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Yarrharr is a simple web-based feed reader intended for self-hosting.

Project Status

This is a personal passion project and learning tool.

  • The user interface, which is written in React, is prototype-quality, with many changes planned. “Prototype quality” means “is really ugly”, “changes frequently” and “has no tests”.
  • The backend, Django served via Twisted is in solid shape, though several functional improvements are planned. It has tests and does not change frequently.

Yarrharr isn’t ready for you to use it, and probably won't be any time soon. The 1.0 milestone tracks whether the project is ready for general use.


Yarrharr is a Python application, but also a modern web app, so its dependencies are numerous. The following steps work on Ubuntu 16.04; some modification may be necessary for Debian.

The conventions document describes some idioms used in the codebase.

Get the Source and Dependencies

Grab the build dependencies with:

$ sudo apt-get install brotli inkscape icoutils git python-scour optipng \
                       python-dev build-essential

Install install pip, then install Tox. (I actually recommend installing this in your home directory, but that's outside the scope of this document.)

Install nvm.

Check out the repository and the git submodules:

$ git checkout
$ cd yarrharr
$ git submodule update --init

Next install the frontend build tools:

$ nvm use
$ npm install

This will take a minute to produce a node_modules directory with gobs of JavaScript in it.

Running the Django Development Server

When doing development you must run separate server processes for the Django backend and the Webpack frontend.

Run the Django development server via Tox with:

$ make devserver

In another terminal, run the Webpack development server with:

$ make webpack

The Webpack dev server is running at It has hot module replacement configured, so the page will automatically update as you edit the source files in ./assets/.

If you make changes to the Django models you can generate migrations by running django-admin under Tox::

$ tox -e run -- django-admin makemigrations
$ git add yarrharr/migrations/*.py

If you wish to check feeds for updates:

$ make poll-feeds

By default, polling for feeds will only poll feeds that have been scheduled to be checked. To schedule an immediate check of all feeds:

$ make force-poll

Running the yarrharr Executable

To run the yarrharr Twisted executable in a development, stop the Django and Webpack dev servers and run:

$ make realserver

Yarrharr is running at

Releasing Yarrharr

  1. Bump the version number in
  2. Tag the release: git tag "v$(python3 --version)"
  3. Type nvm use to activate Node according to .nvmrc.
  4. Type make release to output a tarball to the dist directory.


Copyright © 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 Tom Most

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, see

Additional permission under GNU GPL version 3 section 7

If you modify this Program, or any covered work, by linking or combining it with OpenSSL (or a modified version of that library), containing parts covered by the terms of the OpenSSL License, the licensors of this Program grant you additional permission to convey the resulting work. Corresponding Source for a non-source form of such a combination shall include the source code for the parts of OpenSSL used as well as that of the covered work.

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