Dave Winer’s take on feed reading in Firefox

Dave Winer came to MoCo yesterday for a chat about feed reading.

He gave us some food for thought, in particular the idea that limiting Firefox’s feed reading functionality to a mere conduit for transferring feeds to the user’s third-party reader of choice doesn’t meet the needs of users who don’t already understand the benefits of aggregated feed reading (which may well be a large majority of users).

Dave suggested we instead integrate feed reading directly into Firefox (while preserving choice for users who want to use another app).  I’m inclined to agree, but I’ll note that there’s a third option: we could simply choose a default third-party feed reader, just as we’ve chosen a default search engine, and direct users there when they click on a feed.


Myk Melez

Myk is a Principal Software Architect and in-house entrepreneur at Mozilla. A Mozillian since 1999, he's contributed to the Web App Developer Initiative, PluotSorbet, Open Web Apps, Firefox OS Simulator, Jetpack, Raindrop, Snowl, Personas, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Bugzilla. He's just a cook. He's all out of bubblegum.


6 thoughts on “Dave Winer’s take on feed reading in Firefox

  1. I wouldn’t want to be redirected to a 3rd party feed reader if I decided not to. I briefly look at news using the builtin feed reader of Firefox, and if I want some more information, I read them from within the Sage extention for Firefox, https://addons.mozilla.org/fr/firefox/addon/77

    So I like the idea of a better built in feed reader.

  2. If by third party feed reader you mean “Sage“, then I fully agree.

    Firefox is in desperate need of a useful built-in feed reader.

    BTW: Please someone update “Sage” to work with the trunk nightlies (which use “Places”).

    PS: I can’t stand feed readers that display feeds in a 3-pane UI like some e-mail application. Feeds’ sources are web pages, which tend to be long, and 3-panes waste vertical space for this purpose (clarification: I love Thunderbird’s 3-pane for *e-mail*)

  3. I don’t think a feedreader belongs into Firefox. I think it’s pure bloat.
    Most people don’t know and don’t care what feeds or rss is. They are just reading websites and nothing else.

    I only use feeds sometimes inside the mail client. I think it sort of makes sense there, but not inside Firefox.

    What I would like to have is a way of having weblog posts I follow having posted to my mail address (gmail). I think that would be convenient for me.

  4. Um, how can you choose a 3rd party unless you know which one(s) a user is likely to have installed on their machine?

    “Ah, yes, we’ll redirect “mailto:” links by default to, um, Pegasus Mail. Perfect!”

    Uh – no.

  5. I think Firefox 2.0 handles feeds just fine. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. Absolutely do not try to force me to use a specific feed aggregator, I prefer the built in preview with a link to subscribe via my chosen feed reader.

  6. Anonymous: He pretty obviously means a webapp such as Google Reader. Based on Myk’s contributions to Firefox, I’m pretty sure he is able to grasp the concept that you can’t run code that doesn’t exist…

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