How to: Set up one-click feed subscription in Firefox 2.0

Walt Crawford noted in a comment at

When I upgraded to FF2, it struck me as trivial to configure it so that a click on the new location-bar orange goodie brings up the Bloglines subscription page.

I felt the same way, but Walt and I are both fairly computer-savvy. Many users (and libraryfolk) don’t have this advantage. Hope Leman wrote:

I use both browsers but don’t know how to use the RSS features and need help. And I am deeply into RSS–imagine how puzzled are the millions of people who don’t know diddly about RSS.

Hope’s not alone, either. Over on Randy Morin’s RSS Blog, a commenter calling himself “Bull” writes:

What a pity that IE7 and FF2.0 developpers do not explain how to make RSS readers compatible with one click subscriptions. I am still looking for any documentation on this topic…

So this post will try to address some of these concerns.

How to configure one-click feed subscription in Firefox 2.0

In Firefox, click on the Tools menu, then Options

In the Options window, click on Feeds, select the radio button for Subscribe to the feed using:, select BlogLines, Google Reader, or My Yahoo (I chose BlogLines), and click the OK button.

How to USE the one-click feed subscription

As an example, we’ll visit the Librarian in Black. Notice that in the address bar next her site’s URL is the square, orange Feed icon.

All we have to do is click this icon, and I’m at a BlogLines subscription page for the feed at Librarian in Black.

Easy and convenient. 🙂

How to add support for another web-based aggregator in FireFox 2.0

Bull’s concern was on how to make aggregators compliant with one-click subscription. It seems that a Firefox extension might need to be built for each in order to make this work properly:

This can also be done programmatically by an extension, which is done by setting the value of the browser.feeds.handlers.application option to the pathname of the application to use for reading feeds.

Got that? Great.

Much more here on how to add support for an aggregator in Firefox 2.0.

So it looks like providers (or savvy users) of online feed services need to build and offer extensions for Firefox. Here’s hoping they all do it soon.

On behalf of Hope Leman, a huge fan of R-mail, a note to Randy Morin: You gotta’ build a Firefox extension that users can quickly and easily install to make these changes to make one-click subscription via R-mail a convenient reality. It would make Hope’s day. Please?

4 thoughts on “How to: Set up one-click feed subscription in Firefox 2.0

  1. Good explanation. I don’t consider myself particularly Firefox-savvy, but I do know that Tools/Options is usually a good place to do anything interesting…on many applications. Somehow, I remember it as being even easier than that, but maybe not.

    On the other hand, your Tools menu is longer than the average bear’s, if the average bear isn’t particularly FF-savvy: Mine, for example, only has eight choices, with Options… at the bottom.

  2. Hi Walt!

    It is true that my tools menu is a bit on the long side. I love Firefox, and have a great time playing with new extensions.

    Perhaps in a future post I’ll join the hundreds of bloggers who have posted their “Essential Firefox Extensions” list. 🙂

    Of course, I can’t use Firefox at MPOW (forbidden by the IS department), so I’m trying to work out how to make IE7 do some of the tricks at work that Firefox does for me at home. (This assumes that MPOW will eventually adopt IE7. I know we’re going to be blocking its install as of 11/1/2006.)

    Stay tuned. I’ll post a “how-to” on “one-click” subscriptions in IE7 to BlogLines later today.

    Always great to hear from you, Walt.



  3. I’ve just done a short post linking to this one as a first-rate visual instruction.

    OK, the MPOW bit is strange but not surprising. MPOW, on the other hand, advises us to use FF, especially if we have admin privileges on our computers, and also blocks the IE7 install (for good reasons: It breaks some key applications).

    (My post refers to you as “the library David Rothman.” Hope you don’t mind.)

  4. Gosh- thanks, Walt! I’m delighted you thought it was worth posting about!

    I dunno’ about “library David Rothman,” though. I don’t really mind, but the e-book/teleread David Rothman is pretty well-known among libraryfolk.

    I’ve actually been toying with the idea of a “David Rothman disambiguation page” for this reason. 🙂