I’ve loved RSS since I started blogging. I’ve been using Feedland as an RSS reader since it started.

Feedland is an interesting and opinionated take on an RSS reader. I particularly like the way it makes me think about the interface & purpose of readers.

Dave Winer has been writing a lot about blogrolls recently. He developing a way for you to display a list of Feedland feeds on a drummer blog and now in WordPress. I tried both and they work.

I had been displaying my Feedland feeds on my blogroll page. I am using some Javascript of my own. Inn my sidebar using the links widget and Jan Boddez‘s plugin to sync my links with Feedland. My new Feedland Blogroll uses Dave’s technology.

A Feedland blogroll is a bit different than a straightforward list of links. It is more like a mini feedreader. Each link can be expanded to show the recent posts from a site. The list is constantly reordered to show the most updated site at the top. This reordering points to the river of news idea, I think, as opposed to the completionist way of doing things. There is no marking things as read. It is a handy way to read and a great alternative to other feed readers.

I just added my whole list of Feedland feeds. This is a subset of RSS feeds I’ve followed, some from years ago, it is not yet thoughtful list. All of the recent blogroll discussion has had me thinking a bit about this.

When I started blogging, pre twitter, a lot of my posts were in response to other ‘ScotEduBloggers’. For a while we had a lively community going. Back then I could have really used this Feedland style blog roll in my sidebar. The blogroll then would have reflected this community. The conversation then moved on to twitter and other places, even LinkedIn!

Now I am thinking that my blogroll should go on its own page. To use as a casual feedreader by myself and a source of interesting sources for others.

The perceived audience might affect the feeds I include. If I was creating a blogroll to share links I might skip many of the more popular and well shared feeds and concentrate on ones that might not be so obvious. For example I don’t support many mac inclined people would need a link to Daring Fireball. If the audience is me, I might want a different set of feeds.

At the moment the plugin gets the users whose feeds and categories you display from the settings. I wonder could these be replace/augmented by parameters in the shortcode, for example instead of [feedland-blogroll] you could have [feedland-blogroll user="johnjohnston" category="nature" ] that would mean you could have different blogrolls on different pages.

The Feedland Blogroll interface is rather nice, reminiscent of Mac system 7 in some ways (my first ui and I loved it). It is a perfect fit for a blog sidebar on a desktop/laptop screen. I am wondering about a couple of things:

  1. Since I want it on a page on its own, would it be sensible to add a bit of css to fill more of my page.
  2. Could it be adapted for mobile. That is where I often read feeds. I’d like it to have a slightly bigger font so that the links and disclosure arrows are easier to hit. The interface has a nice tooltips on hover. I wonder could that be adapted for a phone.

I am not sure if these ideas are either practical or possible. I am sure The FeedLand Blogroll is an idea to follow.

Here is the  WordPress plugin and instructions for Drummer.

4 thoughts on “Feedland Blogroll thoughts

  1. That’s rather nifty, a bit like the old grazr widget (which links now to some crypto site, yecccch). I’ve got a lot of catchup to do with all these things you have knitted together.

    Guess I did not make the cut ;-(

  2. @johnjohnston — this is great. i was just thinking about the same thing a few minutes ago. the feedland blogroll is basically a subset of the functionality of the Feed List page in FeedLand. Same approach. All the info displayed on the bigger page is available to the blogroll, so it should be pretty simple to expand it to a whole page.

  3. Appreciate your comments. I enjoy various incredibly cool apps that Dave Winer creates, but my observation is he likely uses them on a Mac because the UX is clearly not tuned for use on a phone, where I do a lot of my use.

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