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.

a blog post of meandering paths and uncertain destinations

Hi Alan, What better type of post could there be. Surprisingly, being a Scot, I prefer RSS porridge to the real thing. Your post is full of tasty discursions (I grabbed the NYT bookmarklet worked a treat to follow the reading).

Seeing the link to River of News, you might be interested in Dave Winer’s feedland.com. I’ve been playing with it and there is a lot to like about this RSS reader. (I also use inoreader and NetNewsWire). I use nitter to pass a few twitter feeds into Feedland as it supports RSS.

Thinking about online community, commercialization & size I keep coming back to theDS106 model & micro.blog. Both in essence or part are RSS readers. I think, without knowing the details, I prefer the simplicity of RSS over ActivityPub. For example a smaller Goodreads could just aggregate a tag/category of a set of blogs using some agreed taxonomies.

Liked Scripting News: Sunday, November 12, 2023 (Scripting News)
Some news. I've been working with Automattic for most of this year on a new version of FeedLand that runs in their cloud. The advantage is it will scale like the most popular websites in the world do, as WordPress does. It's meant a lot of internal changes in the software, but at the same time, it still runs on a Digital Ocean server, and on desktops as well. The next FeedLand works at all these levels, for a person, a workgroup and the world. Obviously, lots more to say about all this.

This looks like really interesting news. I’ve been using FeedLand , for a while, even had it running on a Raspberry Pi until I got into a snarl with domains.

Looking forward to the lots more Dave has to say.

At work I get emails about scratch. I often miss these or don’t pay enough attention. There is also a scratch blog on medium. I thought I could subscribe to that in an RSS reader. Couldn’t see a rss link so I searched for more information. Ironically the first two medium articles I found needed a paid account to read. Eventually I just pasted the link into Inoreader which did auto discovery. I also found the email archive on mailchimp and subscribed to that too.

It seems to me that it is getting harder to be a wee bit technical. Like hiding full URLs in the address bar, or making it difficult to find an episode page for a podcast to link to. No RSS link buttons or links to audio files. These changes may have been made in the name of simplification or to make pages a bit stickier but cause frustration here.

I’ve been testing and using FeedLand for a while now. Today Dave posted the roadmap

1. FeedLand is a feed management system for individuals and groups. So far it’s only been offered as a free service on the web.


4. Here’s the big news: The new FeedLand server software will be available as open source, so anyone will be able to run a FeedLand instance. It’s a Node.js application. Uses MySQL. You may want to hook up an S3 bucket for special features like RSS feeds for Likes. At first email sending will be via Amazon SES, the method I currently use. It will be possible to plug in new drivers to use other email services.

As someone who has been pretty excited about RSS for years this sounds great.

Wayback when ScotEduBlogs was a ruby app1, I had this wild idea that a visitor could create a subset of the feeds on the site, save that and view the subset in some way. I think an instance of FeedLand could do just that.

Apart from the unknown of how running FeedLand would work2 I think there are a couple of barriers:

  1. The lack of blogs about Scottish education, maybe twitter problems will help that).
  2. The lack of knowledge about RSS. Andrew McLaughlin’s post Education needs free, safe spaces for creation, collaboration and discussion. and TES Article How a return to blogs and wikis could benefit teachers | Tes gives hope there.

Most online discussion of education and even news from schools has been on twitter. I’ve always felt uneasy about that. More than ever now 3. Maybe 2023 will see a RSSurgance;-)

  1. Created by Robert Jones with the help of Pete Liddle and cheered on by myself.
  2. I am hoping to be able to test than soon.
  3. For example: Twitter team responsible for removing child exploitation on site cut in half since Musk takeover, report claims and No more Tweetbot or Twitterrific on Twitter | Mashable

A very interesting read: How a return to blogs and wikis could benefit teachers | Tes

Unlike social media, these older content-creation tools did not restrict the length of contributions or steal your attention every waking moment with incessant dopamine-releasing notifications. Instead, they allowed developing thoughts to be published, ideas shared and shaped, links made to like-minded thinkers, and documents to be written collaboratively – the very values cherished by both luminaries of the Scottish Enlightenment and the creator of the web.


What was missing in 2010 was any sort of directory: a working record 1 of the many flowering blogs, themes and ideas. A “ScotsEdu” wiki would quickly establish this, editable by all, allowing for information to be updated quickly and providing a map for educators, linking ideas, papers and research.

In short, it would provide a one-stop shop to support an ongoing national discussion about Scottish education.

I saw this article via twitter after a link was tweeted by Ollie Bray. Ironically Ollie was once a very prolific Scottish educational blogger.

A working record

A working record is not missing, but perhaps un-noticed. ScotEduBlogs has a record of posts going back to 2006!

ScotEduBlogs goes back to a Wiki started by Ewan McIntosh on Wikispaces. When the list of blogs became a bit to long to follow by clicking links, we 2 created ScotEduBlogs . At first it consisted of a aggregation of posts from across Scotland and a supporting Wiki. Over the years it has shrunk to an aggregation site now maintained, in a fairly lax fashion, by myself.

The site started aggregating class & teacher blogs. After the move to WordPress I reduced it to ‘professional’ blogs. It had gained some higher education blogs, but the frequency of posts has dropped.

The article made me visit the backend of SEB for the first time in a while. Much to my embarrassment I found a request to join by the TES article’s author Andrew McLaughlin. I’ve now added his blog. The form on the site has failed to send me an email. I added a link to email me requests, which should do as a stopgap.

I took a moment to improve the menus on mobile.  I also set up a mastodon account for SEB so that people can get the link to new activity in their mastodon account in the same way as they could follow the twitter account. Given the current twitter woes, I hope the mastodon account will be useful.

It might be time for a revival of ScotEduBlogs. I would be delighted to add more sites. I’d also be interested in any ideas for improving the site

Personally I rarely visit the SEB site, I subscribe to its RSS Feed in my feed reader. This gives me all the news from all the blogs in SEB without having to subscribe to them all individually.

  1. My emphasis
  2. The original site was created by Robert Jones along with Pete Liddle, I just made suggestions.

I’ve just set up a mastodon account for ScotEduBlogs at  @scotedublogs@mastodon.scot.

I’ve used IFTT following this post: How to Post to Mastodon From Anything Using IFTTT – K²R

If it has worked this post should flow through to mastodon after it appears on SEB.

My mind is on ScotEdublogs after reading:How a return to blogs and wikis could benefit teachers | Tes. A great post I hope to return to presently.

The idea

#FeedReaderFriday: A Suggestion for Changing our Social Media Patterns | Chris Aldrich

Feed Readers

Just after I discover RSS in the “flowering” of theScotEduBlogs community I got interested in aggregating RSS and creating specialised readers. Back in around 2006 I was blogging some ideas which lead to Robert Jones & Pete Liddle creating the first iteration of the ScotEduBlogs aggregation. Later I moved the site to WordPress using the FeedWordPress plug-in. I’d seen this in use on the marvellous DS106 site which aggregates blogs of students and open participants of the many iterations of the notorious Digital Storytelling course. The flow on DS106 has pulled in 91749 (at time of writing) posts since 2010.

ScotEduBlogs is at a bit of a low at the moment, there are not so many folk blogging about education in Scotland. I still love the idea of ‘specialist’ or community aggregations or feed readers. Of course the site has an RSS feed that can be subscribed to. Dave Winer’s FeedLand, which I noted in a previous #FeedReaderFriday, can also create ‘News Products’ with similar results.

Folk to Follow

I like to follow some human aggregators, even better if they add their own opinions. One of my favourites in Arron Davis his Read Write Collect blog is an IndieWeb style collector of replies, bookmarks and other responses. RSS.

Some of Tom Woodward’s Bionic Teaching – utan blixt consists of his harvest of links with brief comment. This might be auto posted, perhaps from pinboard? He also posts about higher ed use of technology and, of particular interest to me, his work with WordPress. RSS

This post is part of a series with a wee bit about readers and a couple of suggestions of feeds to follow.