Thoughts on FeedDemon…

Sunday, August 7, 2005 7:59 AM
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The other day I posted about my initial experiences with FeedDemon.  It’s only been about 48hrs since I started using it and I’ve already decided it’s my new aggregator… flat out blows everything else I’ve tried out of the water.  In the initial post, I mentioned a few things that I really liked such as:

  • Nice 2–machine sync using NewsGator online as the hub
  • Watch lists
  • News bins
  • Customizable reading pane rendering (via XSLT’s)
  • Subscription manager (why does every one else seem to forget this!)
  • Nice memory useage/management

The main reason I started looking elsewhere from NGOE was because of the memory & CPU consumption (and experienced the same issues with RSSBandit).  Last night Angus and I swapped OPML’s.  At first, I dumped everything into a single unsync’d folder so I could wade through it and move things into my existing folder structure but that initial load promped FeedDemon to warn me that sticking 600+ feeds (yes, Angus has a plethora of subscriptions) into a single folder is a bad idea.  Sure enough it was… FeedDemon doesn’t like massive folders.  When I tried to open the Subscription Manager, FD seemingly hung.  I let it run it’s course… but noticed while watching the task manager, it was only consuming 50% of my CPU and ~45MB of memory!  Granted, it took about 10 minutes to get the subscription manager opened and then delete that folder, but it worked!  <_then I editted Angus’ OPML in NotePad2 and added some further categorization_>  Anyway, very impressed with the memory & CPU consumption.

WIth all these great things being said about FeedDemon, I do have some wishes for VNext.  Maybe Nick will add a plugin architecture?

  • NNTP support – Newsgroups are more conversational where blogs are more publishing in nature, but blog posts frequently turn into conversations via comments.  I still think merging the two is a nice option (congrats to RSSBandit on this)
  • Comment syndication – Again, RSSBandit has the market on this one.  It would be great to see my posts in FeedDemon get flagged when a new comment appears, maybe mark the post with a different color or indicator.  Right now, the only way you can participate in comments is to subscribe to followups as some custom development has been added to common blog engines (I hope SubText will have this).  Just wish it was easier as that’s where the conversational part of blogging comes into play… well IMHO at least.
  • Rich & templated blog authoring – You can rely one some 3rd party tools like w.bloggar or BlogJet to provide this, but why not provide it OOTB in an aggregator?  I’ve had some people comment back to me saying “but that’s not the target of an aggregator.”  I simply disagree.  To me, this is like having 1 phone that has only a mic, receiver, and a “talk” button you use to answer calls… and another that has a keypad for making calls.  It should be integrated.  I’d love to see multiple templates too… so I can have a template that I use for reference type posts as I like to use the format (» [site]) at the end of my posts to push people to anotehr post.
  • One giant, oober, feed list – FeedDemon organizes things by folders.  In NGOE and RSSBandit, I had things grouped in subfolders.  I actually like the 1–folder model, but would be nice to have an option.  Back to my point though… I really wish there was an oober “unread” or something along those lines list all my feeds.  Right now, I have to click on each folder to jump around… no biggie, just would be nice.

For a while, I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own aggregator.  I planned to use some nice UI controls from companies like Infragistics or DevExpress, leverage .NET 2.0 & SQL 2005 as my data store, add in NNTP and all the above list of “desireables”… The problem: just don’t have the time (now, if I win the Florida lotto, I can tell you what one of my first projects will be).  For now, FeedDemon rocks… It hits 90% of my wishes and the UI is clean, slick, and very responsive.  I just can’t wait to see what v2 is all about!  Cheers Nick!

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