RSS-Bridge and Nitter

For the last couple of months my interface with Twitter has been through an instance of running in a Docker container on my laptop. It has been working remarkably well… given that it hasn’t updated for months. Also it hadn’t kept up with the way that Twitter embedded image data in tweets, this in turn meant clicking on a lot of entries, and opening them in Twitter – which was what i was trying to avoid.

There are a couple of new / actively maintained projects that provide alternative methods of interacting with Twitter. Two of them, RSS-Bridge and Nitter, also provide RSS feeds of accounts / searches / hashtags.

Nitter is very cool. It uses the twitter api to return tweets, returning them in chronological order, in the form of website. For example, here is a random BBC stream, from which it’s possible to get an RSS feed. This is cool as it also converts all links in twitter into links into the instance of Nitter. There are people hosting Nitter instances, and it should be possible to host your own in Docker locally.

RSS-Bridge is more of the same, but instead of providing an alternative front-ends it provides plugable modules to scrape or generate RSS feeds directly. It has plugins for a bunch of sites that don’t provide RSS feeds, and while i’m not currently using any of them it’s cool that they are there.

Both Nitter and RSS-Bridge produce nice RSS feeds with options to include images, replies, user avatars, etc.

Currently i’m trying out RSS-Bridge and it seems to be working well. If Nitter continues to be worked on, and there are no issues (thinking TLS / certificate hassles) then perhaps that is the future answer. The downside of RSS-Bridge is that it’s written in PHP which always gives me the heebie-jeebies. Nitter, on the other hand, is written in something that feels entirely new called Nim… which looks cool, but it likely niche.

Oh, and the Nitter project has spawned browser plugins that redirect Twitter into Nitter. I’m using ‘twitter-to-nitter-redirect‘. Nice!

Back to NetNewsWire?

I’ve been trying various RSS readers over the last couple of months. Initial Vienna (which felt dated), then Cappuccino (buggy), and now Evergreen… thus far has been lovely.

As noted here, Evergreen is going to be the new NetNewsWire 5.0:

You probably know that I’ve been working on a free and open source reader named Evergreen. Evergreen 1.0 will be renamed NetNewsWire 5.0 — in other words, I’ve been working on NetNewsWire 5.0 all this time without knowing it!

This move back to RSS or feeds in general was a side-effect of getting away from Twitter. Wanting to get away from Twitter was… it’s not important. The end result is that i send less time being interrupted driven, but also miss more things that might be interesting.

My move to Mastodon is a rather lonely affair – without millions of users it lacks the essential “reach” that motivates people’s engagement with Twitter. In order to keep up with friends on Twitter, but without the Twitter “drama”, i’m using to scrape RSS feeds.

The RSS returned is a little funky, but Evergreen is doing a reasonable job of rendering. There seem to be alternatives (RSSHub, FetchRSS, etc), although none of them seems to be focused on keeping Twitter at arms length.

Anyway, it’s nice the NetNewsWire is coming back, and if we’re lucky some renewed interest in RSS in general.