Announcing mastodon-homefeed-rss: your Mastodon home feed in your RSS reader

the Mastodon logo

tl;dr Want your Mastodon home feed in your RSS reader? I’ve cooked up just the thing.

I am enjoying Mastodon, the federated Twitter alternative, quite a bit. So far, my experience with it has been extremely pleasant, and reminiscent of the internet of the early 2000s, which was far more decentralized, and far more neighborly.

However! Speaking of the internet of the 2000s, I am one of those people who still misses Google Reader, and still uses an RSS reader. There are 154 feeds in my reader currently, including one for my Twitter home feed (provided by a third party), another for Facebook (ditto), and another for Instagram (ditto). Because this is the twenty first century, dammit, and I should not have to go gallivanting all around the goddam web to find out what’s going on! This is why RSS readers got invented, and why they still rock. Anyone who tells you RSS is dead simply stopped using it (or never did).

Alas, Mastodon has poor RSS support. Sure, you can get any user’s public posts as a feed and toss that (or, rather, one of those for every person you follow) into your reader, but this absolutely sucks for two reasons:

  1. Now you have to keep the Mastodon feeds in your RSS reader in-sync with whomever you’ve followed in Mastodon itself. This is a terrible chore.
  2. What’s worse, the links in your RSS reader will not take you to the posts as served up by your home Mastodon instance, where you can interact with them (stars, replies, etc.). Instead, the links go to the poster’s home instance, which means no interaction is possible if they’re not on the same instance as you.

So if you’re like me, what you want is your Mastodon home feed in your RSS reader. This gives you entries in your reader for every post from the people you follow on Mastodon, and the links take you to your home server, so that interactions are a click away.

Also if you’re like me (which is to say, a determined RSS fan and a coder as well) when you notice that Mastodon itself does not offer this, and you look around for something else that can make this happen and come up empty, you start coding. After all, Mastodon seems to have a very nice API

The script

So I whipped up a little Python script that I’m calling mastodon-homefeed-rss because the last thing it needs is a sexy name. You have to be a geeky sort to use it, because you’ll probably need a Linux-based web hosting account or something similar. But we are talking about Mastodon and RSS feeds here, so we are already in pretty geeky territory. Full instructions for use are at that link over on GitHub.

The script does exactly what I outlined above. It is a short script, perhaps even crude, but it has been doing the job for me for several days now, so I figured I’d make its existence known. And when it breaks, I will fix it, because I am now depending on it. Questions, comments, and pull requests are all welcomed. Happy feed-reading!