On Feedly

28 Jun, 2013

Rather than burning a significant amount of time rolling my own alternative to the soon-to-be-lamented Google Reader, I've been evaluating the various closed and open source options, finally settling on Feedly.

feedly error screen It's... okay... but the mobile app (at least the iPhone version) isn't... well... particularly mobile. Sure, it looks pretty, and for the always-connected user (those irradiated with 100% 3G coverage), perhaps its shortcomings are a little easier to bear. But I spend a significant chunk of commute-time, sitting on a train, with an internet connection that bounces like the proverbial yoyo. Instead of downloading all articles when there's a good internet connection, Feedly just downloads the current feed (possibly a side effect of the way I use it - I like to go to the individual feeds and read all articles in a section, rather than the mixed articles it presents in the ALL tab). So on a typical commute home, I'm either presented with numerous error screens, or an interminable (so it feels) loading screen.

feedly loading screen To make things worse, the iPhone app seems to forget that it just loaded something (not always, but enough to be annoying). So if I flip from Feedly, to iMessage, and then back again... once again I'm presented with the loading screen. The forgetfulness isn't limited to loading - it also affects articles I've already read (or already marked as read), which Feedly inconveniently forgets and I get the same set of articles again.

feedly flick The interface seems a little inconsistent, as well. As I go through the articles in each feed, when I reach the end of the list, I'm presented with a large, friendly tick and a message telling me to "Tap to mark all articles as read". Which I do. The next feed appears and (after the loading screen) I flick the page up for the next article... except sometimes not. Despite the fact that there are plenty of unread articles, I can't flick to get to the next - I have to use the menu and find the next unread feed myself. Which might make sense if it was the last feed in a list sorted in alphabetical order. But it's not. So it makes no sense to me at all.

So, nice interface, but could use some work. A menu option, to download all articles when I've got a good connection (at home before leaving for work, for example). Remembering which article I was on last time, and not immediately trying to re-download just because the connection bounced in the meantime.

Still... better than Reader nothing...

Update: turns out that Reeder coupled with Feedly in the backend (for the moment) is the ideal solution.