Add Feed From Directory
IntroductionThe goal of TopFeeder is simple: to provide quick access to top news feeds. It does not burden you with dozens (or hundreds) of stories since the last time you looked at it. You can pop in, look at the current headlines, and pop out—hopefully learning something in the process.
First, a few basics about RSS feeds for those who are new to this.
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary (or Really Simple Syndication, depending on whom you believe). Regardless of the name, it is just another way to provide information over the internet, just like a web page does. But unlike a standard web page (which can be formatted any way it pleases), the RSS format provides a formal way for a site to summarize its content. So while these RSS files are delivered just like a web page (and ultimately link you back to a web page), they need to be read and displayed by an application like TopFeeder.
Like web pages, RSS feeds are reached via a web address, or web link, or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) -- like http://www.google.com. For the sake of merciful brevity, TopFeeder uses the term URL. Each RSS feed will have its own URL, and some sites might publish multiple URLs for different topics (such as political news versus entertainment news). All you need to access an RSS feed is its URL, which are often found in proximity to the RSS icon:
If the appropriate URLs are not readily apparent on your favorite web site, usually searching for the name of the site and the term "RSS" will get you there—although not all sites provide them. TopFeeder also has a built-in directory of popular RSS feeds to get you started (see below).
An RSS feed is ultimately just a list. Once this list is loaded into TopFeeder, you can find the stories you are interested in and view them directly from the host site. As such, the two main screens of TopFeeder are the Headline List and the Story Viewer, both of which have a variety of customization options.
Headline ListThis is the main screen of TopFeeder and can be configured in multiple ways. In its most basic form, it provides a list of headlines for the stories in the selected feed. Various options on-screen and via the button allow you to control the display of story numbers, images, and summaries (although some feeds do not provide images or summaries).
turns story numbers on, turns them off. If they are turned on, once a story has been read its individual story number will disappear.
changes the selected feed. This process is described in more detail below.
opens the Configuration screen to make various configuration changes and access support functions. As you know by virue of the fact that you are reading this.
Sliding any headline to the left exposes buttons to control the saving of stories (saved stories are indicated by ) as well as to share them with others.
The time the feed was last updated is shown at the bottom of the screen. To update it, pull the headline list down until the update is triggered. Also note that pulling the headline list down just a little will expose the header that indicates what feed is currently loaded.
Story ViewerThe Story Viewer allows you to read a feed's story without leaving the app. Tap to change display modes, which are:
Default is a standard web browser within the app itself. This allows access to TopFeeder's story-saving function while reading the story, as well as sharing options and the ability to switch to a different display mode. A story can be saved or discarded by tapping (the story is saved if the bookmark is red).
Readability.com mode will view the story through Readability.com, which generally makes web pages more mobile-friendly. Otherwise this option is the same as Default.
On iOS 9.0 and later, you can also select Safari or Safari Reader mode. These both will launch a full-screen version of Safari (as such it is not recommended for iPad users), retaining most of your Safari settings and configurations (passwords, content blockers, etc.). The only difference between the two options is that Safari Reader puts you directly into Safari Reader mode to make the content easier to consume.
Even if you switch display modes in a story, the next time a story is opened the app's default display mode will be used. This is configured in Settings.
Select FeedThe active feed can be selected via the button, or by tapping the story count at the top of the Headline List.
In addition to showing the available feeds, the list also starts with a special [Saved Stories] item which holds all previously saved stories. For the actual feeds, statistics are shown indicating the size of their last update and the amount of time required to download and process it. These statistics can be toggled to show an average of all updates by long-pressing on any feed (the statistics are toggled back and forth for all).
To change the feeds available here, tap the Manage Feeds button; this will bring up the Manage Feeds screen detailed below.
Manage FeedsThe Manage Feeds screen allows you to customize the feeds listed on the Select Feed screen. They look quite similar, but instead of statistics the URL of the feed is shown below the name. These existing feeds can be edited or new ones added (more on that below). Note that any changes made here are not saved unless you tap the Save button.
An existing feed can be edited via two different but ultimately identical ways: by sliding it left to expose buttons to edit or delete the feed, or by tapping on it to pop up a menu with the same options. These options are:
Edit Name: Change the displayed name of the feed.
Edit URL: Change the web address used to access the feed.
Delete Feed: Delete the feed from the active list.
(Note that deleting a feed never removes it from the TopFeeder Directory if it exists there)
The feed name can be changed to anything you want (within certain length restrictions), but the URL must remain valid as defined by the site generating it. Normally you should not need (or want) to edit a functioning URL. If a site actually changes its RSS URL, it may just be easier to delete it and add it again from scratch. But never say never, so you have an option to edit it.
Besides modifying existing feeds, new feeds can be added via the Add New Feed button. You will be prompted to use the TopFeeder Directory, or to enter the feed information manually. The best way to do this manually is to copy the desired feed URL to the iOS clipboard, and then pasting it into the app. In fact, if you reach this screen with a valid URL on the clipboard, TopFeeder will automatically prompt you to add it as a new feed.
Since TopFeeder cannot distinguish between a URL for a feed and any other generic web address, all new or modified URLs are tested to confirm that they deliver valid RSS feed data. This process will also be used to provide a default name for the feed, as it will use the one embedded in the feed. However, this testing means that a feed URL that is not functioning at that particular moment cannot be added.
Adding a feed from the TopFeeder Directory is covered in the next section.
Add Feed From DirectoryThe TopFeeder Directory provides URLs for dozens of feeds, making it easy to find and add new ones. The Directory is grouped into sections for a given site (CNN, The New York Times, etc.). A site may also have additional feeds available than are listed in the Directory. In that case, the More Feeds... option will open Safari to their feed page where you can copy and paste the desired feed URL as described above.
Feeds listed in the directory can be added or removed from the main feed list by tapping on them. Currently selected feeds will be indicated by black diamonds (♦︎), and a count of selected Directory feeds will be shown at the bottom of the list. As noted above, any changes made to selected feeds in the Directory will not be retained if you do not exit via the Save button. Currently, you also must have at least one Directory feed selected in order to save your changes; if you really don't want that last one, you can delete it directly from the Manage Feeds screen.
While they all end up in the same place, feeds added or removed via the directory are distinct from the ones added to the feed list manually. Those can only be edited (or removed) from the main feed list. Similarly, deleting a feed from the feed list does not remove it from the Directory itself.
The Directory is reviewed and updated periodically, but if you encounter trouble with a particular site or feed (or want to recommend one to include), please let us know.
Compact mode: Enabling Compact Mode packs more story information onto your screen, by using smaller fonts and tighter story spacing. Set it to whatever your eyes prefer.
Display story pictures: If enabled, TopFeeder will attempt to load images linked in the story information. Some sites do not provide any images, or do not provide any that are meaningful for the story. If this happens, you will be stuck looking at the TopFeeder icon. Also, turning off the pictures leaves more space for larger headline text, so if you care more about that than occasionally pretty pictures, you may just want to leave them turned off anyway. Leaving them off will also minimize the amount of data usage required to update a feed.
Abbreviate news sources: Some feeds (notably Google's) append text to the end of the headline to indicate where it came from (CNN, The New York Times, etc.). To conserve space in this situation, TopFeeder can abbreviate some common news sources (for example, The New York Times becomes NYT, and CNN becomes, well, CNN). If you do not typically use a feed that exhibits this behavior, it is probably best to leave this turned off (as is the default), just in case.
Confirm story discards: When this is on (as it is by default), any action to discard a saved story will get a confirmation prompt. If disabled, the story is discarded immediately and cannot be retrieved. Note that even though this setting is in the Story Display section, it also applies to discarding done within the Headline List.
Always clear cookies: When using the Default or Readability.com display modes, this setting will clear any web browser cookies each time a story is opened. This can help to provide a "cleaner" browsing experience in terms of tracking cookies and such. It also may (or may not) reset the counter on sites that limit the number of articles you can read, so please use it responsibly (on the downside, it also may repeatedly subject you to privacy notices and other annoying alerts every time). Also note that if you just want to do a one-time cookie cleaning, this can be triggered in the Support section as noted below.
Sync via iCloud: When this is enabled, key TopFeeder data elements (the feed list, saved stories, and read stories) are synced between all of the devices that share your iCloud account. However, most of the settings here are not synced; this allows you to, say, have different display mode settings for your iPhone and iPad. The use of iCloud is optional and is off by default. Note that when you first enable iCloud syncing, you will be prompted to make a choice between local or iCloud data if any TopFeeder information already exists in your iCloud account. If this is the case, you will need to decide between keeping the existing (local) settings on your device, or have them replaced by what is already stored in iCloud. If you choose the local data elements, they will replace whatever had been stored in iCloud previously.
Shake it up: This setting is just a reward for reading this far or digging that deep into the settings. By default it is off, but once activated a shake of the device while in the Headline List will change feeds. Your options (besides Disabled, of course) are Next Feed (which takes you to the next feed in your list), Random Feed (if you want to leave the choice to chance; it still will only select from your configured feeds), or Select Feed (which will simply bring up the Select Feed screen and save you the effort of tapping the button). You're welcome.
Reset Feed List: This will reset the feed list to the default set provided with the app. Any feeds you have added manually or selected from the Directory will be removed (unless, of course, they were on the default list). If you have iCloud syncing turned on, that feed list will be reset as well.
Reset Feed Stats: This will reset the accumulated statistics (update sizes and timings) for all of the feeds that TopFeeder has loaded. Note that they are normally retained internally for a while even if you delete the feed. If you are paranoid, consider yourself warned.
Discard Saved Stories: This will discard any and all stories you currently have saved within TopFeeder. Once discarded, they cannot be recovered. If you have iCloud syncing turned on, they will be removed from there as well.
Clear Story Cookies: This will clear the web browser cookies used in the Story Viewer. It is functionally the same as the Always clear cookies setting noted above, except that it is just done this one time.
Calls For Help
Visit TacLogic.com: This will load (via Safari) the full taclogic.com web site.
Send Support Email: This will generate an addressed email to TacLogic Support, preloaded with various bits of device and app information. You can review and/or delete this information before sending the email. Also please be sure to mention what problem(s) you are having.
Send Feedback Email: Questions? Comments? Complaints? Complements? Feature Requests? Submit them here.
Recommend This App To Others: Like TopFeeder? Here is an easy way to send a link to your friends. Or enemies—we don't care, as long as they have an App Store account. But if you really want some good karma, why not go ahead and gift it to them outright?
Our Other Apps: Visit the rest of the TacLogic apps on the App Store. Collect them all!