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

Mobile - TTRSS themeAfter 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.

 Course Reader - Social Share

from Course Reader to G2TT theme

G2TT w/h Social Share

[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 …


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  • Karmi Phuc

    Awesome! This’s really awesome to me! I’m desperately looking for a do-it-yourself RSS Reader solution, and now I find a clever one. I will definitely use this as an example for my problem.
    Thank you, Martin. Thank you very much! Your blog posts always have a great inspiration on me.

  • g2-a3ce4e45c979a8523a2098808847fcc5

    This is awesome, and the idea of TT-RSS feeding into FeedWordPress and vice versa is relaly exciting. iw as talking to Brad Kozlek at PSu and he’s really interested in the work you are doing with integrating feed reading into course sites. I am trying to get a group of folks together form UBC, PSU, CUNY, UMW, etc. —would you be interested in being on such a call?
    Big fan!

    • Martin Hawksey

      I’ve got a couple of mini-project coming up which could be good testing grounds. As always useful to share so count me in.
      Bigger fan!

  • Sharing My Favorite RSS Feeds | bavatuesdays

    […] Tiny Tiny RSS earlier this month, and I have to say it gave me some satisfaction to read that Martin Hawksey is giving this oepn source feedreader another spin. If it’s good enough for Martin, then who is the Bava to complain? Plus, it seems he’s […]

  • Jeremy Adams

    This is great addition. I’ll have to add to my version 🙂
    I also found about font-awesome lately and decided to swap the sprite.png icons to this instead b/c they look a tiny bit better.
    I also added a + button in order to add feeds.
    It’s my first fork, so i may have made too many changes at once for it to be easily read. My apologies:…master

    • Martin Hawksey

      Cool! I think I screwed up the pull request and/or fork but used your additions and added social share. I also modified the ‘mark all as read’ dropdown menu to work better. My latest commit is here

  • John Johnston

    Really interesting & exciting. tried and failed with TT-RSS before, going t otry again. Might be a better fit for for example than feedwordpress, especially as it is now hosted on Hippy. Many thanks.

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