The New Leaf Annex

Handy Reading from F-Droid: Early Impressions

I had been using DecSync, a decentralized cross-device synchronization solution designed to work with Syncthing, with RSS readers on my LineageOS and Linux devices for about one year. I planned to write a full review of DecSync for RSS. However, by the time I finally sat down to write my DecSync review, I had already moved from using DecSync for feeds to Handy Reading, a free and open source feed reader and read-it-later app for Android. Handy Reading, a fork of the no-longer-maintained Flym feed reader, is available on F-Droid. The Flym link is notable for me since I had been using a different Flym fork, Flym DecSync, prior to switching.

I am very impressed with Handy Reading two weeks in. It does not have the prettiest UI (compares unfavorably to Feeder in this respect), but it is good enough. Handy Reading is very customizable, allowing to set granular settings for individual feeds and domains to ensure that they display correctly. However, I would have chose Feeder over Handy Reading but for one feature -- Handy Reading allows you to save individual links for in-app reading. I explained in an essay about combining a feed reader with a read-it-later solution why this important. A good feed collection will have articles which link to good articles outside one's feed. Sometimes, these out-of-feed articles will, in turn, link to other interesting articles. A good read-it-later tool thus enhances a feed collection by making reading out-of-feed content convenient. My previous DecSync set-up involved combining my DecSync-readers with Wallabag. But having a local, libre, and privacy-friendly reader handle both is much more pleasant. Moreover, I use Markor to keep a markdown file of links I also want to save outside my app on other devices (I sync the file using Syncthing).

I have encountered a few minor issues with Handy Reading. Firstly, I needed to designate the full text root (first HTML element) for three feeds in order to ensure that their articles displayed properly. While I know how to do this now, there was a time not too long ago when that would have been beyond me. Secondly, Handy Reading re-fetches old, previously seen articles from a small number of feeds, which is a bit annoying. I am playing with the settings to see if I can solve that issue. I plan to write a full review of Handy Reading sometime in the near future once I see if I can configure it to mitigate the few problems that I have run into.

#android #rss #fdroid #feeds #rss and atom #read it later