How to Fix Broken RSS Feeds

A couple of years ago I wrote about getting back into RSS. Two years later I still love RSS, and I continue to read my RSS feeds daily.

But RSS has its frustrations, in particular partial RSS feeds. If you use RSS you’ve probably encountered these. You get an introduction to the article, and a “click to see the full article!” link.

I understand why publishers like these—you don’t get views from an RSS feed.

But as a reader, it sucks. RSS is made for reading articles, not for browsing the web. Part of the appeal of RSS is the lack of distraction, it allows you to focus on your reading. Opening a web browser destroys that.

Feedbin (my favorite platform for syncing feeds between devices) has a content extractor that partially solves the problem, and works quite well. When you’re using the Feedbin wesite, you can extract the rest of the article by clicking this button in the upper right corner.

An example of the magnifier layout in awesomeWM.
Before content extraction in Feedbin.
An example of the magnifier layout in awesomeWM.
After content extraction in Feedbin.

Nice! It’s a handy tool. But it only works in a web browser, which doesn’t solve my problem. I use Feedbin in browser occasionally, but I prefer a distraction-free application.

Enter MoRSS #

MoRSS is a free[1] and open source tool that fixes this problem. It converts any partial RSS feed into a full RSS feed. Additionally, it can even attempt to create an RSS feed from sites that don’t have them. [2] It’s a very useful tool, and one I will use for many years to come.

If you’re an RSS fan, try it out! With some feeds I’ve had to mess with the settings a bit, but usually it works automatically.

I’m particularly impressed that it can create a proper RSS feed out of Hacker News and other news sites. I don’t follow news sites via RSS, [3] but if I did, this is how I would do it.

  1. Although donations are a good idea! ↩︎

  2. I haven’t tried this yet, but it seems promising. ↩︎

  3. In fact, I specifically filter much of it out. ↩︎

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