Andrew Connell

How do you blog (and read your blogs)?

Got this question yesterday and thought it was worth of a post. I use a customized version of .Text to host my blog. It’s based off the v0.95 source, with some modifications outlined here . For posting, I use BlogJet . Now, how do I read my subscriptions? Easy, I use NewsGator, there’s just no other option. I love being able to have it integrated within Outlook 2003 and have my feeds available offline. I like how my home desktop sync’s the subscriptions with NewsGator Online, and my work laptop pulls down the latest and greatest. But most importantly, is the integration in Outlook 2003 and using Outlook’s search folders.

I have all my feeds in a separate PST file. The feeds are organised by category. For example, I have a Development folder which contains folders for .NET, MCMS 2002, SharePoint, C#, etc. I also have a News folder containing CNet feeds, Wall Street Journal , and others. See this:


Utilizing Outlook 2003’s views, I have created a custom view that shows only the title of the feed, it’s date, all grouped by date as seen here when I look at my feed:


I then created a few search folders in Outlook as well as a new view that groups by folder (aka feed), then displays the post title and date. I have a search folder that grabs all unread posts (I use this most frequently) (actually I have two that do this… one includes only news & site subscription feeds, the other includes individuals… this way I can ignore all the “new article” posts by MDSN or CNET’s news bites), one that grabs all posts, sorted by date, and one that grabs all posts I’ve flagged (more on that in a second):


Now, the flagged folders. I can’t express how big this is. Being able to flag a post for later reading or future reference is invaluable. I have assigned the different flag colors different categories in Outlook by creating a custom toolbar and adding some text lables. Red & yellow are for very important posts to read (red = higher priority). Green means it’s a MCMS/SPS/WSS post I need to read (as that’s the technology I use the most). Blue are posts related to my blog… things I want to blog or posts that relate to what I’m doing with my blog customization. Orange is a code sample, and purple is just a enjoyment post (like PVR stuff).


Then I created a search folder that gets all read/unread posts that I’ve flagged, grouped by flag color, and sorted by date. Now I can see what’s important quickly!


» UPDATE 3/4 10:35a: Forgot to mention one thing that rocks about this setup with NewsGator: Get the MSN Toolbar and let it hook into Outlook. This way, you can search ALL posts you’ve downloaded… INVALUABLE!!!

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to delivering industry-leading on-demand video training to professional developers. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.