Setting up and Managing RSS Feeds in the Thunderbird E-mail Client

Setting up and Managing RSS Feeds in the Thunderbird E-mail Client


I love Mozilla Thunderbird. I love using it with IMAP which lets me synchronize with GMail. To make the experience complete, I also like to view my RSS feeds. Setting them up is shamefully easy. There's no excuse not to try it, so let's do it.

First, we need to set up an account so select Other Accounts from the File > New drop-down menu to initiate the Account Wizard. There are three choices. Accept the default for Blogs and Newsfeeds.

Figure 1: Follow the Wizard to set up your feedsFigure 1: Follow the Wizard to set up your feeds

Click Next. Keeping it simple for this article, go with the default title.

Figure 2: You can name this as you pleaseFigure 2: You can name this as you please

Click Finish and you're done. Next, you need to actually configure a feed. Simple. The wizard will have created an entry in the Thunderbird sidepane. Right click it and select Subscribe.

Figure 3: Subscribe will guide the feed setupFigure 3: Subscribe will guide the feed setup

Click in the Feed URL box and paste in the feed address. As you might expect, I chose FSM. It's only a matter of clicking on Add for Thunderbird to verify and import the FSM feed. It appears directly underneath Blogs and Newsfeeds.

Figure 4: FSM's newsfeed is goFigure 4: FSM's newsfeed is go

Just clicking on it will open the feed contents. If you prefer, middle clcik on the feed to open it in a separate tab so that you can still view your e-mail in the other tab.

Again, middle click any feed article and it will open in another tab to display contents.

Figure 5: Middle click to open the full article in ThunderbirdFigure 5: Middle click to open the full article in Thunderbird

To read the full article click on the web link at the top of the article and another tab opens the full article in Thunderbird. How so? Well, that will only work if you have installed a clever little addon called Thunderbrowse which allows you to browse the web from you feed and e-mails links without leaving Thunderbird. This, in conjunction with "smart javascript" enabled (in Thunderbrowse addon Preferences) means that you can also set up a YouTube RSS feed and view video too--and never have to open an external browser.

Figure 6: From RSS feed to browser in ThunderbirdFigure 6: From RSS feed to browser in Thunderbird

Being a desktop e-mail client worthy of the name, the feeds can be emailed, simply by right clicking on them and selecting Forward. A single feed will appear inline. Multiple feeds will be added as attachments.

If you want a RSS feed manager for Thunderbird with more features, install the Bamboo addon. Feature rich and well worth installing. I run it concurrently in a separate tab.

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Gary Richmond's picture

Biography

A retired but passionate user of free and open source for nearly ten years, novice Python programmer, Ubuntu user, musical wanabee when "playing" piano and guitar. When not torturing musical instruments, rumoured to be translating Vogon poetry into Swahili.