Creating a simple RSS reader with Python

I’ve tried to find a simple web based RSS reader but don’t really like any of the most popular ones. Too many ads, too much flashy graphics, and limits on number of feeds without paying.

Keeping track of many sources without a feed reader is cumbersome. This is why RSS is still relevant.

So, I started uilding one. This is work in progress, and is currently almost featureless. You can add private and public feeds. Tagging, search, etc is coming in the near future.

RSS feeds
RSS feeds

You can try it out by going to woodscreaming.com/rss.

Parsing RSS feeds with feedparser

RSS and atom feeds are XML files. It would be possible to parse these files and structure the contents from scratch – but fortunately we don’t need to do that. The excellent module feedparser can do it for us. Here’s what’s done in our little reader :

  • Parse it: fp = feedparser.parse(feed.url)
  • fp is now a dict containing the feed data. The most important fields are fp.title and fp.entries

Woodscreaming.com is a traditional Django app with minimal frontend processing. Creating the list of feeds is simply done by passing parsed feeds to a Django template.

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