Self-hosted RSS Reader


Here is a quick plug for a tool that I really like. I have been using Cranked for a bit now and love it. I know this is going to sound a little dated but it is a self-hosted RSS reader. Sure, it sounds like it belongs in 2005 but the design and execution are killer. The application itself is pretty simple. There is your main page of stories, buckets you can sort feeds in, and a basic setup page. That’s about it. What really makes the deal is how well the UI is thought out. The font and leading are both adjustable. The design is responsive and works amazing well on an IOS or Android device and the page is lightweight enough that it loads quickly.

Lastly, there is one cool little feature worth mentioning – “Crank Up The Feeds.” Basically, it resorts a list of stories by popularity. If you want to see what is trending from thousands of stories, this is a way to get at that.

Setup took 5 minutes. Simply deploy the PHP, setup a MySQL database, and connect the two. Done. That’s it. Refreshing is done via a cron job that calls wget to load a special page. Alternatively, you can call the refresh page from a browser to force it to load new stories.

The only down side that I see is that it is single user. I can’t really have multiple using my feeds or setting up their own. For an office, this would be a cool feature. Instead, I simply redeploy multiple instances of the application on the same domain.

The self-hosted RSS reader is a bit of a niche but if you need one, check out

Screen Shots

Cranked on Android/Chrome

Cranked on Windows 8/Chrome