Official Google Reader Blog - News, Tips and Tricks from the Reader team

Subscribing to feeds via little Google buttons

11/28/2005 10:20:00 AM
Posted by Chris Wetherell, Software Engineer

The web is full of little buttons these days. Little buttons pop up everywhere to email an article, watch a video, play a song, post to your blog, or bookmark a site. They can claim affiliation to various ideas, communities, or ideologies. Browsing the web these days with an eye towards looking at these tiny, active buttons is almost zoological in nature.

See!→ Add to Google

In recent days we added a little button to the button zoo. Google is now offering a little "Add to Google" button which you can put on your site, blog, or corner of the web that can make it easy for people to subscribe to your feed. Here's some instructions for adding the button to your site.

If you'd prefer more direct links from your browser (and if you are a bit brave) you can try dragging any of the following bookmarklets to your links toolbar. Now here's something funny: some feedreaders strip out potentially malicious scripting as can exist in bookmarklets. Google Reader is one, so if you're reading this post from there, you'll have to visit our blog to get 'em. After adding them, you can click them to preview the site you're visiting in Reader and easily subscribe to it. We can't issue a warranty on this approach 'cause we might change something since Reader isn't yet 2 months old. (A toddler!)

  • → Subscribe - Views the first available feed in Google Reader.
  • → Show all feeds - Lists all feeds and links them to Google Reader. Sadly this link won't work in IE6 with SP2 due to recent changes Microsoft has been making to provide a more secure browser. If you're using Internet Explorer then we recommend skipping this one.

We have our eye on further solutions for one-click subscriptions and like many others we're looking into ways we can help but for now we hope a little button makes for happier subscribing and reading.

May we get you some chips and a soda too?

11/09/2005 06:18:00 PM
Posted by Jason Shellen, Product Manager

It turns out some folks, like Reader-fan Moebius, are enjoying Reader in new ways:

I don't like to use my laptop on my lap, because of heat and other reasons, and I don't like to be pushing the 'J' key very often, so I downloaded "JoyToKey" to use my gamepad for browsing Google Reader. With JoyToKey I mapped "J" to down and "K" to up, "V" to right, and "Ctrl-W" to left. The other joystick was mapped to other normal browser commands. So, I can read Google News very comfortably sitted on my sofa.

Watch out for gamepad thumb and that other RSS.

Warning: Geekery ahead!

11/03/2005 12:39:00 PM
Posted by Mihai Parparita, Software Engineer

You may have noticed that some Greasemonkey scripts broke with the recent release (for example, the excellent Google Reader Auto-Read). First, a bit of background. Reader uses JavaScript. A lot of it. So much that it would take a while to download even on a broadband connection. What we (and other Google products) do is to compress it before sending it to the user. So this line of code:



Only people care about descriptive names like pageDown; to a computer, ma is just as good. It turns out that these compressed names will change from release to release, as we tweak the code (the more often a name is used, the shorter the compressed name that's chosen for it). Greasemonkey scripts that rely on these compressed names (like the aforementioned one) will therefore break.

So far the situation sounds pretty dire. How can more stable scripts be written? The answer turns out be quite simple. Reader has UI controls for most things that you'd want to do from a script. For example, if you want to automatically move the queue down, you can think of that as being equivalent to the user clicking the "Down" button repeatedly. Those buttons have IDs that we promise won't change without a good reason. Through JavaScript, you can simulate user clicks. Therefore, if your Greasemonkey scripts relies on them, you'll be all set. To give an example, I've written a modified version of the auto-read script that uses this method. It has code like the following (the simulateClick function is included in the script):


I hope this helps other Greasemonkey scripts authors that are trying to tweak Reader (and other sites too).

P.S. We just pushed a new Reader release. No new features, but we have fixed a few bugs with unsubscribing and keeping things unread.