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About Miniflux, a superb feed reader.

hirusi profile image Ru Singh Originally published at rusingh.com on ・3 min read

Recently, Kev DMed to ask where my article full of praise for Miniflux was. While I have spoken highly of it on Fosstodon itself, I realized I haven't done so here.

Well... here goes.

How I got around to using Miniflux

80% of the content I consume is through Miniflux -- I have 194 feeds on it as of this point in time! The other 20% is occassional visits to Twitter and various Mastodon communities, among other sources.

I follow my GitHub feed, YouTube channels, personal blogs, technical blogs, bloggers who exclusively publish on DEV.to, news outlets (global and domestic), comics (sadly not many keep an RSS feed), and even a couple of job/gig portals. In the future, I might have Instagram accounts on there as well which might require a bit more work but looks to be possible -- yay Facebook.

Anyway, Feedly's pro plan was too costly, so I moved away. Enter Miniflux; perhaps not too long ago. I had purchased a one year subscription in August 2019. As I write this, maybe it's not that long ago either, but I guess my sense of time is a bit off thanks to the on-going pandemic.

When I first read its official one-line description -- "Miniflux is a minimalist and opinionated feed reader" -- I was quick to make a judgement: oh, here we go... yet another opinionated software that's probably built for people who love the terminal and keyboard-driven apps and interfaces. Little did I know I would go around promoting it, and even self-hosting it as I do now.

As I went ahead and read the home page, the FAQ, and all the other ones listed on the home page, everything about it resonated with my own idealistic principles. The creator even opted out of the JavaScript framework rat race. Cool. Sol(i)d!

Why I love using it

  • The keyboard shortcuts make sense; you can toggle the help overlay by pressing the ? key.
  • Self-hosting is easy. Upgrades can be a bit tricky if you're using a Docker-based setup, but I suppose all you need is a little bit of patience and a will to learn. Paying for the cloud hosting is probably easier and helpful for the author, if you can afford that instead.
    • The price is a strong positive in an economy of just-five-dollars-a-month. While I could afford paying for it, it still made more financial sense to self-host.
  • Actively developed with meaningful additions and fixes.
  • You can fetch original content for sites that don't syndicate their entire content. Usually works well enough. Since it's a fallback, no complaints.
  • It works with the prefers-color-scheme CSS media query. Dark theme during the night, light theme during the day.
  • It's well-written and well-documented API also lets me have an automated blogroll without worrying about constant breaking changes -- which a properitory product might do frequently.

Dislikes...?

My only complaint with Miniflux has been the fact that it doesn't offer a post content preview on the index/navigation pages. However, you can absolutely live with it -- it's a pretty fast piece of software for that to not matter as much.

Community around Miniflux

My other "complaint," which has nothing to do with Miniflux, was around how posts keep accumulating as you only read the ones that pick your attention. This, especially in bulk, whenever I add new feeds. So I wrote a small utility in Ruby to fix that: miniflux-sanity.

There's also a bunch of front-ends and mobile apps for Miniflux, if you're not happy with its PWA. Take a quick look at the #miniflux tag on GitHub.

I also created an awesome repository: awesome-miniflux. Since an awesome collection should be tools you personally use/have used and enjoy, there's only one entry in there so far. Should you want to recommend something, please open a pull request and we'll get that sorted. 🙂

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