RSS sidebar in Safari

04 Jul 2004

Those of you who are registered users of Saft will now have the latest preview version with the new sidebar feature. The plugin nature of the sidebar (each panel can be a web page, perl script or shell script) has got me wondering about what useful little widget I could put in there.

Here’s my first idea. After hacking the excellent Feedonfeeds news aggregator script, I’ve made a little OS X style RSS sidebar. Feedonfeeds is a php/MySQL solution that you can install on your site, rather than using a desktop client. From here I can click the unread number to view the latest feeds, the grey number to see all the recent entries, and the blog name to go straight to the site. The first 2 open in a simplified format – very like the RSS Reader/Sage extension for Firefox, and the upcoming Safari RSS reader.

All the menus are faked with CSS, but it helps it look like its part of the browser, rather than a separate web page:

screenshot of the rss sidebar

(It makes it so much easier when you’re writing CSS for just one browser!)

The advantage of a browser based, non-local solution is that its always up to date. I can access it from anywhere, and pick up where I left off. Downsides? Just one so far – It isn’t as good as NetNewsWire at detecting feeds. Where the XML has errors it just gives up. I’m giving it a trial for a while, I’m not sure yet whether it would replace NNW. After all, NNW 2 is going to be introducing a sync feature – great if you use more than one machine.

If this looks like the kind of thing you’d like to use, let me know. If people are interested, I’ll clear it with the creator before uploading the additonal files to create the sidebar.

Next, I think I might have a crack at creating a plugin similar to the Web Developer Extension for Mozilla and Firefox.

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