I was desperately searching for a way to export my NetNewsWire entries, and I accidentally learned that it's all stored in an SQLite database

So this is going to be partially a PSA for those who were looking for something like this as well and just as confused and frustrated as I was. But a lot of this is a rant about my frustrations with NetNewsWire and this situation. In fact I was in the middle of typing this to ask for help before I thought to myself “Wait, can I export this SQLite data into another format that may be easier to read?” Turns out I could, but I’ll go more in depth later.

So I have a bunch of stuff in NetNewsWire. Most of it is stuff connected to my Newsblur account, but Newsblur has a limit on how many articles can be in a feed. NetNewsWire, on the other hand, does not. Obviously it doesn’t keep them around forever. I would like to have some way to easily export the articles in a feed so I could have backups and be able to see what was in my feed outside of NNW. I was thinking that this could be exported to a file, to Obsidian (I mean that would be a markdown file but still), to Raindrop.io or Pocket, or heck, even an email to myself with a bunch of links. I would be willing to split these up into batches.

This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while but I was reminded to ask about this today because I want to unsubscribe from a rather active Reddit feed. However, I want to back up all the urls before I decide to nuke it, in case I missed something I actually wanted to look at.

I’ve asked the dev if it was possible to export it before, and he said that it’s not built in but can be achieved through Apple Script. But I don’t know any Apple Script at all. And with me learning Java in school and also trying to automate something with Python (for personal use), I don’t know if I have the time or energy to spare hours trying to learn a whole new one.

I could just star the older articles, but I can’t even trust NNW with that because I’ve been experiencing a glitch where articles would just unstar themselves. This has massively added on to my frustration with NetNewsWire as a whole. I mean, it’s one thing to not have any way to export my items but I can’t even trust an essential feature to work.

I thought I found a way to do it about an hour ago minutes ago on the desktop app because I could select multiple entries, and it occurred to me that I could try sharing those entries through email using the Share Sheet. I selected a range of items, maybe about 20 or so, and it actually worked! It opened up Chrome and the gmail app, and those urls showed up in the body. I was really excited! Except that when I went back, suddenly the Mail option disappeared??? Even with only one item selected and the first email sent and Chrome closed! I mean, it did show up eventually, so I could try emailing them to myself as a batch with breaks in between.

I was having this issue for a while but I hesitated for so long to even post somewhere about it because I felt like it was too big of an ask and I feel really guilty about it.

However, I recently accidentally found out that apparently all of my feeds are saved in an SQL database in ~/Library/Containers/com.ranchero.NetNewsWire-Evergreen/Data/Library/Application Support/NetNewsWire/Accounts. I was able to access it with DB Browser for SQLite (which…I’m not exactly familiar with because I downloaded it when I was trying to backup my Safari history and see if I could actually go through it or something).

I kind of had to click around and it was pretty sluggish, but I was actually able to look at what items were actually in my feeds! This actually lifts a lot of weight off my shoulders because I feel so much better knowing that I can actually read whatever was in my RSS feeds no matter how long it’s been or hell, if something were to happen to my data.

On top of that, I wondered in the middle of typing this if DB Browser for SQLite had an option to export this data from SQLite to something like CSV so that it’s easier to read, and I found out you actually can! (along with JSON and SQL) I know this entire post was just me rambling, but I’m just really happy I found a way to back my data up and want to make sure others know about it in case they were as frustrated as I was.

Although the intent of this post has mostly changed, I’m still welcoming any advice or help y’all can give me because I’m not exactly an expert at programming or working with this stuff haha.

I’m still frustrated that there’s no obvious way to export your feed articles, and the glitch(?) with the share sheet and lack of other sharing options makes it all the more frustrating. That glitch with starring articles compounded my frustration with the app, which is a shame because I really want to like NetNewsWire. It was one of the first RSS readers I’ve tried out when I started experimenting with them back in early November. But until this issue is fixed, I’m going to use Reeder. I downloaded that about a week ago and I do actually really like it, so maybe it’ll become my main RSS reader. I hear a lot of folks use Reeder for reading RSS feeds while using a service like Newsblur, Feedbin, or Inoreader as a backend, and I guess that’s basically what I’ve been doing with NNW. We’ll see, I guess.

I’m sorry if this breaks any rules or is too meandering, haha.