A few months ago when I *finally* got into blogs, RSS feeds, and RSS aggregators, I started to come to a realization… There really isn’t an information center-like client out there that really floats my boat. I use newsgroups heavily in my development tasks and fact finding and answering stumping questions. I also love to read some of the RSS feeds out there for .NET developers and other tech sources. Right now I’m using Microsoft’s Outlook 2003 for email, a prerelease of FeedDemon for RSS aggregation/subscription, w.bloggar to post blogs to my person blog (in fact I’m using it now), and a combination of Microsoft’s Outlook Express to subscribe and post messages to newsgroups and Google’s newgroup site to search through old posts.
What’s common between all these? TONS! Each deals with collections of information elements. An element can be anything from an RSS post, blog, blog feedback, email, email replies and forwards, newsgroup posting, and newsgroup reply to name a few. Each element has common attributes: author, recipient (group, blog, individual, etc), date sent, subject, message content. Logically, all these pieces could be aggregated into one client.
All of the clients I mentioned above come close to fulfilling my desires. Oulook 2003 is by far my favorite email client, w.bloggar is great for posting to blogs, FeedDemon is great for reading blogs/RSS feeds, and Google is the best place to search through newsgroup archives. What if someone (*wink* *wink*) came up with a desktop client that sucked in information from all these sources (POP, NNTP, RSS) and provided a very rich viewing and aggregation environment.
I’ve already started thinking about how to implement something like this. Funny, I was about to put this post on my blog earlier this week and got wrapped up in work. Then, I stumble across a Microsoft research product by the Socal Computing group called Wallop . It is essentially doing a TON of what I’m thinking of doing. This just validates that I’m not the only one out there.
I think I may start jotting down some features in my spare time (read: when laptops can’t be on on takeoff’s & landing’s). I’m dedicated to my Family Portal project until it’s finished, but this would be a fun followup. Now… to sell it or make open source? Hmm… I could sell this one…