Kicking the tires of FeedDemon… and I REALLY like it!

Friday, August 5, 2005 1:17 PM
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The other day Spence pointed me to the latest FeedDemon beta from NewsGator (v1.6 beta 2) after reading one of my .  So far, I’m VERY impressed.  I’m quite happy with the performance… NewsGator Outlook Edition & RSSBandit were consuming 100MB+ and spiking my CPU close to 100% for extended times.  I haven't seen FeedDemon consume more than 45MB or spike the CPU at all… when it downloaded my feeds, i didn't even notice it.  (side note: Outlook is running much better now that I've removed NGOE).

I imported all my feeds from my NewsGator Online account, tweaked my folders (NGOE and RSSBandit allowed multiple nested folders, but FeedDemon only allowed one level deep… no big deal), and started to play.  The keyboard shortcuts are very nice… and FINALLY an app where you can find them all in one easy to use list!

FeedDemon has many of the same features I was looking for (and had) in NGOE and RSSBandit such as the ability to create your own XSLT’s for feed reading (took the CSS Heather did for my site UI recently and now all my subs are uniform), flagging (albet it NGOE blew them out of the water with the Outlook colored flags) and sync between two machines.

One very slick feature I have found (and already jumped on) is the news bin.  You can create a news bin and add posts to it.  I used to use Outlook’s colored flags to indicate if a post was of certain type (red for “must read” later, yellow for CMS, green for SharePoint, orange for code samples, etc) but you were limited to 6 colors.  I can have as many news bins as I want.  I’ve created one for all the old flags I had, plus MUST READ and MUST FOLLOWUP.  Then all you hve to do is right-click a post and point ti to the newsbin (or drag-drop).

Another feature I liked is the subscription manager.  For once an RSS app made it easy to deal with mass subscriptions… selecting multiple and dragging them into a new folder.  From there, you can also set the a retention schedule, feed download schedule, default XSLT for viewing feeds, and if you want to sync the folder with NewsGator Online (yes, I can still sync read state!)… all settings are global to a folder… all feeds inherit it!  And not just new feeds, existing ones too!

Last feature drop: watch lists.  Create a watch list that will find posts containing specific keywords (in the title AND/OR the post body), matching the case, and/or whole words, and/or match all keywords.  Good way to watch your subscriptions to see who’s talking about your posts!

Two wishes off the cuff:

  • NNTP subscriptions
  • CommentAPI support… let me post, read, and be notified when new comments are posted to existing comments (RSSBandit has the others beat in this area)

For now, FeedDemon is my RSS aggregator of choice… time will tell if it’s my holy grail (I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs when I have about a month's worth of content)… at least until Vista goes RTM and new aggregators leverage it’s data element features that have been widely published.

My heap of discarded RSS aggregators: NewsGator Outlook Edition (NGOE), Omea Reader, RSSBandit, SharpReader.

Next order of business… clean up subscriptions. I like the Scoble rules… if they haven't posted in a few months, if they don't syndicate the entire contents of the post (exception: news & bulletin sites like FoxNews/ESPN/CNET)… delete the feed. I wish there was a way with some of these aggregator feeds (like Community Server) to exclude certain blogs from the aggregate feed… oh well.

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