From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Principal Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

Truncating RSS Feeds with Feedbin

I like RSS feeds. It’s the one place where I keep up with blogs and news. For blogs, I try to read most articles to completion. If I’m busy, they wait until I get time to read them. But news feeds often produce an overwhelming number of articles every day. If I fall behind, the news is no longer up to date so the value of these feeds decreases over time.

I used to run a script to regularly truncate specific feeds so that their article count stays manageable. However, I’ve recently discovered that Feedbin, my RSS management app, can do this natively with its Actions system. Actions allow you use search queries to filter your feeds and then perform actions like marking articles as read or starring them. I’ve used this before to exclude references to podcasts or sponsorships from various feeds, but I didn’t realize until a few days ago that it could do date-based search ranges.

Screenshot of Feedbin page showing use of Actions to truncate articles by date range.

In this example, we use the search syntax published:<now-1w to find all the articles older than a week and then mark them as read. Applying this across various feeds keeps the number of articles manageable. With boolean logic (AND and OR) you can even include or exclude articles based on their content.