It was all getting to be a bit much there lately. Hundreds of feeds. Browsing blogs in Bloglines. Downloading podcasts in Juice (but not getting to see anything else in those feeds). I want it all in one place: browsable, readable, aggregated, clippable, synchronised, online, offline, portable.
Many years ago I had a similar difficulties looking for well-designed tools to do a job. On that occasion I found the answers in HomeSite (HTML editor)and TopStyle (CSS). So I was delighted to discover last year that my search for the perfect feed-reader had led me to another cool tool developed by Nick Bradbury: FeedDemon.
Nick seems to have a knack for developing useful software products, which tend to get bought out later by other companies. Feeddemon is no exception. It's owned by the online aggregator Newsgator, and they and Nick have just released FeedDemon 2.0.
I'm not fully sold on Newsgator online. In fact, several months of trying it had the efffect of turning me off online aggregators almost completely. While I was using Newsgator, Bloglines improved it's usability but – while I still think there's a need for a good online aggregator – I'm not sure either of these tools has got it right yet.
I'm going to give Newsgator another chance, though. FeedDemon 2.0 has just been released, and at first glance it looks as if it is better integrated with its online sister service Newsgator. I'll let you know.
The main point I wanted to make however is this: I'm less conerned about syncing my online and offline feed reading since I put FeedDemon on the laptop. If I'm online it simply updates all my feeds in a minute – and I can read them at my convenience later – whether I'm online or offline.
Better still – it handles feed enclosures sensibly. I want to browse my podcast subscriptions like any other feed, but for most of them I want the enclosed podcasts downloaded automatically (that's the point – isn't it?). Even so, there are some podcasts I want to decide to download based what I read in the shownotes. FeedDemon 1.5 let's me choose which behaviour I want for which podcast.
Demo-ing RSS, aggregation and podcasting to people at Tostal na Gaeilge last weekend, FeedDemon was the ideal way to show how it all works. Here's a feed: blog, news, whatever! It doesn't matter. Here's the original site in a web browser – and here's the syndicated version in FeedDemon. Here's an aggregation of two feeds from two different sites on one page in FeedDemon. OK – now see the paperclip icon in this feed item? That's a Podcast! Now see – it's already downloading!
This stuff is simple, really simple. And people get it straight away when they see it implemented in simple straightforward tools. I've just installed v2.0 – so I'll wait to see how I get on with that before I blog anymore about it. But I just wanted to say, thanks Nick! 🙂