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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.
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.
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.
Adam Taylor has released Helvetical, a work-in-progress userstyle for Google Calendar, based on my Helvetireader theme:
I know I am not alone in my love/hate relationship for Google’s apps, the functionality is brilliant but the UI is ugly. Google Calendar is most definitely not the exception to the rule, it hurts my eyes. Helvetical extends the work done by Jon Hicks on Helvetireader, turning the mayhem of the Google interface into something that doesn’t offend. It was created for use with Fluid.app but I’m sure you can hack the CSS to work for your needs.
At one point, I had in mind that I would create a minimal Helvetica theme that would work across various google apps. Then I took one look under the hood of GMail and new it would never work.