Headline Thumbnails

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With the release of version 2.0 multiFEED displays thumbnails on the front page if they are available in the feed. Some feeds explicitly include a link to a thumbnail using a special element in the XML file, and if present, multiFEED can display this image next to the headline. Unfortunately, most feeds don't specify thumbnails, so multiFEED has to look elsewhere for a suitable image. Many RSS and Atom feeds include an embedded version of the article text, often with an image at the top of the page. If this exists, multiFEED can convert this image to thumbnail size and use it on the front page.

Note that multiFEED will always give an explicit thumbnaiI precedence over converting embedded article images, even if the latter exists. If no explicit thumbnail is defined and the feed doesn't include embedded articles with a suitable image for conversion, then no thumbnail can be displayed with the headline.

Explicit thumbnails are only a couple of hundred pixels wide and are usually heavily compressed, so they tend to be just a few kilobytes in size. Thumbnails that are converted from embedded articles, however, start off much bigger, often several megabytes. Although they are stored internally by multiFEED in a reduced size, the full size original still has to be downloaded before conversion. This may not sound too bad, but if you have ten feeds configured which average twenty-five headlines every time you refresh, all of which have embedded images you want to use as thumbnails, you could easily be downloading three or four hundred megabytes every refresh cycle. With the default refresh interval of ten minutes you could blow through a two gigabyte monthly mobile data package in less than one hour. For this reason, multiFEED allows you to configure feeds to only use converted images for thumbnails if you are connected to WiFi. With this feature enabled, when you are connected to WiFi multiFEED will download and convert images from embedded articles, if they exist. If you disconnect from WiFi though, and revert to your mobile carrier's network, multiFEED will stop downloading the large embedded images, and headlines will stop displaying thumbnails.

Since explicit thumbnails are much smaller, you may wish to allow multiFEED to use them even on the mobile network, but still ignore embedded images unless connected via WiFi. To this end, multiFEED differentiates between the two types of thumbnails, giving explicit and converted thumbnails their own usage conditions in Settings. Either one can be individually set to be displayed always, on WiFi only, or never.

IMPORTANT: As of version 2.5.0 multiFEED can now cache downloaded thumbnails if you have an SD card installed so each image only needs to be downloaded once and can be reused each time the Front Page is refreshed. This can dramatically reduce data usage (and increase performance), so you may be able to fully enable thumbnails even when not connected to WiFi. Use your device's Resource Monitor app to determine if data usage is sufficiently reduced with thumbnail caching turned on to be able to fully enable thumbnails full-time without exceeding your data plan. If you don't have an SD card installed thumbnail caching is disabled. If you do have an SD card you can choose whether to use thumbnail caching or not.

Both explicit and converted embedded thumbnails can be displayed in one of two sizes, small or large. Large thumbnails are up to 320x180 pixels, whereas small ones are up to 192x108 pixels. A large thumbnail can take up to one third of the front page width, whereas a small thumbnail is limited to only about one quarter of the width. Note that there is only one thumbnail size setting for both explicit and converted thumbnails.

For most embedded articles, the most important image is the first one on the page, so multiFEED will use that one, if it exists, for conversion into a thumbnail. Usually this works well, but sometimes it can become confused if the embedded article has other unsuitable images ahead of the main one. Although not common, this may happen, for instance, if the feed inserts "share" links to popular social media services at the top of a page. In this case, the actual location of the best image to convert into a thumbnail cannot be guessed by multiFEED, and when this happens the best scenario is to completely disable thumbnail conversions for that feed. As for many other settings values, the global thumbnail settings can be overridden at the feed level if needed so you can disable thumbnail conversion for only the feeds that need it.