How many of you are pissed off by a partial RSS feed? I am not sure about you, but i sure do.
In case you are still not aware, most, if not all, the blogs in the whole Internet provide a RSS feed that you can subscribe in a feed reader. Some of these blogs provide a partial feed that shows only the headline and a small excerpt. To read the full content, you will have to visit the actual site. From the reader’s point of view, this is a bad user experience and does not aid in productivity.
So, what solutions do we have?
1. Super Google Reader
If you are using Google Reader as your primary feed reader, then Super Google Reader is one extension that you need to install. Super Google Reader is a Google Chrome extension that enables full content feeds for Google Reader. It integrates directly into Google Reader and allows the reader to read full content from a partial feed.
After the installation, you will find 3 new buttons (Readable, Link, Feed) on top of each feed. Clicking the “Readable” button will fetch the full content from the source, strip it to the bare minimum and display it in your feed reader. The “Link” button will load the actual site with an iframe.
Super Google Reader can be set on a per-feed or per-folder basis. To configure Super Google Reader for feed folder, simply select the option from the Super Setting dropdown. I find the “pre-fetch all readable content” particularly useful.
2. Full Text Rss Feed
Unlike Super Google Reader, you don’t have to install any extension to use Full Text Rss Feed and it works in every browser. What Full Text Rss Feed does is take a partial feed that you provided and churn out another RSS feed with the full content. You can then subscribe to this churned feed in any feed reader and enjoy the full content.
The advantage of Full Text Rss Feed is that it works across browser and various feed readers. On the other hand, its disadvantage is that the update interval might not be as frequent as you wish and you could be missing out the latest news from your favorite site.
As the same as Full Text Rss Feed, Five Filters allows you to input a partial RSS feed and churn out another feed with the full content for you to subscribe. What makes it different is that it comes with two favours for you to choose: hosted or self-hosted.
“Hosted” means you are using the service hosted on FiveFilters server. The basic feature is free, but is only able to display three items per feed at a time. The premium option (costs 8 €/month) removes the limitation and allows you to grab up to 10 items per feed.
One thing that I like about FiveFilters is that it comes with a bookmarklet (drag the link to your browser’s toolbar to use it) where you can easily drag a partial feed to your browser toolbar and get it to churn out the full content feed.
For a one-time fee of 20 €, you can buy the source code of FiveFilters and host it on your own server. In this case, you can provide your own partial-to-full-rss service without having to depend on others. You can configure options such as the number of items to fetch per feed, update interval and the content extraction method.
For casual users, it can be difficult to justify the cost, not to mention that you have to maintain a server as well. However, for busy professionals or journalists, this can be a great solution to the partial feed headache and also a potential time saver.
The beauty of Unsum lies in the flexibility of its services. By default, Unsum will grab the HTML code of the partial feed link, strip out the tags and miscellaneous content and show only the actual page content that we are interested in. Unfortunately, this will not work for some sites due to their complex HTML structure. For such cases, Unsum gives you the flexibility to specify the start and end of the HTML code where it should look for the content. You can even use regular expression.
Other options that you can configure include the caching time (the update interval) and the feed name.
The services mentioned above have their own pros and cons. You will have to try them all to find the one most suitable for you. Personally, I love the Super Google Reader extension because I am both a Chrome and Google Reader user and It makes things dead simple for me. Let us know which one is your favorite. One more thing, we provide full Rss feed, so don’t forget to subscribe to MTE feed if you have not done so.