January 15, 2004
@ 08:24 AM

A Newsgator press release from last week reads

Subscription Synchronization

Users who subscribe to NewsGator Online Services can now synchronize their subscriptions across multiple machines. This is an industry first - NewsGator 2.0 for Outlook and NewsGator Online Services are the first commercially available tools to provide this capability in such a flexible manner. This sophisticated system ensures that subscriptions follow users wherever they go, users never have to read the same content twice (unless they choose to), and even supports multiple subscription lists so users can have separate, but overlapping, subscription lists at home and at the office.

Interesting. Synchronizing subscriptions for a news reader across multiple machines doesn't strike me as unprecedented functionality that Newsgator pioneered let alone an industry first. The first pass I've seen at doing this in public was Dave Winer's subscription harmonizer which seemed more of a prototype than an actual product expected to be used by regular users. I implemented and shipped the ability to synchronize subscriptions across multiple machines with RSS Bandit about 2 months ago. As for providing an aggregator that supports this feature and a commercial site that would host feeds synchronization information I believe Shrook has Newsgator beat by about a month if the website is to be believed (I don't have a Mac to test whether it actually works as advertised).

I find it unfortunate that it seems that we are headed for a world where multiple proprietary solutions and non-interoperable solutions exist for providing basic functionality that uses take for granted when it comes to other technologies like email. This was the impetus for starting work on Synchronization of Information Aggregators using Markup (SIAM) . Unfortunately between my day job, the girlfriend and trying to get another release of RSS Bandit out the door I haven't had time to brush up the spec and actually work on an implementation. It'll be a few weeks before I can truly focus on SIAM, hopefully it'll be worth waiting for and it'll gain some traction amongst aggregator developers.


Thursday, January 15, 2004 9:38:54 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Well, NewsGator is commercial app, so they don't have to be honest, right? :)
I'm using RSS Bandit's sync feature for months now, it's really cool one.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 2:14:06 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Well, what they are doing is not just synchronizing your subscription, but also synchronizing your "what have I read list" so there's no post duplication when you move around.

And it does it not only between installs of NewsGator, but also with thier web, pop, and mobile editions. So no matter how or where you're reading things, you only have to read them once.

As far as I know, NewsGator IS the only program that does that.

(It's pretty lame, Oleg, to suggest that commercial app vendors always lie. I'm sure Dare doesn't appreciate the back-handed insult to his employer, and neither do I... smiley or not.)
Thursday, January 15, 2004 3:34:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thanks for pointing this out Dare (via feedster). The first public version of Shrook with sync came out August 14th 2003. And yes, it synchronizes your read list too, and you can read on the web (and it works). Yes, they do a couple of things I don't (note "the first commercially available tools to provide this capability in such a flexible manner" get-out clause), but as far as I'm concerned those are implementation-specific details that you can't reasonably claim an industry first over . I've written them an email and I'll let you know what they say.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 3:54:35 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
>Well, what they are doing is not just synchronizing your subscription, but also synchronizing your "what have I read list" so there's no post duplication when you move around.

True, although the RSS Bandit feature was originally intended to work as a full synchronization feature I never got around to implementing it beyond synchronizing subscriptions. Actually writing down the some of this stuff in the SIAM spec I realize that my original design had overlooked some issues anyway.

However according to the Shrook page, it has provided full synchronization since December.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:27:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It's entirely possible that Greg or his PR writer are unaware of the existence of Shook, I can't say I remember hearing of it until reading this article.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:35:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Greg has changed the website to be more accurate. He says he was aware of Shrook but wasn't clear on its capabilities.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:55:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
For that matter, Hep had subscription harmonization a year ago, because it was a server based aggregator with a POP3 front end. So Abe Fettig beat all you punx by a long shot! Hep was very cool, but I think Abe's abandoned development.
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