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Django Yarr - Yet Another RSS Reader

A lightweight customisable RSS reader for Django.



  • Easy to install - simple requirements, just drops into your site
  • Import and export list of feeds using OPML
  • View all, by feed, just unread or saved items
  • List or expanded layout
  • Mark items as read or saved
  • Infinite scrolling, with keyboard support and automatic mark as read
  • Support for multiple users
  • Manage subscriptions through user views or admin site
  • No social nonsense

Version 0.4.5

  • See CHANGES for full changelog and roadmap
  • See UPGRADE for how to upgrade from earlier releases


These packages are required:

  • Django >= 1.3
  • feedparser >= 5.1.3
  • bleach >= 1.2.1

It is recommended that you use South to manage schema migrations, as future versions of Yarr will need changes to the database. This project will switch from South to Django's own migrations (introduced in 1.7) in release 0.5.0 (see the roadmap for more details).

There is early support for Django 1.7 in the branch django17.

You'll also need something to schedule feed updates - these instructions use cron.


  1. Install django-yarr (currently only on github):

    pip install -e git+

    Note: The master branch may sometimes contain minor changes made since the version was incremented. These changes will be listed in CHANGES. It will always be safe to use, but versions will be tagged if you only want to follow releases.

  2. Add Yarr to INSTALLED_APPS:


    Note: If you are using Django 1.4 or later, you will need to set USE_TZ = False, until support for Django 1.3 is dropped from Yarr. Unless you are using PostgreSQL, also set TIME_ZONE = 'UTC' to ease the migration later.

    You may also want to change some settings here (see Settings below)

  1. Include the URLconf in your project's

    url(r'^yarr/', include('yarr.urls')),
  2. Make sure your base.html template has the necessary blocks, or override Yarr's base, yarr/base.html (see Templates below). You will also want to create a link somewhere to yarr-home (or yarr.views.home) so users can access it.

  3. Add the models to the database using South:

    python migrate yarr

    If you don't have South, you will use python syncdb, and later regret your decision

  4. Optional: Import feeds for a user from an OPML file, load all items, and mark them as read:

    python import_opml /path/to/subscriptions.xml username
    python check_feeds --read

    Feeds can currently only be managed through the admin section - see CHANGES for full roadmap.

  5. Schedule the check_feeds management command. By default Yarr expects it to be run once an hour, but you can change the YARR_MINIMUM_INTERVAL setting to alter this. You could use one of these cron examples:

    # Once a day (at 8am)
    * 8 * * * /usr/bin/python /path/to/project/ check_feeds
    # Every 15 minutes (0, 15, 30 and 45)
    */15 * * * * /usr/bin/python /path/to/project/ check_feeds
    # Once an hour (at 10 past every hour), in a virtual environment
    10 * * * * /path/to/virtualenv/bin/python /path/to/project/ check_feeds


Add these settings to your file to override the defaults.

To manage the web interface:


Page to open at the Yarr root url

This setting will probably be removed in a future version.

Default: yarr-list_unread


The maximum number of entries to show on one page

Default: 25


The maximum number of entries to return when infinite scrolling with AJAX

Default: 5


If True, use the default fixed layout - control bar at the top, feed list on the left, and content to the right.

The control bar and will switch to position: fixed when scrolling down moves it off the page, the feed list will grow to take up the full available height, and a button will be added to the control bar to slide the feed list on or off to the left (changing the width of yarr_feed_list and the left margin of #yarr_content.

Default: True


If True, adds the bundled version of jQuery when required

Default: True

To control feed updates:


The default socket timeout, in seconds

Highly recommended that this is not set to None, which would block

Default: 30


The minimum interval for checking a feed, in minutes.

This should match the interval that the cron job runs at, to ensure all feeds are checked on time.

Default: 60


The maximum interval for checking a feed, in minutes - no feeds should go longer than this without a check.

Default: 24 * 60


The default frequency to check a feed, in minutes

Default: 24 * 60


The number of days to keep a read item which is no longer in the feed.

Set this to 0 to expire immediately, -1 to never expire.

If changing this from -1, you will probably want to add expiry dates to all relevant entries by forcing an update:

python check_feeds --force

Default: 1

The bleach settings can also be customised - see bleach docs for details:

Allowed HTML tags
Allowed HTML tag attributes
Allowed styles

Note that the default Yarr templates use STATIC_URL, so your TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS should include django.core.context_processors.static - it is there by default.


The Yarr templates extend yarr/base.html, which in turn extends base.html. To minimise the risk of interfering with your site templates, they use HTML4.

They will expect the following blocks:

  • js for inserting JavaScript
  • css for inserting CSS
  • title for inserting the title (plain text) - or {{ title }} instead
  • content for the body content

You will need to add these to your base.html template. Alternatively, if you already have the blocks but with different names, create yarr/base.html in your own templates folder and map them; for example:

{% block script %}
    {{ block.super }}
    {% block js %}{% endblock %}
{% endblock %}

Once you have mapped these blocks, the default settings and templates should work out of the box with most designs.

The content block in list_entries.html template contains three further blocks for you to override:

  • yarr_control for the control bar
  • yarr_feed_list for the feed list
  • yarr_content for the list of entries

Note: the url to the arrow sprite is hard-coded in styles.css for the default static url, /static/yarr/images/arrows.png. Override .yarr_control .yarr_nav a in your stylesheet if your static url is different.

Forms are given basic styling using the selector form.yarr_form; override the files in templates/yarr/include to display them in the same way you do elsewhere on your site.

Form success messages use the messages framework by default, so you should display the messages list somewhere in your template, or override the urls to add a success_url view argument to redirect to a custom page.

Yarr also uses the global javascript variables YARR and YARR_CONFIG.

Management Commands

Check feeds

Sees which feeds are due to be checked, and checks them for updates.


python check_feeds [--force] [--read] [--purge] [--url=<URL>]
  • --force forces all feeds to update (slow)
  • --read marks new items as read (useful when first importing feeds)
  • --purge purges all existing entries
  • --verbose displays information about feeds as they are being checked
  • --url=<URL> specifies the feed URL to update (must be in the database)

Specifying a feed URL will filter the feeds before any action is taken, so if used with purge, only that feed will be purged. If no feed URL is specified, all feeds will be processed.

Individual feeds can be given a custom checking frequency (default is 24 hours), so check_feeds needs to run at least as frequently as that; i.e. if you want a feed to be checked every 15 minutes, set your cron job to run every 15 minutes.

Although multiple check_feed calls can run at the same time without interfering with each other, if you are running the command manually you may want to temporarily disable your cron job to avoid checking feeds unnecessarily.

Import OPML

Imports feeds from an OPML file into the specified username.


python import_opml /path/to/subscriptions.xml username [--purge]
  • /path/to/subscriptions.xml should be the path to the OPML file
  • username is the username to associate the feeds with; the user must exist
  • --purge purges all existing feeds

Only tested with the OPML from a Google Reader takeaway, but should work with any OPML file where the feeds are specified using the attribute xmlUrl.

Clean Yarr

Primarily for use during upgrades - performs maintenance tasks to ensure the Yarr database is clean. Useful when upgrading (UPGRADE will tell you which option to use and when), and can be used to clean up if something breaks in an unexpected way.


python yarr_clean [--delete_read] [--update_cache]
  • --delete_read will delete all read entries which haven't been saved
  • --update_cache will update the cached feed unread and total counts


You can browse items by feed and/or unread/saved status. There are two display modes; expanded mode just lists the full items one after another, and list mode shows a list of titles which can be expanded to see the item.

Items will be marked as read once they are opened in list mode, or when they are scrolled to or selected in expanded mode. Once something is marked as read, it can expire. An item can either be read or saved, but not both.

Feeds can be managed on the Manage feeds page. If a feed had a problem, its status icon will be an orange warning, and if it is no longer available it will be a red error. To see the reason for a warning or error, click somewhere on the row. To edit the feed's settings, click on its title.

Shortcut keys

  • n or j: Next item
  • p or k: Previous item
  • v or ENTER: View original (in new window)


Contributions are welcome, preferably via pull request. Check the github issues and project roadmap to see what needs work.

When submitting UI changes, please aim to support the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer through progressive enhancement; ideally old browsers should still be able to access all functionality, even if the experience isn't quite as smooth.


Thanks to all contributors, who are listed in CHANGES.

Thanks to existing projects which have been used as references to avoid common pitfalls:

The icons are based on Entypo by Daniel Bruce,

The pirate pony started life on before putting on clipart from and


A lightweight customisable RSS reader for Django.




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