NodeFly Buzz: BirdReader with Glynn Bird

NodeFly is continuing our mission of spreading the Gospel of Node.js itself. As always, we use NodeFly Buzz to profile a project, page, or company that uses Node.js in fun, cool and innovative way. Today we are looking at BirdReader from Glynn Bird.

NodeFly: Can you tell us about the origins of BirdReader? 

Glynn Bird: On the 13th March, I woke up to find that Google was planning to close Google Reader, the RSS aggregation service that I used every day. I started looking around for alternatives but didn’t want to beholden to another website that might close its doors at short notice. So I decided to write my own. Something that would do just what I wanted to do, for my own use. I wished I’d called it BirdFeeder now!


NodeFly: The app is a full-featured newsreader. What features were critical, and which did you decide would be nice additions? 

Bird: I needed BirdReader to be a website that was “responsive”; allow me to import my Google Reader subscriptions; give me a timeline of news in newest first order; provide a “favourite” function and social media share buttons; provide a tag of feeds; take no local storage; be installable anywhere - on PC / Mac, on cloud server, on a Raspberry PI, and; be open source!

NodeFly: What made you decide to go with Node.js? 

Bird: I have used Node.js professionally and its active developer community means that it has many modules ready to use; it’s just a matter of finding the right packages and getting stuck in. I don’t think I would have been able to fetch 25 RSS feeds in parallel in PHP, for example.

NodeFly: Did you experience any challenges going the Node.js route?

Bird: I happened to start my development just as Node 0.10.0 came out. That caused my some pain because some modules aren’t compatible yet. “Forever”, for example.


NodeFly: Any future additions planned for Birdreader? 

Bird: Well after open-sourcing it, I quickly added extra features myself such as “add a feed” (not just importing your Google Reader subscriptions), tagging and social media links. I’ve been promised a search facility by an open-source contributor, so watch this space!


NodeFly: Any future Node.js plans you would like to tease us with? 

Bird: I have my BirdReader server running on a free-tier Amazon EC2 instance. But wouldn’t it be nice if my web-app “synced” with the server, for off line viewing? There’s a technology called PouchDB which might be a good fit. So let’s see what happens!

NodeFly: Thanks for telling us all about BirdReader today! All the best with your future Node.js projects!

Check out BirdReader at for this great alternative to Google Reader.

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