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A reader in the context of the indieweb is the portion/feature integrated into an indieweb site that provides a way to read content from other indieweb sites, possibly including posts from the current site as well.
Reasons to have a personal reader (a reader integrated into your site for you to use)
That's just the beginnings of what an indieweb reader can enable.
In datetime order of implementation (earliest first)
acegiak developed a Wordpress plugin, WhisperFollow, which aggregates RSS/Atom and Microformats2 data from the pages linked to in your blogroll and displays those updates in a private page in your wordpress blog. It currently defaults to RSS/Atom only attempting to read MF2 if the separate feed isn't found. It also allows updates to be reblogged and commented on.
Barnaby Walters developed Intertubes, an experimental indieweb-oriented flow-based programming + feed reader UI parsing microformats and shimmed twitter.com microformats.
Aaron Parecki developed a Microformats2 plugin for selfoss, and runs it on a subdomain of aaronparecki.com since at least 2014-02-13. The reader polls the subscriptions at a predefined interval looking for new h-entry posts on each person's home page.
Here's a screenshot of a following list:
Here's a screenshot of a reading window:
For more on this see: http://aaronparecki.com/notes/2014/02/13/3/microformats-selfoss-indieweb
See http://andysylvester.com/2014/03/01/howto-setting-up-the-selfoss-feed-reader-with-microformats-support/ for instructions on how to set up the Selfoss reader.
Jeena Notes Reader
Thoughts on challenges and how to develop an indie notes reader:
Shane Feed Me See More
I (Shane) have "plans" to build a personal reader, as a separate project, called Feed Me, See More. I made a static prototype in 2010-08 (with static snapshots of real data from then)
The plan is for Feed Me See More and Homesteading to be sister projects. Subscribe webactions (while browsing around the web) will get caught by Feed Me See More. Repost/Reply/Bookmark webactions will go from my Feed Me See More app to my Homesteading powered site. But both will be optional connections to the other. Either Feed Me See More or Homesteading could be run stand-alone without the other one. At least, that's the Big Plan™. (Not enough time/money/people.) -Shane (2013-08-10)
As Twitter, Tumblr, and other aggregators have demonstrated, keeping up with everything you've subscribed to is both challenging, and eventually unrewarding. Thus some amount of smart filtering/pruning/batching is likely to be an essential part of making indie readers scale beyond following only a handful of people. See also:
Whoever is working on the indie reader problem, please consider the problem of social media distraction (which seems to come more from the reading side than the writing side). See related: silo-quits.
One of the reasons I have not prioritized the reader for myself, because I have better luck reading social media by searching for hashtags (results piped to IRC) and having other people send me things :)- Aaronpk in IRC.
Open source examples
Many social content hosting silos have integrated reader like features, but only for "feeds" of accounts on the particular silo.
After implementing an indie reader, you may find that you want to search all the things you read. See: