Here's Helvetireader

27 Nov 2008

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.

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