Owl Report Manual

I feel like the simplest technologies are sometimes the hardest to get right. Internet feeds are one of these. If you are reading this manual, chances are you've already heard of Atom or RSS. They are nothing else than a set of rules to write and read an xml file that describe the content you publish. Sounds simple, right? Well, no... Getting every one to agree that these will be rules to publish content is not a simple task. Everyone's content is slightly different, shouldn't everyone slightly bend those rules so that their content can be rightly represented? Unfortunatly, if everyone bends the rules slightly, then there are no rules anymore. That's the problem that tackled RSS and Atom, and I feel like they have been successful at it. These standards are now supported by many internet feed readers. And you are reading the manual of one of them!

Since I don't have much time, I've appointed Owl to oversee, manage and fetch the latest content from your favorite sites. That's why this is the Owl Report!

Add a feed

Use "Add feed" to add an Atom or RSS feed. You will need to provide 3 information:

Let's add midnight.pub's feed. It's located at https://midnight.pub/feed.xml.

After pressing "Save", you should notice that the title of the page changes to "Midnight" and that there's a text below that says "building". That's really the Owl fetching the Midnight's feed for you. After a few seconds, you should see all the latest entries from the Midnight. You are now on a feed page.

Read and Manage a feed

If you've followed the manual, you should now be on the Midnight's feed page. This is where you can read all the latest from the Midnight (or any feed you've added).

To keep track of the entries you've read and the ones you haven't, check the color of the link. The Owl Report doesn't use any particular read/unread system. It's just plain old links.

Just above the list of entries, you should see a table that indicates the status. At times, the Owl won't be able to get a feed for various reasons. The reason will be indicated there. You can also refresh this specific feed by hitting the "refresh" button.

This place is also where you can Edit or Remove your feed. Speaking of editing: let's see how category works so we can add Midnight to a "Small Web" Category.

Organise with categories

Categories allow you to group your feeds. Head over to the categories page. Hit the "New category" link. Give it a name and press save. I'm going to create one called "Small Web", in which I'll add Midnight and a bunch of other.

Read your report

Okay, we've added a feed. We've also been able to read its entries. It's helpful, but how can I get a high level view of all my feeds and see which one has new entries? Here comes the report view! Click on the owl at the top left corner of the page. You will see a table. That's your report. Let's take a look.

The report table has one row per feed. It's grouped by categories and sorted by published time. It lets you see what the last entry for that feed is. The color of the link will let you know if you've read it before or not. You can also see when was the last time the Owl fetched the feed, and what the status of that fetch is. If you're interested to dive more in a specific feed to see more entries, just click on its name to go to its page.

The report table is an aggregated, bird's-eye view of your feeds

- Owl

Just above the report table is a "Refresh" button. This is the place to Refresh all your feeds at once. Go ahead and press it! You will see the report being created just in front of your eyes.

Importing and exporting your feeds

You can import existing OPML files by clicking on the "import" button. Symetrically, you can export your feeds by clicking the "export" button.

Customize the style

The Owl and myself are very happy about the colors of the site, but it's your report, isn't it? So feel free to customise it as much as you'd like! If you head over tho the settings page, you will see an area where you can input your CSS.


I hope you enjoy using the Owl Report! Feel free to send me an email for any question at m15o at posteo dot net.