Recently, Kev mes­saged me to ask where my ar­ti­cle full of praise for Miniflux was. While I have spo­ken highly of it on Fosstodon it­self, I re­al­ized I haven’t done so here.

Well… here goes.

How I got around to us­ing Miniflux

80% of the con­tent I con­sume is through RSS feeds — I have 194 feeds as at this point in time! The other 20% is from oc­cas­sional vis­its to Twitter and var­i­ous Mastodon com­mu­ni­ties, among other sources.

I fol­low my GitHub feed, YouTube chan­nels, per­sonal blogs, tech­ni­cal blogs, blog­gers who ex­clu­sively pub­lish on DEV.to, news out­lets (global and do­mes­tic), comics (sadly not many keep an RSS feed), and even a cou­ple of job/​gig por­tals. In the fu­ture, I might have Instagram ac­counts on there as well which might re­quire a bit more work but looks to be pos­si­ble — yay Facebook.

Anyway, Feedly’s pro plan was too costly as my feed list kept grow­ing and I wanted to or­ga­nize them nicely, so I moved away. Enter Miniflux; per­haps not too long ago. I had pur­chased a one year sub­scrip­tion in August 2019. As I write this, maybe it’s not that long ago ei­ther, but I guess my sense of time is a bit off thanks to the on-go­ing pan­demic.

When I first read its of­fi­cial one-line de­scrip­tion — “Miniflux is a min­i­mal­ist and opin­ion­ated feed reader” — I was quick to make a judge­ment: oh, here we go… yet an­other opin­ion­ated soft­ware that’s prob­a­bly built for peo­ple who love the ter­mi­nal and key­board-dri­ven apps and in­ter­faces. Little did I know I would go around pro­mot­ing it, and even self-host­ing it as I do now.

As I went ahead and read the home page, the FAQ, and all the other ones, every­thing about it res­onated with my own ide­al­is­tic prin­ci­ples. The cre­ator even opted out of the JavaScript frame­work rat race. Cool. Sol(i)d!

Why I love us­ing it

  • The key­board short­cuts make sense; you can tog­gle the help over­lay by press­ing the ? key.
  • Self-hosting is easy. Upgrades can be a bit tricky if you’re us­ing a Docker-based setup, but I sup­pose all you need is a lit­tle bit of pa­tience and a will to learn. Paying for the cloud host­ing is prob­a­bly eas­ier and help­ful for the au­thor, if you can af­ford that in­stead.
    • The price is a strong pos­i­tive in an econ­omy of just-five-dol­lars-a-month. While I could af­ford pay­ing for it, it still made more fi­nan­cial sense to self-host.
  • Actively de­vel­oped with mean­ing­ful ad­di­tions and fixes.
  • You can fetch orig­i­nal con­tent for sites that don’t syn­di­cate their en­tire con­tent. Usually works well enough. Since it’s a fall­back, no com­plaints.
  • It works with the prefers-color-scheme CSS me­dia query. Dark theme dur­ing the night, light theme dur­ing the day.
  • Its well-writ­ten and well-doc­u­mented API also lets me have an au­to­mated blogroll with­out wor­ry­ing about con­stant break­ing changes — which a proper­i­tory prod­uct might do fre­quently.

Dislikes…?

My only com­plaint with Miniflux has been the fact that it does­n’t of­fer a post con­tent pre­view on the in­dex/​nav­i­ga­tion pages. However, you can ab­solutely live with it — it’s a pretty fast piece of soft­ware for that to not mat­ter as much.

Community around Miniflux

My other complaint,” which has noth­ing to do with Miniflux, was around how posts ac­cu­mu­late over time as you only read the ones that pick your at­ten­tion. This es­pe­cially hap­pens, in bulk, when­ever I add new feeds. So I wrote a small util­ity in Ruby to fix that: mini­flux-san­ity. A bit saner unread” count at the top.

There’s also a bunch of front-ends and mo­bile apps for Miniflux, if you’re not happy with its PWA. Take a quick look at the #miniflux tag on GitHub.

I also cre­ated an awe­some repos­i­tory: awe­some-mini­flux. Since an awe­some col­lec­tion should be tools you per­son­ally use/​have used and en­joy, there’s only one en­try in there so far. Should you want to rec­om­mend some­thing, please open a pull re­quest and we’ll get that sorted. 🙂

Other pals talk­ing about it