Hacker News is one of my favorite sites to catch up on technology and startup news, but navigating the minimalistic site can sometimes be a little ahem tedious.
No, I get it, simple is good.
But the all text interface can be taxing on the eyes when there are tons of links to scroll through.
If you’re hankering for a better way to read the posts on Hacker News (especially on an IPhone or other mobile device), here’s a roundup of 21 better ways to read Hacker News without the eyestrain.
- Way #1 – hckr news
- Way #2 – Hacker Newsletter
- Way #3 – Hacker Bits Magazine
- Way #4 – Hacker News Daily
- Way #5 – Hacker Web
- Way #6 – Full Hacker News
- Way #7 – Hacker News from premii
- Way #8 – hack.ernews.info
- Way #9 – Hacker News Digest
- Way #10 – TiledHN
- Way #11 – Twitter bots
- Way #12 – hnapp
- Way #13 – hackerbra.in
- Way #14 – Hacker News Confidence
- Way #15 – HNWatcher
- Way #16 – HNPaper
- Way #17 – serializer.io
- Way #18 – Hacker News for Mobile
- Way #19 – Hacker News Mobile
- Way #20 – hnrss
- Way #21 – Hacker News Rankings
- Way #22 – Hackernews by e-mail
- It’s your turn!
Way #1 – hckr news
What does it do? hckr news is a simple interface great for finding the top stories of the day and filters can be set to retrieve the top 10, top 20 and top 50% of ranked articles.
The clean interface reads equally well on desktop computers and mobile devices, and it’s a great way to check in on the top stories of the day when you are on the go.
Good for daily and weekly readers of Hacker News!
Why use hckr news? If you’re after a clean, no frills layout, then hckr news is for you. It also happens to be one of my favorites.
Anything else? Wayne Larsen, the creator of the site, has also added browser extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers. These extensions give the user the ability to highlight and identify new comments and to collapse threads.
Bonus? You can also skin the hckr news UI using Stylish.
Way #2 – Hacker Newsletter
What does it do? Hacker Newsletter is a fantastic weekly newsletter of the best Hacker News articles delivered to your Inbox.
Each issue is broken up into 9 categories:
- Show HN
The newsletter provides a link to the original article as well as the comments on Hacker News.
Why subscribe to Hacker Newsletter? If you want your Hacker News fix once a week, seeing this round-up every Friday is a great way to enjoy the best of Hacker News. As of February 2016, over 35K subscribers have signed up.
Anything else? Kale Davis, the curator of the newsletter, also has an intriguing newsletter called Wayback Letter. Each newsletter issue looks back one month, 1 year, 2 years through 5 years for Hacker News gems that you might have missed. Check it out!
Way #3 – Hacker Bits Magazine
What does it do? Hacker Bits Magazine is the monthly magazine that gives you the hottest technology and startup stories straight from Hacker News.
The magazine selects from the top voted stories for you and publish them in an easy-to-read email format.
Why subscribe to Hacker Bits? If you prefer to have the top articles delivered to your Inbox, click on the link to get your free digital subscription.
Anything else? Maureen and Ray (that’s me!), the creators of Hacker Bits, also offer exclusive content to their subscribers. Check it out at hackerbits.com.
Way #4 – Hacker News Daily
What does it do? Every day at midnight, Hacker News Daily rounds up the top 10 highest-rated articles on Hacker News.
Articles that appeared on a previous day are intentionally excluded so that you’re not revisiting the same top-ranked articles day after day.
In addition to the clean web UI, a daily email subscription as well as an RSS feed are available.
Why use Hacker News Daily? As of February 2016, with over 3K RSS subscribers, hundreds of email subscribers and a ton of web traffic, go check it out. It’s great for viewing on a desktop, laptop or tablet.
Way #5 – Hacker Web
What does it do? HackerWeb is a great minimalistic web app that mirrors the Hacker News front page.
But here’s the kicker:
It looks absolutely gorgeous and is super responsive on a mobile device!
Why use Hacker Web? If you primarily view Hacker News on a small screen, look no further than HackerWeb. The rendering of comments (threads are collapsed!) is easily the best way to consume long comment threads on a mobile device.
Anything else? Lim Chee Aun, the creator behind HackerWeb, obviously optimized HackerWeb for mobile devices and it shows!
If you’re interested in how the app was built, make sure to check out these Hacker News threads:
Way #6 – Full Hacker News
What does it do? Full Hacker News is a web app that periodically takes a look at the front page of Hacker News and pulls all 30 articles into a single page.
It gets better…
The first part of the single page consists of the 30 article titles hyperlinked to the full article text. The second part of the single page contains the full article text. So everything is on 1 page!
Why use Full Hacker News? If you’re pressed for time, at the bottom of screen are 3 buttons, Index, Prev and Next.
- Index takes you back to the article index.
- Prev takes you to the previous article.
- Next takes you to the next article.
So you can literally fly through the front page of Hacker News without having to click on each article link.
Anything else? Maurice Svay, the author of Full Hacker News, created this single page view of Hacker News for offline viewing.
Just load the page on your phone or laptop and you can read the whole front page of Hacker News offline!
Way #7 – Hacker News from premii
What does it do? Hacker News from premii is a mature, highly-configurable web app for Hacker News. In fact, the screenshot above uses the Night Theme. 🙂
Unlike many other Hacker News web apps…
premii pulls both the article contents and the comments into its sleek UI. You can view the articles from the Hacker News front page, newest, today’s best and many more!
Why use Hacker News from premii? Tired of the UI on Y Combinator? Looking for a sleek, configurable yet consistent app for consuming Hacker News? This is the one that all-around improves the Hacker News UI!
You might be wondering if it works on mobile devices…
It’s a resounding yes! You’ll get a very similar sleek, consistent UI for mobile devices.
Anything else? Dharmesh Patel, the creator of this app, also offers iOS, Android and Win10 and Mac native apps.
Way #8 – hack.ernews.info
What does it do? hack.ernews.info is a polished web app that mirrors the front page of Hacker News. You’ll get the upvote count in orange, the article’s rank on the front page and comments collapsed underneath the article title.
Why use hack.ernews.info? The biggest differentiator for hack.ernews.info is the ability to mark an article as done.
By clicking the check mark, the article is taken off the list so that you’re only left with unread articles. Here’s a screenshot of an article being marked done and sliding off the screen:
Also, it’s super responsive on a mobile device!
Anything else? Antonis Karamitros, the author of the web app, also offers the ability to reset the articles you’ve marked as done so that they show up in the list of articles again.
Way #9 – Hacker News Digest
What does it do? Hacker News Digest is a web app that mirrors the front page of Hacker News. It’s a slightly less minimalistic, but still super responsive Hacker News interpretation.
It pulls the first image and a few lines from the original article and displays this in a beautiful list format.
The layout is reminiscent of Google News.
Why use Hacker News Digest? If you like seeing a little blurb and an image from the original article, look no further than Hacker News Digest!
It works equally well on bigger screens or a smaller mobile screen.
Anything else? Poly Miao, the author of Hacker News Digest, also provides the ability to sort the articles by rank, score, comments and submit time. In addition, the comments link for each article leverages collapsible comments from Hacker Web.
Way #10 – TiledHN
What does it do? TiledHN is a gorgeous web app that displays one tile per Hacker News article.
You’ll also get on the tile:
- Link to the original article.
- How long ago it was submitted.
- Number of upvotes.
- Number of comments.
- Link to the Hacker News comments.
- Link to the submitter’s profile.
Why use TiledHN? If you like tiles rather than lists, this is the app for you! The tiles are beautifully rendered and show up just as well on a desktop or mobile device.
The tiles remind me of the Windows Phone screen.
Anything else? Prakhar Bhandari, the creator of TiledHN, also provides filters for new articles, show HN, ask HN and jobs.
Way #11 – Twitter bots
What does it do? Twitter bots tweet Hacker News stories that reach a certain number of upvotes.
I came across 8 of these bots. Keep in mind, they don’t all have the same owner:
Why use these Twitter bots? If you’re a fan of Twitter and you only want Hacker News stories that reach a certain number of upvotes, this is a great way to catch stories.
Way #12 – hnapp
What does it do? hnapp is an advanced search engine for Hacker News.
The best part is…
You can then save the search query as an RSS or JSON feed!
Why use hnapp? You can stay up-to-date on a myriad of searches:
- Show only a particular submitter
- Show submissions from a specific host
- Show certain story types
- Show stories with at least X number of upvotes or comments
Once you have your search constructed, just add the feed to your favorite feed reader and never miss a submission about your favorite technology, product or submitter!
Anything else? Nikita Gazarov, the author of hnapp, added other fun capabilities that allow you to put together search criteria using boolean operators.
Way #13 – hackerbra.in
What does it do? Putting aside the name for a bit, hackerbra.in is a minimalist web app for the front page, ask and best of Hacker News.
Articles link to original article and comments link to the Hacker News pages. Best viewed on a desktop.
Why use hackerbra.in? The neatest thing about hackerbra.in is the capability to quickly see the top comment.
Underneath every article (how supportive!) title is a link aptly named top. Clicking on it shows the top comment. Nice!
Clicking on the number next to top shows the rest of the comments.
Anything else? Adrian Waj, the creator of hackerbra.in, also offers the capability to look back on Hacker News 11 hours ago, 3 days, 4 days, 6 days … all the way back to 6 years!
Way #14 – Hacker News Confidence
What does it do? Hacker News Confidence is a text-heavy web app with a twist…
Stories are scored according to highest upvote-to-comment ratio.
In other words, upvotes are considered positive signals and comments are negative. The basic idea is the best stories have a higher ratio whereas controversial stories have more comments.
Why use Hacker News Confidence? If you’re looking for a minimalistic web app that gives more weight to stories with upvotes and penalizes those with comments, make sure to give this one a shot!
It performs well on desktop and mobile devices.
Anything else? Cedric (Eli James) Chin, creator of Hacker News Confidence, explains the formula for scoring each story using a confidence interval (which I assume is where the name of his site comes from). Check out the site for more details.
Way #15 – HNWatcher
What does it do? HNWatcher tracks keywords, users and more for Hacker News submissions and/or comments.
You can then configure it to notify you via email ASAP, daily, weekly or monthly.
Why use HNWatcher? If you’re looking to track a particular user’s submissions, certain topics or just want to know when someone submits your blog or website, this is perfect for you!
Anything else? Julien Fortin, Guillaume J. Charmes and Sylvain Kalache are the founders of HNWatcher. They also offer the ability to generate a graph of the mentions as well as an RSS feed from your search.
Way #16 – HNPaper
What does it do? HNPaper is a lightning-fast search engine for Hacker News.
Type in your search term, and in a split second, you get your results with the most recent stories first.
You’ll also get a graph plotting how frequently the term occurred each month over the past 6+ years.
Why use HNPaper? If you’re looking to spot trends in certain terms, this is great way to visualize and browse Hacker News stories.
The interface is snappy and you can even sort your results by popularity (rather than by time). Search can also be limited to Show HN, Ask HN or Jobs.
Anything else? Régis Gaidot, the author of HNPaper, also provides some interesting statistics about the number of submissions and even breaks this down by contributor.
Way #17 – serializer.io
What does it do? serializer.io is a web app that aggregates sites like Hacker News, Reddit, ProductHunt, Lobste.rs, Slashdot and many others into one single list.
You’re probably thinking…
That would be a giant list! Fortunately, you can configure the sites to pull stories from.
Why use serializer.io? If you frequently browse more than 2 or 3 of the dozen sites supported by serializer.io, make sure to checkout serializer.io.
The web app is snappy, configurable and looks great on a bigger screen or mobile device.
Anything else? Charlie Egan, the creator of serializer.io, also provides the ability to mark articles as read and to open articles in a new tab. Nice!
Way #18 – Hacker News for Mobile
What does it do? Hacker News for Mobile is a super minimalist, no-frills web app that mirrors the front page of Hacker News.
With its lightweight design, it should come as no surprise that it loads fast and works great on a mobile device!
Why use Hacker News for Mobile? If all you want are links to the 30 front page articles and links to their corresponding comments, this is about as minimalist as you can get.
You won’t see the number of points, number of comments, the submitter, the domain or any links to Show HN, Ask HN, etc.
Just links to the article and comments. 🙂
Anything else? Nope. Minimalism at its best! mheguevara is the author of Hacker News for Mobile.
Way #19 – Hacker News Mobile
What does it do? Hacker News Mobile is a web app that displays the top 50 stories from the front page of Hacker News.
It’s fast-loading and perfect on a mobile device. For each story, you’ll get:
- Submission time
- Link to the original article
- Beautifully rendered, collapsible comments
Why use Hacker News Mobile? If you’re looking for a fast web app for the front page that renders collapsible comments, check out Hacker News Mobile. Also, unlike just about every other app, there’s no orange anywhere!
Way #20 – hnrss
What does it do? hnrss stands for Hacker News RSS feeds. The page provides a super useful lists of real-time RSS feeds that slice and dice the stories on Hacker News.
You’ll have a bunch of options:
- Firehose – You get every new story and comment. Yikes!
- Points/Activity – You get stories that have a minimum number of upvotes or comments.
- Searches – You get stories that match your search term.
- And many more!
Why use hnrss? If you like reading your news and stories in your RSS reader, these feeds are fantastic! Many of them are configurable through URL query parameters.
Anything else? Eric Davis, the creator of hnrss, provides a highly-configurable search feed. Not only can you search for a specific keyword anywhere in the story title, you can look for the keyword in the URL, comments and everything supported by the HN Search.
Way #21 – Hacker News Rankings
What does it do? Hacker News Rankings plots the ranking of stories on the front page of Hacker News over the last few hours.
It’s a gorgeous web app, and pretty snappy, too!
Why use Hacker News Rankings? Being a data geek myself, this is the perfect data-driven approach to selecting articles I may have missed based on their position on the front page over time.
You can compare the trajectory of articles, and of course you can also navigate to the article and comments through a list right below the plot.
Anything else? Marc Neuwirth, the author of Hacker News Rankings, also provides a beautiful bubble chart visualization of today’s stories grouped by domain.
Way #22 – Hackernews by e-mail
What does it do? Hackernews by e-mail is an email service that delivers to your inbox a daily digest of the top posts on Hacker News.
It’s a beautiful example of “Write programs that do one thing and do it well.”
The email digest can be customized to deliver stories that meet the minimum number of points e.g. 25, 50, 100, etc.
Why use Hackernews by e-mail? To put this simply, I use it myself for Hacker Bits. It’s a no-fluff service that delivers exactly what it promises and the author is super-responsive to feedback.
Here’s the 25pts. email digest:
It’s your turn!
What did I leave out? Is there anything you think I’ve missed? I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to read Hacker News.
Leave a comment or shoot me an email about your ways to improve the Hacker News UI.
Make sure to pick-up your free comparison cheat sheet for all 21 better ways to read Hacker News when you subscribe for free to Hacker Bits Magazine.