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Helvetireader 2

Helvetireader², the minimal & anti-social theme for Google Reader, is now out. Sort of. It’s an unfinished and ongoing project, but it’s in a ‘ready as it’ll ever be’ state.

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Helvetireader is simply a hosted user stylesheet for Google Reader served via a user script. It aims to make the interface a clean, minimal experience where you’re not assaulted by an array of colours, lines, social features and buttons. As it removes these bits, and is designed for the expanded view only, you may not like it.

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It’s a very selfish approach, but I don’t have the spare time to cater for everyone’s requirements. So, feel free to grab the CSS and alter it to your own needs. Everything that’s been removed (via display:none) can be found at the end of the stylesheet. All I ask is that you don’t redistribute it without a credit, as it’s been a lot of work to get to this stage.

Helvetireader 2 has been rewritten from scratch, resulting in smaller CSS file. The aim is to get the maximum effect from changing as little as possible. Hopefully it will break less in future Google Reader updates! You can follow progress on twitter to know when you need to refresh your browser to get the new version.

Here's Helvetireader

Back in June, I talked about Helvetireader, a new approach I was taking to skinning Google Reader. Instead of making it look like an OS X app, this time I was going for minimal, inspired partly by Times, a newspaper style RSS reader, and the postcards that came with the (Deluxe!) Helvetica Film DVD.

As there’s always so many other things to do, it’s only now that I’m announcing it going live. First, here’s a small screenie:

I’ve removed a lot of stuff from the interface that I never use, so it’s not going to suit everyone. If it does suit you – great, if it ‘doesn’t quite’, you can take the CSS and fiddle and personalise to your hearts content!

I’m trying a different delivery system this time around. One of the things that made the previous theme feel like a burden were the different versions that needed to be upkept. Then I would feel guilty about clogging up my blog with news about any updates. Not this time.

Helvetireader is a hosted theme. To use it, you need a browser with user script functionality, which means Opera or Firefox out of the box, or a WebKit browser with the GreaseKit haxie applied. Camino doesn’t yet support user scripts, but you can download the CSS file and apply that manually if you like (see instructions below). This means that when there is an update to the theme, all you need to do is refresh, rather than download anything. It also means all I have to is update a single CSS file.

Before you install, you might want to set up Google Reader to be on expanded view, and check your view settings. After you install, these options will be hidden!

I’m not sure how it’s going to work out bandwidth wise, but I’m going to try it out as an experiment. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll maybe look into Git or SVN as a way of providing updates.

So how will you know when to refresh? By following the twitter feed. You can also use @replies for feedback. While requests to reinstate UI that I’ve hidden will be probably be answered by “take the CSS and change it to suit you”, I’m always interested to hear your thoughts.

That’s enough waffle for something that be used by 10 people at the most – head along to the Helvetireader site if you want to try it out.

Camino users

If you do use Camino, then you’ll need to download the CSS file and add the following around it:


@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
@-moz-document url-prefix("http://www.google.com/reader/view/"), url-prefix("https://www.google.com/reader/view/") {
...css here...
}

And put that in your Library > Application Support > Camino > Chrome > userContent.css file.

Helvetireader - a work in progress

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Google Reader theme, and when/if I’m going to update it, so here’s an update on the update.

The ‘OS X’ style google reader isn’t going to updated. It’s a pain in the arse quite franky, and rather than being able to finish it off, I’m just spending my time cleaning up the mess after a new feature has been launched by Google. The code is all there if someone wants to take over the theme and carry on working on it, but I’m afraid that won’t be me!

Instead, I’ve been working on something I’m calling ‘Helvetireader’, a stripped back, cleaner style, inspired by the lovely interface for Times.app RSS Reader. No rounded boxes, shadows or superfluous buttons. As there is less forced positioning going on, it should break less when new features launch. That’s the plan anyway.

As it removes a lot of stuff that people might use, and only keeps the bits I use, it might not be that useful to some people. Once I feel it’s ready, I’ll release it!

gReader 1.4 - 'The my goodness I almost gave up on this one' release

Updating the gReader theme to work with the new Friends Shared Items feature introduced last year, has been, quite frankly, a royal pain the arse. I almost gave up on the theme a few times along the way, but I’m chuffed to be able to say, here’s the updated theme! I don’t doubt that this has introduced new bugs, but let me off the hook for now eh?

Google Reader theme - new sidebar

Changes for 1.4

  • Supports the friends shared items feature – the sidebar reflows when the shared items is toggled on/off
  • Removed a fair few lines of redundant code
  • New icons! Updated trends, and wee ‘friends’ icons.
  • Leopard-ized sidebar, with new, smaller folder icons, and generally a bit tightened up. The Leopard style makes the most sense with the Friends and Show lists
  • Page view tabs (‘Expanded view’ & ‘List view’) are now more osx-y.
  • Various other bug fixes, like ‘Refresh’ on the status bar being clickable again. Thanks must go to Daniel Haas, Matt Wiebe, Martin Ström, Tomasz ?wik and ChoGGi for all submitting patches! It’s people like you that make me keep on updating this theme.

Download gReader.zip | Update on userstyles.org | How to Install

Google Reader and Bloglines themes - it's over to you.

(Last Google Reader theme post, I promise)

Before now, I’ve felt quite protective of my site skins, and have always stated “Feel free to modify the CSS to suit your own tastes, but please don’t redistribute”. This stems from vanity to be truthful – I spend a long time creating these themes, and don’t want other people getting the credit!

That was how I used to think though. As time goes on, I feel like I’m becoming more communist open when it comes to the web. Besides, I have little time to update the themes, and carry out feature/bug requests, and they’re both at a point where I’m happy with them. Sure, there’s so much you could do to them, but the original intention was to create something for myself. Which is where you come in.

These themes are now both “do what you like with them”. Take out the bits you don’t like, put in new bits, whatever. Feel free to re-distribute them anywhere you like, whether slightly tweaked or massively altered. They’re yours to do with as you please! Give them a good home and let me know what do with them (hopefully something better!)

downloads

Google Reader Theme
Bloglines Theme for Webkit & Opera
Bloglines Theme for Mozilla

Finally, to answer a much-asked question I don’t have plans to do a GMail or GCal skin, but you never know.

Google Reader Theme 0.9

Almost there!

v0.9 ‘The Newbury’

  • New: All sidebar selections are styled the same
  • New: Current entry is highlighted, in a similar style to the default theme, but lighter and more minimal.
  • Fixed: Last rounded corner box bit still poking in from last version
  • Fixed: Colour for read feeds looks better
  • Fixed: Feeds not in tag folders aren’t indented the same as those that are. (added 13/5)
  • Fixed: titles showing up under unread counts (added 13/5)

Installation

Download gReader.zip, or if you use Stylish with Firefox/Flock, you install directly into Stylish from userstyles.org. There are 2 versions, one for Mozilla browsers and one for WebKit & Opera.

Firefox & Flock

Once you have the Stylish extension installed, you need to install 2 styles. OS X Google Reader and OS X Spinner (they had to be split to avoid the 64k file limit on userstyles). You should be able to update via Stylish > Manage Styles > Find Updates.

If you don’t want to use Stylish, follow the Camino method below.

Camino

Add the following @import rule into the top line of your /Library/Application Support/Camino/chrome/userContent.css file, (or create it if it doesn’t exist).

@import url(greader.css);

Place the greader.css file in the same chrome folder. The theme will be applied when you restart Camino.

Safari

Once Safaristand is installed, place the greader.css file in your user/Library/Safari/Stand/UserStyleSheets folder. Then visit Google Reader, go to SafariStand > Settings > Site Alteration. Add the site, enable Site Alteration and choose the greader file from the list. Make sure the matching pattern is just www.google.com. You may have to empty your cache, restart Safari and refresh before seeing any changes!

Omniweb

In Site Preferences > Page Appearance, choose the greader.css file under ‘Style Sheet’. The change should happen instantly!

Opera

Put the greader.css file anywhere you like! Right-click on the Google Reader page, choose "Edit Site Preferences" and select the CSS file through the display tab, under ‘My Style Sheet’. Like Omniweb, the change should apply immediately.

Google Reader Theme Fixed Again

OK, gReader theme fixed (I think). Google made some markup changes, for instance, Tag folders and Subscription icons once had classes of ‘icon’ and ‘icon-sub’ respectively, but now are both just ‘icon’. Fortunately there are still hooks in the markup to hack into.

v 0.86 ‘The Windermere’

*In order to do this, I’ve had to remove the big-assed loading graphic from the CSS in order to get in under userstyles file limit. I’ll look at ways of getting that back in later.

Further work on the display of entries still to come…

Installation

Download gReader.zip., or if you use Stylish with Firefox/Flock, install at Userstyles.org. There are 2 versions, one for Mozilla browsers and one for WebKit & Opera.

Firefox & Flock

Once you have the Stylish extension installed, you can do a One click install into Stylish at Userstyles.org. If you don’t want to use Stylish, follow the Camino method below.

Camino

Add the following @import rule into the top line of your /Library/Application Support/Camino/chrome/userContent.css file, (or create it if it doesn’t exist).

@import url(greader.css);

Place the greader.css file in the same chrome folder. The theme will be applied when you restart Camino.

Safari

Once Safaristand is installed, place the greader.css file in your user/Library/Safari/Stand/UserStyleSheets folder. Then visit Google Reader, go to SafariStand > Settings > Site Alteration. Add the site, enable Site Alteration and choose the greader file from the list. Make sure the matching pattern is just www.google.com. You may have to empty your cache, restart Safari and refresh before seeing any changes!

Omniweb

In Site Preferences > Page Appearance, choose the greader.css file under ‘Style Sheet’. The change should happen instantly!

Opera

Put the greader.css file anywhere you like! Right-click on the Google Reader page, choose "Edit Site Preferences" and select the CSS file through the display tab, under ‘My Style Sheet’. Like Omniweb, the change should apply immediately.

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