Sage on OS X

I’ve had a few rasied eyebrows about the fact that I illustrated the Firefox icon, and I’m ‘not using the damn thing’. I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried to like Firefox, but it still jars against me the way its so un-native. It looks great (thanks to Kevin and Stephen), but doesn’t act or feel like an OS X app. The grey opaque menus, little behavioural quirks, lack of interaction with the services menu, non-native widgets, no spell checking. It does allow you multiple undos in textareas though, which is a plus. Maybe the Mac Aquafication release will solve some of these issues (whenever that comes out…).

However, something that’s attracted me back to using Firefox in the last few weeks has been the Sage RSS Reader extension. With a little tweaking to make it look more like an OSX’y, I now have what feels like my ideal Browser/RSS Reader combination:

Sage RSS Reader extension, OS Xified

I love the idea of combining an RSS Reader with a browser, it makes sense to me (unlike, say, bundling a browser with an email client). I’d tried other solutions, such as Feed on Feeds, but stopped using it fairly quickly. It didn’t work well as a sidebar bookmark, and would often time out on the second feed. This is where Sage comes in, an RSS Reader thats designed to be used in the sidebar.

Feeds seem display to fast enough, and the interface even gives you the option to choose your own CSS for the feeds display, via the settings options.

Adding feeds is very easy, find a site you like, and Sage’s autodiscovery will list all the available feeds in a drop-down sheet. Future versions of Sage plan to integrate with the recent Live Bookmarks feature. The other advantage is that if you use something like the FTP Bookmarks Sync extension, its easy to keep your list of feeds synchronised across machines, as all your feed URLs are stored in your bookmarks.

One small suggestion I have is to remove the icon for ‘no updated feed’. Normally Sage would display an icon next to every feed, but removing this one will make it much clearer what is and isn’t updated, and which is returning errors. This is what I’ve done on my copy and you can see this in the screenshot above.

So far, Sage is the only thing that’s tempting me away from my favourite Omniweb 5 and NewsFire combination (which is just superb). I’m still not sure if it will replace it entirely, but at the end of the day, I just enjoy playing and fiddling.

How to install the Hicksdesign styled Sage

  1. Download the replacement Sage files
  2. Quit Firefox if it’s running
  3. Locate your Firefox profile folder: UserName >Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxx/chrome/ folder.
  4. Copy and paste the contents of ‘Add to userChrome.css’ to the userChrome.css file. If you’re using my mods for the toolbar icons, you must paste the sage css code somewhere after that.
  5. Copy the ‘sage’ folder to the chrome directory.
  6. Restart Firefox. This will have applied all the mods, apart from the display of articles. Under Sage’s ‘Options’, choose ‘settings’, and then where it says ‘Custom Style Sheet’, click browse, and select the sage.css file in your profile folder. UserName >Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxx/chrome/sage/sage.css

You’re done!

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

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