Readable Feeds

(Update – Readable Feeds has become a victim of it’s success and the new App Engine quota limitations and is no longer running – but there are many alternatives)

Another weekend, another Google App Engine project.  This time it’s called Readable Feeds and thankfully, I actually finished it in a weekend unlike Cloudsafe.  Readable Feeds is an extension of the Arc 90 Readability Experiment and Nirmal Patel’s Hacker News Readability script.  It is actually a very simple application, you give it a feed and it generates a new feed that hopefully has more content and less clutter than the original feed.

For example, with the Hacker News feed which consists primarily of just links to interesting web pages, the feed is transformed to contain the content of the pages linked to so that you don’t have to leave your feed reader to access the full content (Nirmal’s page has some good screenshots showing this).  It can also repair those crippled feeds that only show excerpts and replace the excerpts with the full content.  I said hopefully before because this process doesn’t always work and in fact fails spectacularly on some feeds like those from the New York Times which link to registration protected pages which Readable Feeds can’t bypass.

I’m also happy to report this is my first project (but hopefully not last) to be featured on Hacker News.  Some of you might also notice a striking visual similarity to Pubfeed which is of course purely coincidence.