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 Forum index » House Training » HOWTO ( Solutions )
HowTo: Get Full-Text RSS Articles for Off-line Reading
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jun 2012, 02:30    Post subject:  HowTo: Get Full-Text RSS Articles for Off-line Reading  

Especially in the world of news and sports, RSS feeds often provide just the first paragraph or so. The rest is found only when the users click on the link that takes them to the original page. This isn’t feasible if you’re on a plane or in another internet-less environment. This How-To gives RSS users off-line access to complete articles.

Two options:

1) Users can use web-scraping, which sends the URL of their RSS feed through a full-text site such as http://fulltextrssfeed.com

For example, if you wanted the complete text of selected Washington Post frontpage articles, you’d set up the link like this:


fulltextrssfeed.com will give you five full articles for free. Other similar sites give you less unless you sign up for a pay-for service.

If 3-5 articles from a given site is sufficient for your reading needs, then newsbeuter is a very lightweight RSS reader for Linux (already available as a pet) and you can set up your URLs accordingly and be done with it.

But if you want more, there’s another way:

2) This option involves an unholy union between wine, the Windows app Mobireader, and FBReader.

Mobireader will run with most versions of wine, however, if running Mobireader with versions beyond 1.2.2, users will have to install gecko (an html renderer). It's a 40+mb installation, and without it, Mobireader will crash. Wine 1.2.2 (and perhaps lower) will allow users to forgo the gecko installation and still run Mobireader.

Once you’ve decided upon your wine version, download and install Mobireader 6.2:


Mobireader is an RSS application that’s set up to download feeds and sync them in their entirety to mobile devices (e.g. phones and handheld computers). Mobireader downloads every article of a given feed (and can be programmed to download articles from even a month back). On Mobireader’s desktop, however, you only have access to the article’s first paragraph. If you want more, you have to use the app’s browser and an internet connection.

This is where FBReader comes in. Mobireader may only show the first paragraphs, but it has the full articles, stored in *.prc files. FBReader can open and read those files. FBReader is standard on many puppy distros. If yours doesn’t have it installed already, FBReader 0.12.10 works well in this arrangement.

A caveat about a non-gecko running of Mobireader: visually, it's messy. Even the first paragraph of my Mobireader feeds will not show in its GUI. I can live with this since Mobireader is only downloading the articles so FBReader can read them. I just click the Update button, and once Mobireader downloads the complete articles, I close out the app and view from FBReader.

If you have a working Windows install of Mobireader somewhere (where you’ve already set up the desired feeds), the easiest thing to do is grab Mobireader’s feed directory (default directory: /My Documents/My Ebooks) and drop the feeds into the wine/Mobireader Ebook directory (this directory can be user-chosen in Settings).

When installing the Mobireader feeds into the FBReader library, do not rename them, no matter how ridiculous their titles. Mobireader needs the titling for future syncs. The good news is that after the feeds are installed in the FBReader library, FBReader can continue to access them after these syncs and without their reinstallation.

That’s convenient, but in the library, the feeds’ display is only alphabetical—you can’t tag them into categories such as News, Sports, Politics, etc. A future Mobireader sync will wipe out the tags.

But with this combination of programs, RSS fanatics will have access to full-text articles (with pictures) and once they’re downloaded, an internet connection is no longer necessary for viewing them in their entirety. It won’t make plane travel fun, but it does offer a substantial distraction.

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