By @mhawksey

Hosting your own Google Reader themed RSS aggregator with TT-RSS and G2TT

After my last post on ‘Thieving Feedly’, which got a lovely follow up on The Digital River, I mentioned that I’d uninstalled the Feedly Android app. That left a hole in my feed consumption ways which I think I’ve now filled. Below is a screenshot of how I’m now consuming my feeds. Those from the Google Reader good old days might recognise it. Yep if you can’t replace Google Reader then the best solution for me is to recreate it and this post outlines how I did it.

I’ve had a bumpy relationship with Google Reader, but before its closure despite various flings I always ended back there. One of the reasons was their mobile friendly web interface usually saved me the despair of the Android app share interface. This is largely okay for applications that fetch the page title from the url, but for Twitter, my main output channel, getting the title required a copy and paste juggling act that wasn’t always possible in the app didn’t support it (even going to the trouble of creating an app for a custom flow).

In one of my flings I tried the open source Tiny Tiny RSS (TT-RSS) aggregator. With this you have the hassle of having to run it on your own webserver somewhere but on the flipside you have full control. My foray with TT-RSS didn’t last because at the time couldn’t get a decent mobile version or data out. Having seen Jim Groom recently highlight TT-RSS I thought I’d give it another go. Like Jim for me the installation was super easy as my excellent webhost, Hippie Hosting, provides a one click installation from my server control panel. So within seconds I was up and running with TT-RSS. One trick I initially missed was the need to add a line of server config to update feeds.

Having exported/imported my feeds from Feedly I turned my attentions to getting a mobile view configured. Initially I tried some native TT-RSS Android Apps but wasn’t happy with the in app browser experience. I then stumbled on the ‘Support for mobile devices’ page on TT-RSS and in particular the ‘G2TT: google reader-like mobile UI’. This is an impressive replica of the Google Reader mobile web view and even more impressive runs off a couple of HTML/JavaScript files!!! This is possible thanks to TT-RSS’s Json API.

The faithful G2TT UI was great but lacked a feature that disappeared in the original Google Reader interface, social share integration. This wasn’t a problem though as a quick fork on the github source and I was able to drop in some of the social share bar from my course reader project.


from Course Reader to G2TT theme

[You can compare my additions and download my fork here]

So there you go. With a bit of personal cyber infrastructure I’m now rocking out the good old Google Reader days. As a bonus I’ve got to mull over source code for customising a TT-RSS installation which has presented some interesting questions for interfacing FeedWordPress or even deploying a different type of course aggregation hub …

Exit mobile version