I Failed at Using Elfeed as My RSS Reader

Since I’m in Emacs most of the time anyway, I thought it would be useful to use Elfeed for reading RSS feeds.

It didn’t work out.

I couldn’t make heads or tails out of what Elfeed was doing with windows. I felt even more helpless with window management than usual. I often have an Emacs frame in full-screen, split into two or three columns. With Elfeed’s feed list in the left of three columns, new entries would open in the far right column. Weird and unexpected. Starting with two columns, the right window is so wide that it makes reading text difficult. I couldn’t figure out how to manage any of this.

I couldn’t get the article date to display in the feed list. All of the screenshots I’ve seen of Elfeed show the date. There’s a bunch of settings for the date format but I couldn’t find anything about including it.

The feed list format goes all kittywampus seemingly at random. Sometimes it looks like a plain text list of titles. As I read each article, its entry reformats itself with the proper columns and faces. I cannot figure out how to fix it.

I couldn’t get the Elfeed database to sync consistently. Putting the database in a synced folder didn’t seem to work. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong or missing a step. I can’t seem to figure out when Elfeed updated the database, and I don’t want to include a bunch of config hacks to force the issue.

Beyond my technical failings, I’ve learned that reading feeds is, for me, a “lean back in the chair and click things” activity. With Elfeed, I need to be sitting upright with my hands on the keyboard and I guess I’m too lazy for that.

I’m once again using Feedbin for managing and reading RSS feeds. I started using Feedbin as a way to manage and sync my subscriptions, but planned to actually read things in Reeder but never got to the second part. I just use the web UI for now and it’s not bad at all.