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Jonathan Greene on ReaderMini

John Tokash … has replicated a very close desktop experience for the mobile browser in ReaderMini. It works very well over both EDGE data and WiFi and has really enabled a very slick experience without limits. John’s been putting in some late nights, taking all my feedback (gotta love that) and released quite a few updates in very short order.

Jon, thanks for the kind words. The excellent feedback you provide on a regular basis has helped shaped ReaderMini’s functionality and UI.

Stay tuned for more updates. The next major milestone is a skin that looks nice!!

ReaderMini.com – New Version for all you Google Reader fans on the run!

ReaderMini is coming along nicely. It’s a Feed Reading front end for Google Reader, using the Google Reader API. It’s built primariy for use on small internet tablets (like the Nokia 770 and n800). Here are the changes that went live tonight:

Changes in Release .9 – 1/9/07

  • ReaderMini is now secure (HTTPS / SSL) on the production url (readermini.com). Also, the app will force you to use HTTPS. alpha.readermini.com is not HTTPS.
  • Categories of feeds can be collapsed/expanded.
  • Expand all, Collapse all
  • Titlebar now contains current feed name.
  • Fixed: links now open in a new window.
  • Fixed: Apostrophes no longer block feed loading.
  • Click a category’s river (right most) button to see all posts for feeds in that category.
  • Changed the ‘open connections’ Ajax indicator from images to text.

Check it out!!

New Version of ReaderMini Up!

ReaderMini, my faster, stronger, better front end to Google Reader is now a zillion times faster at startup. Loading an account with 600 feeds is now just a few seconds on a desktop machine and less than 15 seconds on a Nokia 770 or Nokia n800 Internet Tablet. AWESOME!

For more news on ReaderMini, check here.

ReaderMini.com version .6 is up!

After a very late night of coding, version .6 is up! New since Tuesday: New buttons: Mark All Read for the current feed and View unread posts only. Also, lots of new images and colors to freshen the look. The sidebar can now be collapsed to give you more reading room for your feeds. You can see a list of your starred and shared items. For more, see the list below.

So, get on with it! Check out ReaderMini.com!

Dev on this project is going well. The next big change will fix the bug that requires you to occasionally refresh your browser to re-enable certain buttons.

Changes in Release .6 – 1/3/07

  • Mark Feed as Read button. NOTE: The Google Reader API and Google Reader currently do not allow an item to be made unread after you’ve blasted the feed with Mark All As Read.
  • Fixed: Read, Starred, Shared now work in reverse to mark an item as unread, unshared, not starred.
  • “Show Unread Posts Only” button.
  • Added a Favicon. It’s an orange flag from this set of free icons: http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/mini/
  • Added placeholder icons to feed item buttons (star,share,read/unread) from http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/mini/

Changes in Release .5 – 1/3/07

  • Sidebar and Content Pane are now connected by a collapse-divider. Click it to hide the sidebar.
  • Moved color and font information out of main css file and into a ‘theme’ css file.
  • Fixed: Margins aren’t screwy anymore.

Changes in Release .4 – 1/3/07

  • Cleaned up the demo account’s subscriptions.
  • User’s email address is now displayed in the header.
  • Added starred and shared links to the feed list so you can browse the items you’ve tagged that way.
  • Feed category titles are now highlighted to make them distinct from feed titles.
  • Stale feeds are no longer hidden by default.
  • Feed titles in the feed list are now more organized. Unread count comes first and feed titles no longer wrap.

Changes in Release .3 – 1/2/07

  • Thanks to Jonathan Greene, Gregory Auld, keesj (in #maemo on freenode) and fietske (on Google Groups) for feedback/suggestions.
  • Fixed: Mark read/starred/shared buttons no longer stack up.
  • Fixed: Feed List no longer loses items.
  • Fixed: Nokia 770 users can drag scroll the feed contents.
  • Feeds now default to hidden if they are stale (no unread items).
  • New Layout. Handles browser resize (including 770’s full screen mode) wonderfully.
  • Fixed: Buttons are bigger, in general, for touch screen use.
  • Font has changed to Bitstream Vera Sans where supported. Degrades to Arial if not supported.
  • Fixed: When an item is marked read, the unread count for the feed is decremented.
  • Fixed: Feed categories are now alphabetical.
  • Fixed: Action words now, for feed item buttons (star,share,read).
  • Lots of divs have been set up with classes and ids in preparation for beautification.
  • Release Notes and Known Issues appear when the application is launched.

Changes in Release .2 – 12/27/06

  • Fixed: Items now link back to their original articles.
  • Feed List and Feed Contents are in their own independantly scrolling areas.
  • Fixed: Feed Contents area resets to the top when a new feed is opened.
  • Demo account set up. Use x@gmail.com / x to login.
  • Fixed: Page Reload/Refresh now works as expected.
  • Mark Read, Share, Add Star buttons added for each item.
  • Red/Grey dots in the header show active AJAX connections.

TODO:

  • Next/Prev Page buttons.
  • Bug: Deal with auth and command token timeouts. — if this moves into the cookies, have all feed downloads trigger a logout if the version cookie isn’t set (start setting that at login) so that users don’t get a bad experience.
  • Next/Prev Item buttons.
  • Setup a data version checker and log out ReaderMini users if need be.
  • Integrate Google Reader Trends.
  • set “flag-for-later” “flag-for-followup” label with button. (greghaspants)
  • image loading toggle (will display:none block loading?) (greghaspants)
  • put unread count in titlebar (greghaspants)
  • put current feed in titlebar
  • Mark All as Read button next to each feed in the feed list. inspiration
  • Add a FAQ Page, including info about the API (mention Niall) also: authentication, goals, contact, other apps,.
  • Move from authForInstalledApps mechanism to authForWebApps as soon as it is availalbe for Google Reader.
  • Subscribe to feed button / dialog.
  • Bug: AJAX requests don’t start the internet connection on the 770. Pop a dialog or put a request in an iframe.
  • Bug: Image handling in Opera on the 770 might leak. After browsing several feeds with lots of images, images stop showing up. Workaround: refresh the browser. Solution: Find a way to clean up the images.
  • Override the cursor keys for next/prev hotkeys?
  • River view for categories.
  • UI is not clean enough.
  • Feed List should be drag-scrollable on the 770.
  • Browser compatability warnings. Pop a dialog if AJAX fails.
  • Incorporate some of the great ‘reading feeds on a touchscreen’ discussion points at this post (where’d that link go?).
  • HTTPS login.
  • “Blog This” button.
  • “Del.icio.us This” button.
  • Tag functionality.
  • Degraded mode for browsers that can’t handle dojo and ajax.
  • Gregarius backend – no reason that ReaderMini shouldn’t integrate with other Aggregator software.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for non touch screen browsers (Sony Mylo)
  • Outlook preview pane theme.
  • Theme support.
  • Get rid of “author unknown” text in some feeds.
  • Optimize the updating of feed unread counters.
  • Set the feed list to have overflow horizontally hidden rather than wrapping. Do a mouseover for the number of unread.
  • Backend: use /reader/api/0/token?client=XXXX instead of /reader/view to get command token.
  • Backend: change any lingering client=scroll params to client=readermini+version.
  • Hide categories which have only stale feeds?? (greghaspants)

Google Reader Trends!

Reader Trends, added today to Google Reader, provides a lot of insight into a user’s feed reading behavior. For instance, the graphs of my reading habits are very informative and confirmed that I do most of my feed reading late in the evening and on weekends. I’m really impressed with the Trends page and I’m looking forward to seeing Google do more with our feed data.

I see two big issues, though. The first is related to it’s handling of read items. I don’t think it can tell the difference between a feed that you constantly mark as read without actually reading any articles and a feed that you carefully read each item, very aware that when you hit J(next item), you’ll be marking each article read. So some forum feeds which I rarely browse are mixed with ones I actually read a lot (like www.scobleizer.com, Make Magazine and Engadget) in my most read list. To drive this point home, I’ll note that the trends page says “From your 93 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 2,771 items, starred 143 items, and shared 140 items.” I have not scrolled past 2,771 items this month. Er…. HAVE I?

The second big issue (for me) is that the new Trends page is yet another piece of Google Reader that doesn’t work on my Nokia 770 which has a VERY CAPABLE Opera browser. The page loads, but none of the tabs work.

I spent a few minutes looking into adding the Trends information into ReaderMini (my mobile front end to Google Reader), but it looks like I’ll have to translate a lot of links and I may have to include a bunch of CSS to get it working. I put it on the todo list and I’ll hopefully get to it this month.

The ‘inactive feeds’ list is very helpful and may lead to a recategorization of my feeds.

Update: I agree with Steve Rubel. I’d like to opt in for the ability to share my personal Google Reader trends with others. I’d even love to put some of the lists and charts in my blog sidebar. Meanwhile, Andrew Parker links to what end up being an excellent resource for finding apps like this. He calls them MyWare.

ReaderMini.com version .3 is up!

It still has a ways to go before 1.0, but it’s a great way to browse your Google Reader feeds on the Nokia 770.
Release Notes are here:

Changes in Release .3 – 1/2/07

  • Thanks to Jonathan Greene, Gregory Auld, keesj (in #maemo on freenode) and fietske (on Google Groups) for feedback/suggestions.
  • Fixed: Mark read/starred/shared buttons no longer stack up.
  • Fixed: Feed List no longer loses items.
  • Fixed: Nokia 770 users can drag scroll the feed contents.
  • Feeds now default to hidden if they are stale (no unread items).
  • New Layout. Handles browser resize (including 770’s full screen mode) wonderfully.
  • Fixed: Buttons are bigger, in general, for touch screen use.
  • Font has changed to Bitstream Vera Sans where supported. Degrades to Arial if not supported.
  • Fixed: When an item is marked read, the unread count for the feed is decremented.
  • Fixed: Feed categories are now alphabetical.
  • Fixed: Action words now, for feed item buttons (star,share,read).
  • Lots of divs have been set up with classes and ids in preparation for beautification.
  • Release Notes and Known Issues appear when the application is launched.

Changes in Release .2 – 12/??/07

  • Fixed: Items now link back to their original articles.
  • Feed List and Feed Contents are in their own independantly scrolling areas.
  • Fixed: Feed Contents area resets to the top when a new feed is opened.
  • Demo account set up. Use x@gmail.com / x to login.
  • Fixed: Page Reload/Refresh now works as expected.
  • Mark Read, Share, Add Star buttons added for each item.
  • Red/Grey dots in the header show active AJAX connections.

TODO:

  • Mark All as Read button for the current feed.
  • Mark All as Read button next to each feed in the feed list. inspiration
  • Bug: Read, Starred, Shared buttons do not work in reverse to mark an item as unread, unshared, not starred.
  • Next/Prev buttons.
  • Add a FAQ Page, including info about the API (mention Niall) also: authentication, goals, contact, other apps,.
  • Subscribe to feed button / dialog.
  • Bug: Deal with auth and command token timeouts.
  • Bug: AJAX requests don’t start the internet connection on the 770. Pop a dialog or put a request in an iframe.
  • Bug: Image handling in Opera on the 770 might leak. After browsing several feeds with lots of images, images stop showing up. Workaround: refresh the browser. Solution: Find a way to clean up the images.
  • Option to view unread items only.
  • Next/Prev Page buttons.
  • Override the cursor keys for next/prev hotkeys?
  • River view for categories.
  • UI is not clean enough.
  • Add Icons to feed item buttons (star,share,read/unread).
  • Feed List should be drag-scrollable on the 770.
  • Browser compatability warnings. Pop a dialog if AJAX fails.
  • Add a Favicon.
  • Incorporate some of the great ‘reading feeds on a touchscreen’ discussion points at this post (where’d that link go?).
  • HTTPS login.
  • “Blog This” button.
  • “Del.icio.us This” button.
  • Tag functionality.
  • Degraded mode for browsers that can’t handle dojo and ajax.
  • Gregarius backend – no reason that ReaderMini shouldn’t integrate with other Aggregator software.
  • Sliding feed list so more real estate goes to feeds.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for non touch screen browsers (Sony Mylo)
  • Outlook preview pane theme.
  • Theme support.
  • Get rid of “author unknown” text in some feeds.
  • Show user email address.
  • Optimize the updating of feed unread counters.
  • Set the feed list to have overflow horizontally hidden rather than wrapping. Do a mouseover for the number of unread.

New Version of ReaderMini on the Horizon!

I’ll be pushing this version onto readermini.com and alpha.readermini.com before I go to sleep tonight. Enjoy!

screenshot of ReaderMini running on the Nokia 770’s Opera browser.