When Google killed Reader back in 2013, many people worried that it was the end of RSS feeds—an open source format that websites used to syndicate their posts automatically. Instead, it actually led to a huge degree of innovation. Now, three years later, things have never been better.
RSS feeds are great because you can use them to follow loads of different sites without relying on social media algorithms or actually visiting the homepage to keep on top of things. If you want to keep track of every article we publish here at Envato Tuts+, it’s one of the easiest ways to do it.
The problem with RSS feeds is that you get all the data. Let’s use a popular site like Gizmodo as an example. They publish upwards of 40 articles a day. That’s a huge amount of content to scroll through just to read the few articles that interest you. It’d be great if there was a way to cut it down to just the content you wanted to read. In this tutorial I’ll explain how to do just that with Inoreader.
Inoreader is one of the RSS readers that popped up after Google Reader closed down.
What sets it apart is its power user features. Most other feed readers just let you subscribe and read feeds; with Inoreader you can also filter them and do a whole lot more.
Inoreader is a premium service for people who read a lot of RSS feeds. There’s a free tier but it only lets you filter a single feed. If you want to filter more feeds, you’ll need to subscribe to one of the paid packages. They range from $14.99 to $49.99 a year, depending on what features you need access to. There’s a 30-day free trial so you can get a feel for Inoreader before paying any money.
Export and Import
If you already use a RSS reader, you need to start by importing your feeds to Inoreader. The standard format for a list of feeds is OPML. Navigate to your reader’s preferences and find the option that lets you Export as OPML; all the major services have it.
Head to the Inoreader website and sign up for an account. Click Import Feeds and select the OPML file from the previous service. This will add all the same feeds.
Clean Up the Feeds
Although this step is optional, now is a good time to review all the sites you are subscribed to. If one of the feeds no longer interests you or has stopped publishing, unsubscribe from it.
Right-Click on the feed in the sidebar. Select Unsubscribe and it’ll be removed from the feed list.
Filtering Feeds in Inoreader
With Inoreader, you can apply a filter to a feed’s title, content, author, URL or attachments.
For the title, content, author and URL you can filter by whether it contains a certain string, doesn’t contain a certain string, exactly matches a string, doesn’t match a string, starts or ends with a string, matches a regular expression, or doesn’t match a regular expression. By stringing multiple filters together, you can control exactly what content gets through.
When you’re filtering a feed, the first thing to do is decide which articles you’re looking to hide. Go through the old posts in the feed you want to filter and look at what the ones you read have in common.
For example, I’m a big fan of Dan Savage but I’m not as interested in the rest of the content on his site, The Stranger. I just want to read the posts he writes. To do that, I’ll use a filter that removes any posts that aren’t written by him. You could filter the Tuts+ feed so only tutorials written by me make it through, for instance.
To create a new filter, Right-Click on the feed in the sidebar and select Filter Feed. You can make your filters as simple or as complex as you want. For my example, I’ll filter any article where the Author isn’t Dan Savage. If I only wanted his Savage Love column, I would have filtered by Savage Love isn’t in the Title.
Once you have the filter set up, click Save filter and it’ll be applied to the feed.
Inoreader’s Rules are like a supercharged version of filters. Instead of just removing an article from a feed, they can also do something with it. For example, I’ve a rule set up that emails me whenever a new article I’ve written is published on Computers Tuts+.
To set up a rule, Right-Click on the feed in the sidebar and select Create Rule. You have the same filter options but you can also set a Trigger and an Action to perform.
A rule can be triggered by new articles, tags, whenever you like a post, and more. You can have any article that triggers the rule marked as read, starred, emailed to you or shared to a read it later app. With rules you can manipulate feeds how you’d like.
Add Inoreader to an RSS Reader
Inoreader has web, iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps. Even better though, it integrates with any other RSS reader you want to use; I’m a big fan of Reeder for Mac and iOS.
Once you’ve set up the filtered feeds, add your Inoreader account to whatever RSS reader app you use. All the filtering is done before the articles reach your Mac or iOS device. You’ll be able to use it just like any other RSS subscription service.
Inoreader is a great tool for power users who want to keep on top of a lot of feeds. Filters are a great way to make it so that you only receive the articles you want to read. Most of the best news sites publish dozens of articles a day. If only a handful of them interest you, add a filter in Inoreader so only the stories you like make it through.
Similarly, there’s a lot of sites where I love one writer or columnist. I want to read anything they wright but I don’t want to have to wade through a hundred irrelevant posts. With a filter, I can have Inoreader do all the wading for me.
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