndrome, use RSS instead. Here are five of the best ways.
Free The Clicks!
The whole idea of using an RSS app is to save time. Think of it as a collection of easy to find bookmarks that stay in one place but bring the website to you so you don’t have to go find what you might want to read.
Subscribing to a website RSS removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content. Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates. The browser can also be commanded to automatically download the new data for the user.
In this case it’s not the browser, but a browser-like interface in an RSS reader.
5 – Feedly: Think free. Feedly gathers content from websites in your RSS list, including YouTube channels, which is a big plus. It also syncs with the Feedly app for iPhone and iPad. Feedly does not have all the bells and whistles of non-free RSS readers but is an excellent way to get started with RSS.
4 – Leaf: Now you’ll see some bells and whistles. Leaf has a price tag but a gazillion four and mostly five star ratings on the Mac App Store. It looks and feels like Safari with a sidebar of websites. Click to view website articles and click to view the one that interests you the most. This is much better than bookmarks because the articles come to you.
3 – Newsflow: At half the price of Leaf, Newsflow is more like a news ticker meets RSS reader. It syncs with Feedly and other services but is standalone so you can build your own RSS list. Articles can be saved from Pocket, Readability, Instapaper, Facebook, and Twitter. Lots of good ratings, too.
2 – ReadKit: By now you’ll see the similarities in RSS readers. Not all have iPhone and iPad versions, which can be a plus, but ReadKit may be the simplest of the full featured RSS readers. Many of these same features apply to the others on the list:
- Offline reading
- Customizable interface: font style, face, alignment, height, line spacing and page width
- Smart folders: can be used as unified folders but are more useful for everyone. These special folders act like “Smart playlists” in iTunes updating their contents real-time
- Change between original and stripped down content with a click (provided by Mercury web parser
- In-app browser for viewing links and other references
- The browser is capable to save links for offline viewing
- Preference to open links either in ReadKit or in your default browser
- Add, remove, move, archive and mark bookmarks as favorites
- Full support for Pocket and Pinboard tags
- Focus mode: reading without interface elements
- OS X Notification Center support
- Share bookmarks via Twitter, Facebook, Buffer, Email, iMessage or Evernote
- Full support for high resolution Retina displays
- Preference to display unread items in the dock
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts
- Syntax highlighting of code snippets
- OPML import
- Support for the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro
1 – News Explorer: This is my favorite, partly because it is feature rich (JSON feeds, anyone), partly because it has iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Apple TV options, and partly because News Explorer is updated frequently and that tells me the developer cares.
What most of these RSS readers have in common are the basics. Good reviews. Standalone RSS management. Easy navigation and integration with other applications like Pocket and Instapaper. There is no better way to scan through dozens to hundreds of websites than an RSS reader despite the technology going back 20 years. JSON feeds have become popular (Mac360 has one), too, and the best RSS reader apps have made the adaption.