It's been about three years since I first started on RSS Bandit
and it doesn't seem like I've run out of steam yet. Every release the
application seems to become more popular and last month we finally
broke 100,000 downloads in a single month. The time has come for me to
start thinking about what I'd like to see in the next family of
releases and elicit feedback from our users. The next release is codenamed Jubilee.
Below are a list of feature areas where I'd like to see us work on over the next few months
Extensibility Framework to Enable Richer Plugins: We
currently use the IBlogExtension plugin mechanism which allows one to
add new context menu items when right-clicking on an item in the list
view. I've used this to implement features such as the
"Email This" and "Post to del.icio.us" which ship with the
default install. Torsten implemented "Send to OneNote" using this mechanism as well.
The next step is to enable richer plugins so people can add their own
menu items, toolbar buttons as well as processing steps for received
feed items. Torsten used a prototype of this functionality to add Ad blocking features to RSS Bandit.
I'd like to add weblog posting functionality using such a plugin model
instead of making it a core part of the application since many of our
users may just want a reader and not a weblog editor as well.
Comment Watching: For many blogs such as Slashdot and Mini-Microsoft,
the comments are often more interesting than the actual blog post. In
the next version we'd like to make it easier to not only be updated
when new blog posts appear in a blog you are interested in but also
when new comments show up in a post you are interested in as well.
Provide better support for podcasts and other rich media in feeds: With
the growing popularity of podcasts, we plan to make it easier for users
to discover and download rich media from their feeds. This doesn't just
mean supporting downloading media files in the background but also
supporting better ways of displaying rich media in our default views.
Examples of what we have in mind can be taken from the post Why should text have all the fun? in the Google Reader blog. We should have richer experiences for photo feeds, audio feeds and video feeds.
Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down for Filtering and Suggesting New Feeds: big problem with using a news aggregator is that it eventually leads to
information overload. One tends to subscribe to feeds which produce lots of
content of which only a subset is of interest to the user. At the other extreme,
users often find it difficult to find new content that matches their interests.
Both of these problems can be solved by providing a mechanism which allows the
user to rate feeds or entries that are of interest to the user. A thumbs up or
thumbs down rating similar to what systems such as TiVo use today. This system
can be used to highlight items of interest from subscribed feeds to the user or
suggest new feeds using a suggestion service such as AmphetaRate.
Applying search filters to the list view: In certain cases a user may want to perform the equivalent of a search on the
items currently being displayed in the list view without resorting to an
explicit search. An example is showing all the unread items in the list view.
RSS Bandit should provide a way to apply filters to the items currently being
displayed in the list view either by providing certain predefined filters or
providing the option to apply search folder queries as filters.
These are just some of the ideas I've had. There are also the dozens of feature requests we've received from our users over the past couple of months which we'll use as fodder for ideas for the Jubilee release.