With the v1.6.0.0 out of the door, I've shipped what I think is our most interesting feature in years and resolved  an issue that was making RSS Bandit a nuisance to lots of sites on the Internet.

The feature I'm currently working on is an idea I'm calling supporting multiple feed sources. For a few years, we've had support for roaming your feed list and read/unread state between two computers using an FTP site, a shared folder or NewsGator Online. Although useful, this functionality has always seemed bolted on. You have to manually upload and download feeds from these locations instead of things happening automatically and transparently as they do with the typical mail reader + mail server scenario (e.g. Outlook + Exchange) which is the most comparable model.

My original idea for the feature was simply to make the existing NewsGator and RSS Bandit integration work automatically instead of via a manual download so it could be more like Outlook + Exchange. Then I realized that there could never be full integration because there are feeds that RSS Bandit can read that a Web-based feed reader like NewsGator Online can not (e.g. feeds within your company's intranet if you read feeds at work). This meant that we would need an explicit demarcation of feeds that roamed in NewsGator Online and those that were local to that machine.

In addition, I got a bunch of feedback from our users that there were a lot more of them using Google Reader than using NewsGator Online. Since I was already planning to do a bunch of work to streamline synchronizing with NewsGator Online, adding another Web-based feed reader didn't seem like a stretch. I'm currently working on a command line only prototype in IronPython which uses the information from the reverse engineered Google Reader API documentation to retrieve and update my feed subscriptions. I'm about part way through and it seems that the Google Reader API is as full featured as the NewsGator API so we should be good to go.  I should be able to integrate this functionality into RSS Bandit within the next few weeks.

The tricky part will be how the UI integration should work. For example, Google Reader doesn't support hierarchical folders of feeds like we do. Instead there is a flat namespace of tag names but each feed can have one or more tags applied to it. On the flip side, NewsGator Online uses the hierarchical folder model like RSS Bandit does. I'm considering moving to a more Google Reader friendly model in the next release where we flatten hierarchies and instead go with a flat tag-based approach to organizing feeds. For the case, of feeds synchronized from NewsGator Online we will prevent users from putting feeds in multiple categories since that won't be supported by the service.

Now Playing: Eminem - Evil Deeds


Friday, December 28, 2007 4:47:07 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Sounds really neat. Are people using the web reader interface though or is it just being used to sync up feeds in the back end? If that's the case, Netvibes is one web based feed reader that supports authenticated feeds. Bloglines might, too. Not sure. Good luck, sounds like fun!
Friday, December 28, 2007 5:33:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
The assumption is that there are users that go back and forth between both Web-based and desktop reader. Much the same way as I go back and forth between Outlook and Outlook Web Access for my work email and Yahoo! Mail on the Web and the mail program on my phone for personal email.

My initial mistake was in thinking about the feature as storage in the cloud for synchronization instead of a software + services problem.
Friday, December 28, 2007 9:46:44 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Sounds neat indeed.
With a slightly better memetrackerfunction (which already is a pretty brilliant idea) and a working synchronizing-function, rss-bandit could become a really strong companion for googlereader. that'd be really really great.
keep it up! :)
Friday, December 28, 2007 11:45:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Tags are great news indeed, they'll save a lot of time. It would also be cool to have a level of automatic tagging for content (I currently do it with custom searches), to be used in conjunction with the 'mute' idea in an earlier post.
Thanks for the software :-)
Saturday, December 29, 2007 10:57:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'm dismayed to hear that you may remove the hierarchical folder structure for feeds from RssBandit.

This would force me to move to another RSS reader I'm afraid.
Saturday, December 29, 2007 1:28:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Surely difficult to put together the TAG-lovers with the people used to good old folders.
For me, I embraced the TAG thing long ago.
But I see the difficulty in implementing both... but the strategy you outline seems ok: go with tags, and if yuo have to sync with newsgator or other services that don't support tags, then you (en)force one-tag-only-per-feed, which will make them look like old-style folders :-) This should make anyone happy, I think.

Rock on!!!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007 3:32:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
One more interesting thing/feature, other than the AUTO-sync thing (rather than manually initiated...), would be the possibility to SHARE the item... both with the Google Reader *share* feature, or in NewsGator adding it to the "clippings" (that is, the same functionality with different names...).
That would also rock.
I have not checked if the API's let you do that, though.
Saturday, December 29, 2007 5:12:36 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Google Reader does support it's tag names in a hierarchy, but the only way I know of to get them is to import some OPML
Sunday, January 6, 2008 5:05:55 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
The top stories is a lovely feature :D.. but what happend to the Ctrl-Q short-cut. "Mark all as read" in the refreshed installer of RSS Bandit v1.6.0.0 ? Anyone has the same 'problem', can I enable it somewhere?
Sunday, January 6, 2008 9:23:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I too have the same Ctrl-Q deficiency now that I have the "b" version. Would love to have it back.
Sunday, January 27, 2008 5:52:44 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
http://www.codeplex.com/greader - maybe it would save you some time...
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