HOWTO Read feeds in Emacs via Email with Wanderlust, or Gnus, (or mutt, or Thunderbird, etc.)


If you are like me, you already have a system for reading email. You have a program that you know well. Maybe you have email filters, or maybe you dump it all in one place. Maybe you keep all your email in your inbox, or maybe you tidily file it away when you are done with it. You might read your email in mutt, or Wanderlust, or Mew, or Gnus, or even Thunderbird. Maybe you use IMAP to keep your mail synchronized across multiple systems.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use this system as a feed reader?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a feed reader that is not similar to an interface you already use, but a feed reader that is the same as an interface you already use?


See RssToEmailPlusWLScreenshot for a Wanderlust screenshot or RssToEmailThunderbirdHtml for a Thunderbird HTML mail screenshot.


Use rss2email.

The rest of this document tells you how.

The first step is to get rss2email. The best version I have found is here:

Install this in a place where it can be run regularly via cron or some other mechanism, and has an SMTP server available to it.

Choose an email address to send mail to, and an SMTP server to use. You probably want to send your feeds to a special email account or else filter them into another folder than your main email.

(Keep in mind that you may be sending a significant quantity of email through the SMTP server. Some email systems may have quotas on the amount of email sent per day which you may run up against, especially when testing the system. Namely: gmail, which limits SMTP to a couple hundred messages/day.)

(There used to be a lot of information here about configuring rss2email, but the version found here contains details instructions on installing and configuring.)

Reading with Wanderlust

A few tips & tricks for reading your news in the Wanderlust mail reader follow.


I use a filter folder to allow me to visit a folder which contains only unread or important news items. The folder looks like:


I can visit this folder and only see messages that I have not seen or messages that I have flagged as ‘important’.

Quickly visiting an entry

If I want to visit an entry on the web, perhaps because it did not contain the full text, I want a quick way to do so. I use the following code to allow me to hit C-c C-c in summary mode & quickly visit the entry:

    ;; need to add X-RSS-URL to this list
    (setq elmo-msgdb-extra-fields
    (defun egh:wl-summary-visit-rss-entry ()
      (let* ((msg (elmo-message-entity
                   wl-summary-buffer-elmo-folder wl-summary-buffer-current-msg))
             (url (elmo-message-entity-field msg 'x-rss-url)))
        (browse-url url)))
    (define-key wl-summary-mode-map "\C-c\C-c" 'egh:wl-summary-visit-rss-entry)