Read Your RSS Feeds with Communique

4 October, 2021

I’ve never really been one for desktop RSS readers. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never found one that I really enjoyed using. Instead, I’ve been happy to lean on web-based readers and to use Newsboat at the command line.

Recently, however, I was looking at what’s new in the elementary OS AppCenter and stumbled across Communique. It’s a relatively new desktop RSS reader, based on one called Feed Reader, that I thought looked interesting. So, I installed it and gave it a test drive.

Let’s take a quick look at Communique, shall we?

Getting Started

You can only install Communique using the elementary OS AppCenter. That’s pretty much a point-and-click affair.

To get going, you can add feeds from an online RSS reader that you already use — for example, from FreshRSS, TinyTiny RSS, Feedbin, or Nextcloud News. To do that, click the Menu icon in the top-right of the application window and select Change Account.

Linking Communique to a feed reader

You’ll be prompted for the login information for that reader. That creates a link between Communique and your feed reader. If you decide to change the account, that will break the link.

You can also add individual feeds or import an OPML file (containing feeds) exported from another reader. To do that, first load the Add Some Feeds window and select Local RSS. Then, click Add Feed in the bottom-left corner of the application window.

Adding an individual feed to Communique

When you add an individual feed, you can assign it to a folder containing similar feeds — for example, Motorsport. If the folder doesn’t exist, Communique creates it. More on this in a few moments.

Reading Feeds

When you start Communique, it automatically refreshes your list of feeds. That can take a little while, depending on how many feeds you have.

Communique with feeds loaded

Once that’s done, you can start reading. Click a publication in the pane on the left to view the latest articles from it. Or scroll through the centre pane to find an article to read.

Reading an article in Communique

Other Features

If you read an article that you think is interesting, you can share it by clicking the Export or share this article button in the top-right part of the toolbar.

Exporting or sharing an article in Communique

Communique enables you to email those articles using your default email client. Or, you can open the article in a web browser.

If you use a read-it-later application like wallabag, Pocket, or Instapaper you can save articles to your account by clicking the Export or share this article button. To do that, you’ll need to add your account under Communique’s Preferences.

Linking Communique with a read-it-later service

Once you do that, the link to your read-it-later account is added under the Export or share this article button.

Read-it-later link in the sharing/export menu in Communique

An Annoying Quirk

A few paragraphs back, I mentioned that you can create a folder for similar feeds when you add an individual one. There doesn’t, however, seem to be a way to do that from within the application’s left pane (which lists all of your feeds) — for example, to add my feeds around international affairs to a category called Politics. That means you can create folders for feeds that you might have imported or ones you’ve added which aren’t grouped together.

Instead, you get a list that’s sorted by the name of each feed. I’m not sure if I’m missing something, or if being able to add folders in this way is a feature that Communique is missing.

Final Thoughts

Communique is a clean application that’s fairly easy to use. As such, it’s a more-than-serviceable RSS reader.

That said, I can’t say Communique has convinced me to switch to desktop RSS reader. For now, I’m sticking with Newsboat and Nextcloud News.

Scott Nesbitt